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A Dark Secret: Part 1 of 3

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2019 год
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      A Dark Secret: Part 1 of 3
Casey Watson

Part 1 of 3Just when Casey thinks her foster care duties are done, she’s asked to look after Sam, a troubled nine-year-old with a violent streak who drove his previous guardians to release him of their care. It soon unfolds, however, that this is no simple case.Determined to get to the root of Sam’s behaviour, Casey is committed to uncover his mysterious past only to find out something far darker than she ever imagined…Having recently said goodbye to their last foster child, Miller, the Watson family are taking a bit of a break. But it’s while Casey is having fun catching up with her friends that she receives a call from her new link worker. Social services are desperately trying to find a settled home for nine-year-old Sam, who has Autism and some serious behavioural problems.Removed from his mother less than a week ago, Sam has been staying with respite carers. But with two young children of their own, they now find themselves unable to hold on to the little boy as he is bullying them relentlessly. It’s not an isolated situation, either. Apparently Sam’s own siblings begged not to be placed with their older brother – they were both adamant that they were too afraid of him.The Watsons agree to accommodate Sam, who, despite his tiny stature, turns out to be quite the whirlwind – destroying anything and everything in his path. In addition to the outward behaviours, it quickly becomes evident that there is a much darker past that has blighted the boy’s life. As Casey tries to get to the bottom of it, she discovers there are no files on Sam; only the testament of his previous neighbour. Thankfully, Mrs Gallagher is only too happy to help. And to talk. But it soon transpires that there is a great deal more to Sam’s secret history…

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Copyright (#u71adbf17-e4ac-5ae6-8d4b-f42204178f4d)

This book is a work of non-fiction based on the author’s experiences. In order to protect privacy, names, identifying characteristics, dialogue and details have been changed or reconstructed.

HarperElement

An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published by HarperElement 2019

FIRST EDITION

© Casey Watson 2019

A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library

Cover image © Clive Nolan/Trigger Image (posed by model)

Cover layout design © HarperCollinsPublishers 2019

Casey Watson asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Find out about HarperCollins and the environment at

www.harpercollins.co.uk/green (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/green)

Source ISBN: 9780008298616

Ebook Edition © May 2019 ISBN: 9780008298647

Version: 2019-03-28

Contents

1  Cover (#ua15bcc14-0a93-55ff-9c86-5a76fb19353d)

2  Title Page

3  Copyright

4  Contents (#u71adbf17-e4ac-5ae6-8d4b-f42204178f4d)

5  Dedication

6  Acknowledgements

7  Chapter 1

8 Chapter 2

9 Chapter 3

10 Chapter 4

11  Chapter 5

12  Chapter 6

13  Chapter 7

14  Chapter 8

15  Moving Memoirs eNewsletter (#litres_trial_promo)

16  About the Publisher

LandmarksCover (#ua15bcc14-0a93-55ff-9c86-5a76fb19353d)FrontmatterStart of Content

