For Better For Worse

“Having been a local person in,and around the Worthing area for many years,it was lovely to see how Pam intertwined the local geography into her well thought out story,which has more twists and turns than a game of Snakes and Ladders! “  TJ

“The characters are so well drawn and I got completely lost within the pages! Highly recommend this book.” KIM
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An excerpt from For ‘Better For Worse’

The door opened and a woman she’d never seen before stepped into the kitchen. Annie jumped and gasped in disbelief. Now what? Her first thought was that the woman was a gypsy, perhaps selling pegs or lucky heather, but a more considered look told her this woman was no gypsy. How strange and what were the odds against two completely different women accosting her on the same day? She was just about to shout at her and threaten her with the police when she noticed she had two little girls with her – one was in her mother’s arms while the other leaned against her body.

Annie felt her blood run cold. ‘Who are you? What do you want? My husband will be here at any minute,’ she said, hoping to frighten the woman away.

‘Your husband?’ Sarah sneered.

Her words seemed to hang in space. Annie put her hand protectively over the baby under her floral apron. The woman stared at her bump and Annie held her head high.

‘You don’t know, do you?’ said the woman. ‘You haven’t a clue.’

‘Don’t know what?’ said Annie, doing her best to sound in control of the situation.

‘Henry Royal isn’t your husband,’ said the woman, the words tumbling out. ‘My name is Sarah Royal. I’ve never been divorced, so you see Henry can’t be your husband – because he’s still mine.’

A deafening silence crept between them. Annie, still holding the salt and pepper pots ready to put on the table, was conscious that she was staring at this stranger with her mouth open. Clearly she must be quite mad. She’d got Henry mixed up with somebody else. In a couple of weeks it would be their wedding anniversary. A year ago, they had had a proper wedding with a registrar and witnesses. And wasn’t her marriage certificate in the drawer? Her husband came home every night and was with her every weekend so how could he possibly have another wife and family? As the silence deepened, the smaller child wriggled in her mother’s arms to get down. Her mother put her onto the floor and straightened up again.

‘I’m afraid you’ve made a terrible mistake,’ said Annie, taking a deep breath and willing herself to stay calm. She continued with putting the condiments on the table and tried to sound firm yet gentle. It was obvious that the poor woman must be deluded. Annie had heard of things like this before. The war had only finished three years ago and there were stories in the papers all the time about women who still believed their husbands were coming home even after they’d been officially informed to the contrary. Annie chewed her bottom lip. ‘Please,’ she began again. ‘I know you are upset but I really must ask you to go. My husband…’

They all heard a key turn in the front door and a blast of cold air propelled the kitchen door open and tugged at the tea towel hanging over the back of a chair. Annie and the woman stood facing each other, their eyes locked. At the same moment Henry called, ‘Darling, I’m home.’

The older child beamed. ‘Daddy!’ she cried and as she darted towards the hallway, her mother grabbed her arm. ‘No Jenny, wait.’

‘But that’s my Daddy,’ she cried. ‘I can hear him.’

And Annie’s stomach went over.