Ruth and Adam have struck it lucky and have gotten the chance to spend the summer in New York housesitting for another couple that they had met on cruise. Adam is an aspiring writer and Ruth is an actress that has gotten the opportunity to be in a play in New York which could be her big break, the housesitting job means that they can spend the summer together while she attends rehearsal instead of Adam having to stay back in England. One day a young woman named Eden shows up at their door, she is soaked from a storm and she claims to be friends with the owners who invited her to stay when she was next in town. Given how generous the older couple had been with them, they believe Eden, and invite the stranger into the home.
Eden quickly enmeshes herself into Adam and Ruth’s life. After a night of heavy drinking, Adam wakes up to find both women are missing.
To find Ruth, Adam needs to uncover who Eden is and unravel the circumstances that lead them to New York.
Excerpt from The House Guest by Mark Edwards
The woman standing on the front stoop looked like she’d crawled straight out of the Hudson. Water dripped from the hem of her little summer dress and pooled around her boots. Her hair, blonde but darkened by rain, stuck to her forehead. Seeing me, she did a double take and glanced at the number on the mailbox beside the door.
‘Um . . . are Mona or Jack home?’ she asked. ‘Have I got the right address?’
‘They’re away,’ I replied.
‘Yeah, afraid so. I’m the house-sitter.’
‘Oh. Damn it.’ Water clung to her eyelashes like teardrops. ‘I knew I should have called ahead.’
Night had not yet fallen, but the sun, which had burned brightly all day, was nowhere to be seen – though the air, and the rain, retained their warmth. It wasn’t like England, where the rain falls cold throughout the year. New York summers are different.
‘Damn,’ the young woman said again. ‘When will they be back?’
‘Next Sunday?’ She sighed and pushed her wet hair out of her face, peering past me into the house. Behind her, someone ran along the street, seeking shelter, and a car went past slowly, wipers on maximum, spraying water on to the steps below where the young woman stood. The Bedford Avenue subway was a few minutes away, and I guessed that was where she had come from.
‘Sorry to have disturbed you,’ she said, but she hesitated, looking over her shoulder, past the backpack she was wearing. Then she laughed. ‘Why am I being such a wimp? I can’t get any wetter, can I?’
I laughed too.
‘I don’t suppose I could come in for a moment and write a note for Mona and Jack?’
This wasn’t my house. I didn’t feel comfortable inviting a stranger in. But she knew Jack and Mona’s names, didn’t she? And she looked so pathetic standing there on the stoop while rain pummelled the pavement behind her. What harm could it do?