Publication Date: 15th January 2021
Page Length: 247 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
A dark and deliciously tense modern fairy-tale, brutal and beautiful"
~ Sophie Hannah, multi-million bestselling author of Haven't They Grown
A nebulous memory. Caught in a dangerous trap. A life-changing discovery.
When Yalina wakes in hospital following surgery, she doesn’t recognise her own parents.
Following her release, she decides to meet her estranged brother, Ali, in Sheffield. On her arrival, Yalina is taken to a house where girls are held against their will and forced into sex slavery. Too late, she realises she has fallen into a trap.
Over time, Yalina discovers a love of playing the old piano that lives in the house. It keeps her sane. As friendships blossom between the women, Yalina finds herself taking a young girl, Rebecca, under her wing.
When the women are threatened with violence, Yalina reluctantly accepts help from a stranger she met in the house. But he carries a secret that could impact on her whole life.
Will Yalina escape her captors? And how will she cope with the unexpected revelation?
June 30th 2007,
I know he is waiting. I can hear the gravel crunching under his wellies, the outside tap is dripping like a metronome. Drip, drip, drip. Time stands completely still for a moment, then lurches forward, and now he won’t wait any longer. I feel a slap to my cheek: the bitter, biting wind of South Yorkshire even though it is the height of summer. His grip around the back of my neck as the battered barn door is prised open. “Gettout!” he yells, as I scramble to my feet. I didn’t ask to be here. I don’t want to stay. I’m thrown into the back of his Range Rover, and am surprised to see a boy of around the same age. I imagine I would be seeing girls. Girls, women, teenagers. Dark hair, even darker eyes, a look of resignation drawn over their faces rather than any initial fear they may have once had. Some of them are Pakistani, Indian, like me. Underweight, filthy. The white boy eyes me, plump compared to my haggard frame of barely concealed bones. I begin to wonder what I must look like. “Speak English?” I ask, not expecting a response. He nods, eyes boring into my face. He is accompanied by something. The smell of toilets, the sour odour of a dilapidated stairwell of a council block is leaking from his pores. He’s pissed himself at some point of the journey. A glance at his navy joggers show a half-dried damp patch. One of his shoes is stained with it too. The smell catches at the back of my throat, astringent, and it’s all I can do to prevent myself from dry heaving. “It’ll be ok,” I try saying, but my comment has an unusual lilt at the end, making it sound more like a question. “No,” he states. His accent is not British, certainly not Sheffield. He finally looks away from me, down to his feet. I know he’s wondering if I have taken in his urine-soaked trainer. The Range Rover starts up and we are violently thrown forward, my head crashing into the wooden board which separates us from the front of the car. Our windows have been painted black, lest we try to look out or, God forbid, try to escape. I wonder if we’re still in the Sheffield area. Perhaps we are on the Snakepass, heading towards Manchester; it's a rough enough ride that way and would provide very little surveillance from the authorities. I don’t know what to say to the boy, so I simply stare out of the front of the vehicle, towards the windscreen, which provides the only light that floods into our space. I realise all of a sudden how tired I am, so inexplicably exhausted. I can’t remember the last time I ate.
Writer of psychological thrillers with a feminist focus. I like to write dark stories but the good will often prevail!
I live in West Sussex in the UK with my husband; I have three kids too and some cats. I'm an English teacher during the day when I'm not writing. I also love to write short stories and flash fictions and have been shortlisted in competitions for these, as well as for the beginning of my debut novel, Travel by Night. I'm currently a Masters' Creative Writing student at Cambridge University.
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