Today I am delighted to be able to share with you an extract from Beginnings by Helen J. Christmas!! Beginnings is a romantic thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London….
Eleanor Chapman is 16. She has no idea her father is employed in a world of organised crime until the day he is forced to go on the run, leaving her at the mercy of dangerous people.
Her life is spiralling out of control yet on the night she plans to escape, she stumbles across a mysterious prisoner. His name is Jake, a rock musician from Holland and he has a contract on his life.
Their daring escape across London eventually draws them into a place of hiding before Jake’s chilling story begins to unfold. He was the one vital witness to a sinister scene leading up to the death of a British MP and now those responsible want him silenced. As two young people, thrown together by fate they develop intense feelings for each other. It does not take long for Eleanor to realise that she will do anything possible to keep Jake alive.
Their tender love bond keeps you turning the pages as they live on a knife edge, desperate to escape London. Will they outrun the deadly enemies who stalk them? Or are the people at the top more powerful than they think?
EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK
ELEANOR’S FATHER HAS TO ‘DISAPPEAR’ Extract from Chapter 1
The minutes ticked by. The cab travelled towards East London, the streets crowded with an assortment of buildings on different levels. Shabby pale apartment blocks reared up above rows of dark brick terraces; and above them, a multitude of high rise tower blocks. The disorganised roads accommodated clusters of shops and pubs where a few of the finer buildings prevailed. They were adorned with decorative pillars and balustrades though on the whole, the area came across as dark and claustrophobic, the streets narrow, buildings partly demolished…
Yet there in the distance, Sammie’s club, the Malibu, rose like a jewel. A magnificent construction, three storeys high, it squatted proudly on the corner of two roads, a facade of multi-coloured brickwork. With dozens of windows retaining their original stone dressings, it seemed in tune with some of London’s more traditional Victorian architecture.
Eleanor however, was reeling, having never guessed her father was about to reveal anything like this. In the time it took to complete their journey, he had recalled the grittier details of his story in as few words as possible; all that mattered to him was, their lives were in danger. They were about to be stalked by enemies so deadly they would stop at nothing to gain retribution…
“And that’s why we’ve had to leave our home,” he finished sadly. “It would only be a matter of time before we came under attack. I couldn’t bear the thought of exposing you to that risk, I mean, what if I just happened to be out?”
Eleanor looked at him, wanting to forgive him but she said nothing.
The cab pulled up outside the club and with a furtive glance around the area, Ollie smuggled Eleanor through the door before returning to collect their belongings. Once inside, they were escorted up to the office suite on the third floor.
Like everything else Sammie owned, his office exuded masculinity and power – richly furnished with a brown leather Chesterfield suite and a magnificent board room table carved from mahogany.
Behind that table, lingered Sammie himself. Hands folded behind his back, he stood as still as a statue. He possessed one of those faces which looked as if it could have been hewn from rock; high cheekbones and large brown eyes, which were turned down slightly. He was visibly overweight with a double chin and a large protruding belly, his cropped hair completely grey.
Like a fine wine, Sammie had mellowed with age and in truth, he really didn’t need a turf war at his time of life. The moment they arrived, he released a sniff. Head inclined, his eyes harboured regret.
“Ollie….” he sighed. “Glad you came. Sit down, please, both of you.”
He turned to Eleanor before lowering his bulk into a chair.
“How are you, love?” he added softly. “Really sorry to ‘ave to break this to you…”
“What?” Eleanor demanded. Her voice, light and soft, was prone to breaking huskily at times when she was afraid.
“Ain’t you told ‘er yet?” Sammie grunted, glancing at her father.
“I’ve explained as much as I can,” Ollie said. “I told her about the turf war and the fight but as for the the rest… It’s better coming from you.”
“I see,” Sammie replied. He looked grave, his fingers steepled together on the polished table top. He turned his eyes back to Eleanor. Tense with anxiety by now, she sat very still, wondering what he was about to reveal…
“You know yourol’ man shot someone then, do you?”
“Thing is, he’s in serious trouble. Wanted man ‘e is, by one of the most evil villains in the Capital. We can no longer guarantee your dad’s safety any more, Eleanor, which is why he ‘as to leave London.”
“No!’ Eleanor spluttered, clamping a hand over her mouth.
“Best ‘e goes alone,” Sammie continued, “we’ve decided it’s in everyone’s interests. Better for you to remain here under protection….”
“What?” Eleanor protested. “Dad, you can’t leave me. I want to go with you…”
“Ssh, sweetheart,” Oliver said, touching her hand. “Just hear Sammie out.”
“I know this might seem ‘ard,” the other man pressed, “but it ain’t that simple. Time I told you a little more about the man ‘imself.”
Sammie paused for a moment, as if wrestling with the words he was about to impart next.
“Thing is, Eleanor, this is one right nasty piece of work we’re dealing with ‘ere and we can’t afford to take no risks. His name is Dominic Theakston – e’s already made a name for himself in London as one of the most feared gang leaders around and believe me, people are scared of this man. You just don’t mess with ‘im. Those who do pay a savage price, which is how he earned himself a reputation… It’s not money Theakston rules by, it’s terror.”
Make sure you check back to my blog on 10th January 2018 where you can read my review of the book!
Purchase on Amazon – http://apn.to/prod/B0078L8858
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen J. Christmas lives on the south coast of Sussex with her husband. With a love of writing since childhood, she started her decade spanning thriller series ‘Same Face Different Place’ in 2011. Her first book ‘Beginnings,’ set in 1970s London, combines romantic suspense with a hard-hitting conspiracy thriller. Writing is something she juggles around family and social life. Helen is self employed and enjoys running the web design company, she and her husband set up from home. They have no children but enjoy the company of a faithful border collie and a fluffy white cat. Helen confesses to have got most of her ideas for writing, whilst walking Barney along the beach.
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