English teacher Izzy Cole wanted a fresh start.
A new town, a new home, a new school.
But when sixth former Nicky Stevens sets his sights on her, he begins to reel her in at a time when she’s most vulnerable. Soon Izzy is risking her family, her career and her life as she finds Nicky wants more than she ever planned to give.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return of an honest review.
Authentic characters, a believable scenario and some surprising twists make this an absorbing read.
It’s a story of two parts. Firstly the forbidden attraction. Izzy behaves recklessly and betrays her position of trust. You understand her motivations, but she crosses a line that anyone with children finds hard to condone. Nicky’s manipulation of Izzy in a depraved narcissistic game makes the second part of the story dark and chilling.
This is an intense and immersive story well-paced and believable.
Extract from Reckless Gemma Rogers
Steadying my breathing until I felt in control, I pulled open the door and stepped into the busy corridor, almost colliding with the frowning headmaster.
‘Ah, there you are. Welcome, Isabel.’ He smiled, opening his arms wide and, for a worrying second, I thought he was going to envelop me in a hug.
‘Izzy, call me Izzy. Sorry, you had someone in your office,’ I explained but he waved me away.
‘No problem. Now, Izzy, let me take you through to your classroom. As I mentioned before, you have a lovely year eight class that you’ll be form room teacher for. You’ll be known as 8C; they are all aged between twelve and thirteen. They’ll be with you for about twenty minutes twice a day, each morning and afternoon, where you’ll take the register. I looked after them for part of last year and they are a smashing bunch.’ Mr Scott strode quickly down the corridor and I hurried to keep up. My skirt too tight at the knee to walk fast. Why did he look after a form? In my previous school that would have been unorthodox for a headteacher.
‘Will I teach my lessons from the same classroom?’ I asked.
‘Yes, absolutely, that will be your classroom.’ He glanced over his shoulder. ‘Still raining out there?’ I nodded, remembering my umbrella in the boot of the car.
‘Afraid so, but I think it’s slowing down. The Great British Summertime, eh,’ I said, palms dampening as a tirade of bewildered-looking students pushed through the doors and ploughed towards us.
Someone bumped my shoulder and mumbled an apology.
‘Stevens,’ Mr Scott said sternly.
The boy turned around and my stomach plummeted to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
‘Yes, sir?’ he replied in a bored tone, his mouth in a tight smile.
‘You bumped into Mrs Cole. Can you apologise please?’ He hadn’t seen me properly; hadn’t registered me yet. But I saw him, clearer now he wasn’t behind a windscreen. Blond shaven head, blue eyes, vaguely resembling a young Jude Law. Athletic-looking, he stood almost as tall as the headteacher. Our eyes met, and I thought I heard him gasp.
His smile faded, and he stuttered, ‘I, I did.’
‘He did,’ I agreed, unsure why I was defending him. I eyed him coldly. He could have killed us this morning.
‘Off you go and tuck that shirt in,’ Mr Scott instructed, nodding towards his untucked T-shirt, before we carried on down the corridor.
As he held open the classroom door to 8C, I glanced behind me in the direction we’d come from. The boy, last name Stevens, was still standing there, staring at me. A permanent fixture in the corridor as students scurried around him. I paused, my hand briefly touching the small mound on my head. My thumping skull stepped up a notch. Mr Scott’s voice was muffled in the background. As I crossed the threshold into the classroom, I took one last look down the corridor, sure I saw the corners of the boy’s mouth curl upward.
Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Stalker is her debut novel which Boldwood will publish in September 2019 and marks the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters and bulldog Buster.