Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
"What a ridiculous saying."
Jenny nodded. "Bruises heal, eventually, but the words – they're there forever."
"Actually the words are like sticks and stones," said Fiona quietly. "Sharp and spiky and painful. Like little missiles."
Maddie had thought the support group might help her. But with a sense of almost giddy relief she can't identify at all with these women. She knew what Jake would say – sad, sorry bunch of females... drowning in bitterness and the inability to move on. And she felt relieved that she didn't belong.
But she had been wrong about so much lately. Wrong to think that everything was over, wrong to think that the law would protect her, and wrong to think that after six long years she could finally drop her guard and enjoy family life free of fear.
Because now Jake's found them. And he's taken the children. And he's going to make Maddie pay.
Ilsa Evans lives in a partially renovated house in the Dandenong's, east of Melbourne. She has completed a PhD at Monash University on the long-term effects of domestic violence and writes fiction on the weekends. Sticks and Stones is her eighth novel.