The Reprieve by Emma Baird

Whichever way he tallied it, the books just weren’t adding up. The simple matter of income versus expenditure didn’t balance, with the latter bleeding out of the account like a burst artery.

“I can’t do this anymore, I’m afraid,” he sighed to himself as the numbers on the spreadsheet shimmied in front of his eyes, stubbornly refusing to change no matter how often he hit auto sum.

Ah well. It had been good while it lasted and he entertained a last self-indulgent fantasy.

The phone rings. Mr Darby – this is your agent. That last book? Well, it seems that …

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