List of Pagesiii (#ulink_82423f45-fb19-500d-85da-79d12be4c388)iv (#ulink_cc260a25-d9d8-5c58-ba57-bbb03f64cb31)v (#ulink_2f33c3d7-26eb-5526-8279-5154f823a81f)vii (#ulink_445a8db9-5722-5af2-888b-1b27545cec46)1 (#ulink_d7129872-1432-5180-b12d-e87ee2d8ee4b)2 (#ulink_63ad410f-86ec-5a9f-b705-63e231f7aa3b)3 (#ulink_9b342687-842a-5477-a390-5b1603c15fad)4 (#ulink_e9efb245-1faf-5537-be54-9a93533f4a44)5 (#ulink_b9df4735-490e-50e7-b1e9-ebec0e5441e8)6 (#ulink_f1e0fd7d-3333-5fda-85f3-200a2a1ded95)7 (#ulink_03c34124-ff61-5e56-8b47-8e180969fac4)8 (#ulink_b418f892-8288-5648-97ea-8fe04b5a9e80)9 (#ulink_697ee4d2-d57a-5861-ab21-fd8cdbfecae9)10 (#ulink_664dbf6e-5396-5c33-8b4d-7c5546a43eb9)11 (#ulink_ebf30cd1-f177-50a5-83a8-42922d7a11b7)12 (#ulink_e9c66e71-abab-566f-8da9-223661df812b)13 (#ulink_e8f58f58-9625-572b-8009-19c04b461624)14 (#ulink_d5e59c66-21ff-5f23-af8b-8e5c6da19058)15 (#ulink_9a15a281-bd28-59b2-9cb7-0c226fa524b6)16 (#ulink_b191528f-10e5-517e-b2d1-bb59aa8b12c1)17 (#ulink_ddeb0a85-1fb6-570c-954c-fb519e64d98a)18 (#ulink_38bd601b-dd85-5d12-9202-d35b0c8f6ac5)19 (#ulink_fe4f4411-2ce7-5d07-8d37-51210c963377)20 (#litres_trial_promo)21 (#litres_trial_promo)22 (#litres_trial_promo)23 (#litres_trial_promo)24 (#litres_trial_promo)25 (#litres_trial_promo)26 (#litres_trial_promo)27 (#litres_trial_promo)28 (#litres_trial_promo)29 (#litres_trial_promo)30 (#litres_trial_promo)31 (#litres_trial_promo)32 (#litres_trial_promo)33 (#litres_trial_promo)34 (#litres_trial_promo)35 (#litres_trial_promo)36 (#litres_trial_promo)37 (#litres_trial_promo)38 (#litres_trial_promo)39 (#litres_trial_promo)40 (#litres_trial_promo)41 (#litres_trial_promo)42 (#litres_trial_promo)43 (#litres_trial_promo)44 (#litres_trial_promo)45 (#litres_trial_promo)46 (#litres_trial_promo)47 (#litres_trial_promo)48 (#litres_trial_promo)49 (#litres_trial_promo)50 (#litres_trial_promo)51 (#litres_trial_promo)52 (#litres_trial_promo)53 (#litres_trial_promo)54 (#litres_trial_promo)55 (#litres_trial_promo)56 (#litres_trial_promo)57 (#litres_trial_promo)58 (#litres_trial_promo)59 (#litres_trial_promo)60 (#litres_trial_promo)61 (#litres_trial_promo)62 (#litres_trial_promo)63 (#litres_trial_promo)64 (#litres_trial_promo)65 (#litres_trial_promo)66 (#litres_trial_promo)67 (#litres_trial_promo)68 (#litres_trial_promo)69 (#litres_trial_promo)70 (#litres_trial_promo)71 (#litres_trial_promo)72 (#litres_trial_promo)73 (#litres_trial_promo)74 (#litres_trial_promo)75 (#litres_trial_promo)76 (#litres_trial_promo)77 (#litres_trial_promo)78 (#litres_trial_promo)79 (#litres_trial_promo)80 (#litres_trial_promo)81 (#litres_trial_promo)82 (#litres_trial_promo)83 (#litres_trial_promo)84 (#litres_trial_promo)85 (#litres_trial_promo)86 (#litres_trial_promo)87 (#litres_trial_promo)88 (#litres_trial_promo)89 (#litres_trial_promo)

Dedication (#u71adbf17-e4ac-5ae6-8d4b-f42204178f4d)

This book is dedicated to the army of passionate foster carers out there, each doing their bit to ensure that our children are kept as safe as possible in such a changing and often scary world. As technology is reinvented and becomes ever more complicated for those of us who were not brought up amid such advances, we can only try to keep up, in the hope that we continue to learn alongside our young people.

