Extract: Don't You Dare by A.J. Waines

Don’t You Dare

By AJ Waines

Bloodhound Blog Tour Extract

Chapter 1


Wednesday evening, March 8
I knew something was wrong the moment I slipped the key into the lock.
      A light was visible through the keyhole. I teased the door open a fraction and stopped dead. The fluorescent strip light wasn’t the source, instead there was a dim glow at the far end of the cellar. I edged the door open another couple of inches with my foot, holding it firm against the self-closing spring. The beam was coming from behind the empty stainless-steel kegs stacked on the floor under the trap door. Was there a cleaner here with a mop? The landlord fixing a leak? It couldn’t be. The landlord was in Marbella and the pub had been shut for nearly two weeks for refurbishments. No one had keys but me. There was only one explanation. An intruder must have got in and was snooping around with a torch.
      I stood frozen on the top step, torn about what to do. If I backed out now I’d attract attention – the door always made a juddering sound when it closed. If I called the police from where I stood, I might be overheard. I had my eyes fixed on the light the whole time, hardly daring to blink, waiting for the beam to bob around to see which direction the burglar was moving in. Except the light didn’t move.
      A man groaned, then came a scuffle, then a woman whimpering.
      ‘No. Let me go…get your filthy hands off me!’
      I didn’t need to hear anymore. I knew my daughter’s voice anywhere and could tell instantly what was going on. In that split second, my mind was on one thing and one thing alone.
      I hurried down the remaining steps, not caring if I made a noise. I found Beth half-naked, shivering, her hair roughed up in a black tangle as a man I’d never seen before leant over her, his trousers down, gripping her struggling torso from behind.
      ‘No…no…stop!’ she yelled.
      I rushed towards the pair of them, no words forming in my mouth, instead letting out a primaeval scream that must have sounded like a tortured horse. Something terrible was happening to my daughter and I had to save her. Rescue her from the brute who was forcing himself on her, his hands on her bare back, shoving her over a wooden chair. I charged at the figure as he straightened up. Bastard. My reaction came from a place of outrage, of maternal protection, from a gushing surge of rage and horror. I was doing what any mother would have done without a second’s thought.
      I’m strong. I carry kegs and crates down to the pub cellar every day and when I’m on a mission, there’s no stopping me.
      I threw myself at him, lashed out with my tight fists. His face was caught in an expression of dumb surprise and he was off balance, his legs trapped by the trousers caught around his ankles. He toppled backwards and there was a loud crack as his head struck against the protruding tap on a full cask of pale ale. Then he went down.
      I thought I was saving Beth. I thought I was doing the right thing. I stormed in to save my daughter from being raped. Only I got it all wrong. Badly wrong. And now a man I’ve never met is lying dead a few inches from my feet.

What if your daughter becomes your enemy?
When barmaid, Rachel, discovers her soon-to-be-married daughter, Beth, pinned down by a stranger in the pub cellar, Rachel lashes out in panic and the intruder ends up dead. In desperation, Rachel convinces Beth they should cover up the crime and go ahead with the planned wedding in one month’s time.
Rachel, however, has her own reasons for not involving the police. 
Hiding their dreadful secret is harder than they both imagined and as the big day approaches and the lies multiply, Beth becomes a liability. Rachel looks on in dismay at the hen party when, after too many drinks, Beth declares she’s about to make a special announcement. But before Beth can say a word she disappears...
When two people share a chilling secret can both hold their nerve?

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing the opening, Holly.