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Exclusive Extract from THE HARPER EFFECT

I hope you enjoy this extract taken from the end of Chapter One of The Harper Effect.

'I go home now,’ Kominsky says, glaring at Dad’s profile. ‘The body I can train. The mind is for you to train, Harper.’ In the sunny room, his whitewashed blue eyes drill down on me from his freakish height. He leans closer and pulls the final thread on my career. ‘Being at the top is about winning the mind game.’ He extends a stiff hand in Dad’s direction.

Each word is a tennis ball being smashed into my chest. If Kominsky doesn’t rate me, where does that leave me? He’s never been wrong.

My throat swells with forbidden tears. Kominsky doesn’t tolerate crying. Dad stands. He runs three fingers through his floppy silver-white fringe and I realise it’s not just me who’s getting dumped.

Kominsky pumps Dad’s hand. ‘I recommend doubles tournaments if she want to continue.’

If I want to continue?

Where would my life lead without tennis? Would I go back to high school instead of being tutored? Would I take up netball or swimming or piano and make friends – and keep them? Would I allow myself ice-cream and hot dogs? Would I have time to hang out with Aria? Without tennis, what’s the point of me?

The familiar sound of Jacob playing the guitar drifts into the room from his house next door, like the closing credits of a movie. Except I’m not ready for anything to end. I take the fastest exit and vault out the French windows.

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