Today I’d like to continue sharing an extract from You Belong To Me. It continues on from part one. Again, I hope you enjoy it.
She trudged towards the door. She bent down and picked up the keys. Maybe if she did as he wanted, he might let her go. She’d read a case in a magazine once about a girl who’d been taken captive by a man in an underground bunker in the woods. Over time, she’d convinced him she was his friend. That she had feelings for him. He’d eventually trusted her enough to allow her certain freedoms. One day she’d escaped by persuading him to let her pick wild mushrooms for breakfast. The terrible level of abuse he’d subjected her to read like something out of a horror movie, but she’d outsmarted him in the end and lived to tell the tale.
She fumbled with the lock, hands shaking.
‘What the fuck are you playing at?’
Cassie wanted to turn around and throw the keys at him. Tell him to open his own door and let her go home. ‘I can’t get the key in.’
‘Don’t make me have to come over there and do it for you,’ he warned.
She finally pushed the key home and twisted it in the lock. The bar popped up. She removed it from the latch.
‘Go inside and wait by the bar.’
The place reeked of piss. She walked across broken glass, discarded wrappers and cigarette packets. She stood at the bar holding onto it for support. The mirrored glass behind the bar was smashed, displaying the optics in dozens of tiny reflections.
He took a torch from his combat trousers and shone the beam at her. ‘Don’t look so worried. Everything will be fine as long as you do as you’re told.’
Cassie wanted to tell him that her boyfriend would come looking for her if she wasn’t home soon. And her dad. Her brother. The whole town. But her tongue was glued to the roof of her mouth.
‘What’s your name?’
She shook her head, trying to stop her thoughts setting fire to her brain. He would rape her. Torture her. Kill her. This was all the worst stories she’d ever read about coming to life. The ones that scared the crap out of her on cold winter nights and made her feel grateful she had people around her who loved her.
‘What’s your name?’ He asked again, waving the torch as if trying to coax an answer with it. ‘I think we ought to get on first-name terms considering we’re going to be spending a long time together.’
‘I… want… to… go… home.’
‘And I want to be a millionaire, but you might as well want a mile as want an inch.’
Cassie forced herself to tell him her name.
He was silent for a short while as if savouring it. ‘That’s a strange name.’
‘It’s short for Cassandra.’
‘Makes you sound like a film star.’
‘Mind if I call you Cass?’
You can call me what you like as long as you don’t hurt me. ‘I don’t care. I just want to go home.’
‘You are home. I know it needs fixing up a bit, and it’s a pain in the arse the electric’s off, but it’s all about making the most of what you’ve got, don’t you think?’
‘My mum will be worried about me.’
‘So you said. Now, put your bag on the floor and empty your pockets. I know how attached you girls can be to your mobile phones.’
Cassie dropped her bag on the floor. ‘I haven’t got anything in my pockets.’
‘Take your shorts off and put them on top of your bag.’
Cassie peeled off her soaking wet shorts and kicked them towards the bag. The humiliation of standing almost naked in front of this vile man made her feel as if she was already dead.
‘I’ve got new clothes for you down in your room.’
‘I don’t want new clothes. I want to go home.’
He ignored her. ‘It’s only charity shop gear, but I ain’t exactly flush at the moment. Maybe when I’m better fixed I’ll get you something a bit more upmarket.’
Cassie stifled a sob. Coughed. Wiped her nose with the back of her hand.
He retrieved the padlock from the outside catch, closed the door and slid two bolts across the inside. ‘All safe and sound,’ he said, putting the lock in his hoodie pocket.
Cassie felt as if she’d just been locked inside a condemned cell. She clasped her hands in front of her crotch. ‘Why are you doing this?’
‘Because I can.’ He pointed the torch at a door to the left of the bar. ‘Off you go. Mind the steps on the way down, they’re a bit rickety.’
‘I’m claustrophobic,’ Cassie said. ‘Especially in the dark.’
‘It’s not dark. There’s some battery operated lights down there. Make sure you use them sparingly though. I’m not going into town for fresh batteries every five minutes. Your clothes are on top of the mattress.’
Cassie gawped at the door as if were the gateway to hell.
‘Get going. I’ve got things to do.’
Cassie trudged towards the door. She looked over her shoulder. Thought about making one last plea for him to let her go, but knew it was pointless. She would die in this stinking pub. And it was all Darren Clarke’s fault. If he hadn’t kissed that slag, they would be curled up on the sofa watching a film right now. Or making plans for what they would do after they’d finished college.
She didn’t know who she hated most–Darren or this vile man. She opened the door and walked down the cellar steps. Halfway down, the door slammed behind her and a key turned in the lock.
She reached the bottom of the steps. Only one light was on. It cast a dim glow across the cellar. Metal beer kegs lined one wall like a pub’s version of tombstones. A wine rack took up most of another wall. The floor was littered with debris. Broken bottles. Upturned crates. A mattress with a small pile of clothes scattered on top. Something scurried behind the beer kegs. Cassie didn’t need an overactive imagination to conjure up an image of rats. And spiders. And cockroaches.
She fell onto the filthy mattress and buried her head in the clothes. No one knew she was here. He could do exactly as he pleased. Her parents would probably call the cops as soon as it became clear she was missing. Ping a million questions at Darren. Go frantic with worry. And there was nothing they could do to help her.
Welcome to hell.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed these extracts and will enjoy reading the rest of the book.
You can also see what early ARC reviewers have thought of the book, and add it to your TBR over on Goodreads.
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