Good evening I’m excited to be on the blog blitz for The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye today as part of the first anniversary blog blitz for The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye. And I’m sharing an extract from the book, talking about the moment Olivia finally gets rid of Matthew out of her life for good.
The Second Cup is available now in ebook and paperback. The ebook is currently only 99p but you can buy a copy of both here.
Before I share my extract with you here is a little bit about the book.
Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.
FAYE knows her heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She also knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.
Faye is left wondering how to move forward – and whether or not Jack’s best friend Ethan will let her down again. And the news of Jack’s death ripples through the lives of her friends too.
ABBIE finds herself questioning her marriage, and wondering if she was right to leave her first love behind. Poor OLIVIA is juggling her job and her boyfriend and trying to deal with a death of her own. And Jack’s death has hit BETH the hardest, even though she never knew him.
Is Beth about to take her own life too?
This is dark chick-lit and intelligent women’s fiction at its best. Perfect for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Elizabeth Strout, Dorothy Koomson and Amanda Prowse.
He storms out of the lounge and out of the flat. The front door slams behind him. After a millisecond of worrying, I realise I no longer care. A sense of peace descends me, and my flat, for the first time in months.
I’m channelling Beth again. Beth is reaching into the cupboard under the sink and digging around for the roll of black bin bags. Then she’s pulling them off the roll one at a time, filling them haphazardly with clothes and DVDs, wrapping bulky jumpers round the X-box in an attempt to protect it – although maybe that bit is me channelling myself because I can’t bring myself to drop it into the black bag from a great height in the hope that it breaks.
Am I being kind? Or do I just want to make sure he keeps busy enough with his games not to miss me?
I don’t stop until all of his stuff is in bags, knotted at the top, piled in the hall. Then I clean. Everything. Scrubbing him out of my life forever.
I’m awake seven minutes before my alarm is due to go off. I have a heightened sense of the day beginning. I didn’t hear any banging or swearing last night, so I’m assuming Matt didn’t come back to the flat.
A peek through the gap in my bedroom door reveals black bin bags innocently staring back at me from where I neatly piled them the day before. He’s not here.
What would Beth do? I have no idea. But while I mull it over, I get myself ready for work, eating a decent breakfast for the first time in weeks. I usually struggle with more than a piece of toast in the mornings, but I’m ravenous.
I pick up the Dairylea box from the bottom shelf of the fridge, but it’s so light I know it’s empty before I open it. Why put it back in the fridge empty?
I open the cupboard by the cooker and reach for the peanut butter – my toast-topping back-up. Thankfully, there’s enough caked on the inside of the glass to thinly cover two pieces of toast.
And after wolfing them down I eat the rest of a packet of chocolate digestives except for the two at the top that felt slightly mushy.
I make myself a strong coffee. Today is the kind of day that needs a bitter kick of caffeine.
What would Beth do? As I hesitantly sip my disgusting coffee, I wander round my little flat, taking in how it feels alien and more like home at the same time without Matt’s stuff coating every surface.
I walk into the hallway and stare at the front door of the flat, worried that Matt will come through it any moment. I stare at the distressed-effect coat hooks that now hold just my summer jacket, winter coat and a couple of forlorn scarfs.
I notice the stains round the lock from where hands have been too many times – a patch I missed when I cleaned the flat. Doors. Skirting boards. What else did I miss?
My eyes gaze down to the second lock. The deadlock. The lock to which Matt has no key. I don’t need to know what Beth would do: I know what I would do – what I will do.
I’m back in the kitchen, I throw the rest of the coffee down the sink, and then dive into the mess that is the draw above the pan cupboard, the one filled with all the rejected and anonymous items of life, the ones too important to throw away, but meaningless or pointless in everyday life.
I feel around through the assault course of paperclips and rubber bands, push aside the stockpile of batteries and the fluff-coated depleted roll of electrical tape. And there it is. The key to my freedom.
I take out my posh writing set from the next drawer and write Matt a note, telling him about the funeral, the cremation, Maggie’s ashes waiting to be picked up. I fold it, put it in an envelope, wincing at the taste as I lick the envelope to seal it.
I open the front door and pile the black bin bags in a heap outside, then place the envelope addressed to Matt on top. Then I take my coat down off the pegs and quickly shrug my arms into the sleeves, grab my bag, and pull the door shut behind me.
I put the freedom key in the lock and use all my force to try and lock it. It locks first time.
About The Author:
Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. The second eldest of five daughters, to the outside world Graye’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing… until aged nine, when she was diagnosed with depression.
It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Graye over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision, including the one to write a novel.
Graye wrote The Second Cup as part of an MA Creative Writing practice as research degree at London South Bank University – where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder.
First published in July 2017, The Second Cup was: longlisted for the Book Viral 2017 Millennium Book Award; a finalist in Read Freely’s Best Indie Book 2017; a finalist in the 12th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards; a semi-finalist in the Online Book Club 2017 Book of the Year Award; and a “distinguished favorite” in the 2017 NYC Big Book Awards.
Graye was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2017… and published an extended edition of The Second Cup in February 2018 so she could diagnose one of her characters with the same condition.
Graye is currently working on her second novel, The Victoria Lie, which is expected to be out later in 2018.