Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Prisoner’s Wife by Gerard MacDonald! Thanks to Rachel for inviting me. I have an extract to share with you today, right after I tell you what the book is all about.
Author : Gerard MacDonald
Title : The Prisoner’s Wife
Pages : 320
Publisher : Socciones Editoria Digitale
Publication date : June 20, 2017 (first published in 2012)
Living in Paris in 2004, former CIA spy Shawn Maguire accepts a freelance job to find an Iranian named Darius Osmani. Abducted by the CIA after claiming to have information about a nuclear device, Osmani is being interrogated in one of its secret “black prisons” as a suspected terrorist. Maguire’s efforts to track him and avoid his own downfall are complicated by his attraction to Osmani’s wife, Danielle. …
As spies go, Maguire is a decent, straight-shooting soul—and not only when he’s putting his skills as a sniper to work. He searches for Osmani, on a road that takes him and Danielle to Morocco, Egypt and the political danger zone of Pakistan—where U.S. intelligence has secret plans for the soon-to-be-reinstated female prime minister.
It was basic with AA meetings, rule one, they weren’t pickup places. Shawn had never hit on Anita, or any other woman in the rooms. But then, he was new to this recovery gig. He’d thought about a pickup. Of course he had. Down the line, maybe. But tonight?
Anita was weeping now. The room was quiet. ‘We were drinking,’ she said. ‘This guy. I took him home. I – we – I mean – ’ She stood, pushing herself up off the table. ‘And I’d worked so hard. Like, I’d been clean for months.’ Someone slid toward her the half-empty box of man-size tissues. ‘That’s, I mean, that’s all, that’s all I want to say right now, but thank you for – ’
Another ragged chorus: ‘Thank you Anita. Thank you for your chair,’ – an expression which puzzled Shawn the first time he came to one of these coffee-bar meetings. Her chair?
Cedric, the man who’d laughed, stood on tip toe, mouth open, ready to speak.
But Anita, her breathing slower, pointed at Shawn. ‘I’d like Shawn to share.’
Snap. She remembered his name.
Cedric, put out, sat slowly down. Shawn bent his head. This was a moment he’d hoped to avoid. The three English meetings he’d been to, he’d listened to others tell their histories – alcohol, drugs, sex – all, it seemed, in miniature, scaled down for England. This odd little island.
He’d not yet spoken, and hoped he’d never have to. Now they watched him. Waiting.
Anita found a seat at the end of his row. ‘Go,’ she said.
Shawn wouldn’t, couldn’t stand. He said ‘My name’s Shawn. I’m American. I guess you hear that. Born in Alabama. Been living in England a while. Unemployed.’ That was the easy part.
Another chorus: ‘Hi, Shawn.’
‘I’m an alcoholic.’ Silence. Waiting. ‘I’m not what you call clean. I’m still drinking. Less than I did. Still, too much. You know what they say – eases the pain.’
Again, silence, in which Shawn felt undercurrents of feeling. Among the saved, a soul impenitent; a man without strength.
‘I’m also a sex addict.’
In the shadow, someone sighed.
‘I didn’t know that term,’ Shawn said. ‘If I’d heard it a couple of years back, I would’ve laughed. I mean, I thought that’s what you did. Like, excuse the language – I thought, if you’re a man – survival of the fittest – you go tomcatting round, grab whatever tail’s on offer. Meet someone hot, a girl gets your attention, hey, do your damnedest, get her into bed.’ He paused, then said, ‘Actually, with me, not that simple. Looking back a couple of years, I’m telling myself, whoa, boy, enough already. I’d gotten married to a woman I always wanted to be married to. Took me twentysome years to do it. When I put a ring on her finger, I figured she was all I’d need – why’n hell would I go chasing some other broad? But, we’re addicts here, you know how it is. I didn’t stop. I slowed down, didn’t stop. I guess – someone told me – that’s what addiction is. You want to stop, and you don’t stop. It’s not easy. You do it that one last time, and it’s never the last time.’ He was quiet a while then said, ‘Now, my wife’s gone. I can’t tell her I’m sorry’ He stopped, took a breath. ‘I think that’s all I want to say.’
The Prisoner’s Wife is available for purchase!
Author Gerard Macdonald lives in West London and is currently working on a short series of political fiction books