Acknowledgements (#u71adbf17-e4ac-5ae6-8d4b-f42204178f4d)

I remain endlessly grateful to my team at HarperCollins for their continuing support, and I’m especially excited to see the return of my editor, the very lovely Vicky Eribo, and look forward to sharing my new stories with her. As always, nothing would be possible without my wonderful agent, Andrew Lownie, the very best agent in the world in my opinion, and my grateful thanks also to the lovely Lynne, my friend and mentor forever.

Chapter 1 (#u71adbf17-e4ac-5ae6-8d4b-f42204178f4d)

Aqua aerobics in February. In February. Had I completely lost my marbles? I couldn’t remember which of my so-called friends had suggested it, but by now I was sorely regretting having agreed to it. Not only was it absolutely Baltic outside, but I had just suffered the most embarrassing incident ever, and as we huddled in our respective changing cubicles in the leisure centre (which were only marginally less Baltic) the same so-called friends – not to mention my sister Donna – were still teasing me about it relentlessly.

‘Oh, Casey,’ Donna said, laughing, ‘such a priceless Barbara Windsor moment!’

‘I must, I must, improve my bust!’ my friend Kate added, gleefully.

And all I could do was take the teasing, and grin and bear it. Or should that have been ‘bare’ it? Definitely. It was such a basic error, after all.

Having not gone swimming in any form for a good couple of years now, I no longer had a suitable swimsuit, and given that this wasn’t the time of year for ‘summer holiday essentials’, the stores didn’t have a great deal of choice. Luckily I had spotted a sale rail and found a front-fastening, gold (of all colours) bikini. And were that not enough to mark me out as a rookie, during a rather robust arms-out-to-the side-and-do-a-windmill thrust, my all-singing, all-dancing, shimmering gold bikini had unclasped with a ping, giving me no choice but to do a duck dive, and leaving me scrabbling around under the water, trying to regain both the shreds of my bikini top and my dignity. But not before the whole class, including the instructor, had witnessed it. I was going to have to seriously rethink how I approached this whole ‘me time’ malarkey.

‘Okay, okay,’ I called out from my own changing booth. ‘I’m so happy I’ve brightened up your morning. And I’m so happy that mobile phones aren’t allowed in the frigging pool, either, because I can only imagine the pleasure you’d have all taken in capturing it for all time.’

Amid the ensuing laughter, as if I’d summoned it, my own phone started to ring. Delving into my changing bag – one that would put Mary Poppins to shame, obviously – I found it and saw it was a call from Christine Bolton, my still relatively new fostering link worker.

Had she called to tease me too? If so, news travelled fast. Quickly drying one side of my face, I put the phone to my ear, first explaining where I was, so she’d understand all the cackles, bumps and bangs.

‘I’m surprised to hear from you again so quickly,’ I added, as I parked my damp bottom on a towel slung on the wooden-slatted bench. I’d only spoken to her the day before and I knew there was nothing on the horizon. Though there had been – up until a few days ago, we’d been earmarked for a particularly difficult teenager badly in need of a calm, stable home. But as often happens in fostering, there was a game-changer. Just a day before all concerned were due in court, a grandparent had kindly stepped forward to offer to take the child in and so the case had been dropped. And to the great relief of all concerned. So we were expecting a lull now – hence all the ‘me-time’. Till another long-term placement came up we were only really doing respite, and that mostly for our most recent child, Miller, who was now in a residential school and with a new primary carer, Mavis.

‘I know,’ Christine replied, ‘and I’m so sorry to bother you in the middle of your swimming, but that mini-break you said you and Mike were hoping to jet off on – have you booked anything yet?’

I immediately wished we had, because I had a hunch I knew what was coming. A lull in the world of fostering was never guaranteed to be anything more than twenty-four hours, and more often than not it wasn’t. I suspected this was the situation here – that an urgent case had presented itself. I wasn’t wrong.

‘No, not as yet,’ I said. ‘Shouldn’t I?’

‘Possibly not. At least, if you’re up for taking a child on. D’you know Kelly and Steve Blackwell? Live out in the sticks and have two small children?’
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