Chapter 1LEXIE GLANCED AT HER WATCH, MAKING SURE SHE had enough time for another cup of coffee. The remnants of breakfast festooned the table. She smiled to herself. Her husband, Sam, was such a creature of habit. As regular as clockwork, he stacked his coffee mug on top of his toast plate, with the knife neatly tucked alongside, but it never occurred to him to transport the pile across the kitchen to the dishwasher.
This was Lexie’s favourite moment of the day. She flicked off the radio, posted a capsule into the Nespresso machine, placed her already used cup under the spout and pressed the brew button. She and Sam liked to hear the news headlines followed by the round-up of that day’s newspapers, and after that, Lexie relished a few minutes of silence. She felt it set her up for the day ahead.
As she crossed the kitchen to the bay window seat, her leather-soled ballerina pumps made a satisfying sound as they connected with the waxed wooden floorboards. She perched on the long, spongy cushion and gazed out into the oval railed-in park opposite. The late May sunshine flooded the neatly kept communal space. Although each of the houses in Cashel Square had fine-sized gardens, the residents all made use of the wooden benches in the park. They took turns to tend the flowerbeds and keep the place clean. It was too small to appeal to gangs of youths and the absence of swings or play equipment meant it rarely attracted non-resident families.
Lexie sipped her coffee and closed her eyes to savour it. It was just the right temperature, black and strong with no sugar and a delectable covering of crema.