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Authors: Simone Nicole

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romantic Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense, #Contemporary, #Romance, #Adult

Ahead of the Darkness

BOOK: Ahead of the Darkness
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Ahead Of The Darkness

––––––––

by Simone Nicole

Copyright.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any form, or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author, except by reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously and are coincidental. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

All products mentioned in this book belong to their rightful owners.

I do not claim any of these products to be my own.

Cover design © Arijana Karčić, Cover It! Designs

Copyright © 2014 Simone Nicole

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Acknowledgements

Preface

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Epilogue

ACKNOWLEGEMENTS

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I am truly blessed to have so much support in my life and have a lot of wonderful people I need to thank. I will try and keep this short and sweet. If I forgot you, please forgive my broken brain.

Firstly, my sister, Chalice. For all the things, I love you eternally. There are two very important people I own a lot to, because without them, this book wouldn’t be here. My amazeballs editor, Lauren Mckellar. I can’t thank you enough. It’s no small feat dealing with my dyslexic nonsense and not to mention all the drama we’ve had along the way. I will cheese you, I promise.

The fabulousness that is Gabi Daniels. I’m so honoured to call you my friend. Thank you, for a million reasons. This book would be nothing without your guidance and support.

My kickass support team: Carmen Jenner and Rachel Brooks, for the endless sprints and pep talks. Marie Wathen, for cutting me some slack on my beta job <3 I miss our boys. Jennifer Ryder, your support has meant the world to me, thank you for always propping me up when I need it. The bloody Mary’s are on me! Cristina Suárez-Muñoz and Vilma Gonzalez <3!! Thank you my friends.

My Dirty Diva babes, Stephanie, Duchess (hehe), Cheyrl, Rebecca. For always having my back, I love you girls. My kickass beta babes, Angela Pratt, Tracy Meighan, Iza Matei, thank you for falling in love with my story and
our
Drew. Special mentions to Shawna and Demetre for being the first to read anything and giving me hope. And Robert, best title barnstormer ever.

My FYM girlies. Penny, Tina and Mel, thank you for putting up with me and doing everything. Extra special thanks to Penny, for all the parties, late night writing and all the laughs. Thank you for being there for me.

A huge mention needs to go to the wonderful Amy A Bartol. If I didn’t fall in love with the premonition series and need to stalk you for the rest of the books, I none of this would be happening. It’s thanks to all your amazing info on self-publishing that I started all of this but most importantly, I never would have met half of the wonderful people in my life I have now. Eternally greatful.

Lastly, but no less importantly, for the readers, for taking a chance and buy my book. I truly hope you enjoy it.

Dedicated to my niece, Bronte. This book is proof we can do anything! Broken brains be damned.

Preface

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I
’m sure hindsight is a wonderful thing, but no one seems to possess it. Thinking back, knowing what you know now, what would you change? I have been asking myself that very question for hours, days, weeks, maybe ... I’m not sure, I’d lost all sense of time. Trapped in hell, my own personal nightmare, the very one that’s been haunting me for at least six years now, has become my reality. The dreams only got worse the longer I stayed in one place, varying slightly, but always ended with me waking up, heart bursting out of my chest, in a sickly, cold sweat, constantly needing to move and restart the cycle. That was my life, on a deadline.

I read somewhere that in times of great pain one reverts inwardly to block out reality, living in a safe place, some fantasy world perhaps. I am not that lucky. I’m reliving the past, in my own groundhog day with the outcome always the same, the ending never changing.

Still, I always wish I’d make a different choice, taken a different path, be stronger somehow. Now I just keep praying that it’s all a bad dream and any second now I’ll wake up, for real this time. Please, wake up ...

Chapter One

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C
lickety clack, clickety clack
. . . I always loved that sound.
Clickety clack, clickety clack
. . . the sound of the train speeding along the beautiful lush English countryside. All the little towns, with thatched-roof houses and smoking chimneys, becoming fewer and further between as the four-hour journey continued. It’s exhilarating, the freedom that comes with having everything you own in a pull-along suitcase and backpack, watching the world pass you by as if time doesn’t exist, as if you don’t exist.
Clickety clack, clickety clack
...

––––––––

“A
melia, look at all the cute little cottages out of the window. Would you like to live in one of those?”

“Is that where we are going, Maman? To live in a cottage? Will Papa come too?”

“Non, ma chérie. It shall be just the two of us.”

“Just the two of us? For how long, Maman?”

“For a very long time. We shan't be seeing Papa again.”

“I think I shall miss Papa, Maman, but sometimes, sometimes he is very mean, and I think I shan’t miss him ...”

“Je sais ma chérie. I know my darling, I know ...”

––––––––

“M
iss? Miss?” I jolted awake. I had fallen asleep.

“It’s the last stop, miss. Ya didn't miss ya stop now, did ye?” I blinked at the man as if he had spoken a different language. I looked around, disorientated.

“Miss?” I flinched as the man reached out to touch my shoulder. I noticed my duffel bag and finally realised where I was.

“No. I’m fine.” He didn't seem sure, his brow furrowed as he stared at me a moment longer but something made him let it go and he walked on.

––––––––

I
gathered my few possessions and exited the train. The crisp, late-March air assaulted my senses. The soft unmistakable smell of salt cleared the remnants of memory that held on. I hitched my duffel bag higher up my shoulder and headed for the end of the platform. I had just fished the piece of paper out of my pocket with my newly fabricated details on it when an older woman came into view. Her warm face and greying hair were instantly recognisable and I shoved the printout she had email me back in my pocket and walked towards her.

I had found Anne Whitmore, my soon-to-be new landlady online, wanting to rent a room to a quiet female student in the sleepy town of Seaford, three-and-a-half hours northwest of London. It was your average shipping port town, of no great importance. That was the reason why I picked it; it was big enough for me to blend in, but small enough not to stand out.

So I became Mia Green, a twenty-three-year-old art major, transferring from a small community college, wanting to rent a room in a quiet little house. I’d looked it up on a map, and discovered it would have only been a seventeen-minute walk from the station, but Anne insisted on picking me up, awkwardness be damned. I tried to reason with her, expressing that I wouldn’t dream of inconveniencing her like that, but she was having none of it.

I avoided cars like you would avoid the plague, but after six hours stuck in the same seat my stiff muscles were slightly relieved to find Anne waiting as promised. A three-minute car ride wouldn’t kill me, I hoped.

“Miss Green?”

Oh, that’s me.

“Mia, yes. Mrs Whitmore, I presume? Thank you for collecting me.” I fitted into the character like it was a pair of new shoes, a little too shiny and scuff-free.

“Please, dear, call me Anne. Mrs Whitmore makes me feel old,” she corrected as she ushered me to the car. She frowned taking in my small suit case and duffle bag. “Is that all you brought with you, dear?”

“Hmm? Oh, I don’t need a lot.”

I shrugged as I threw my bag on the backseat and stowed my suitcase in the boot of the car, tentatively climbing into the passenger seat.
Three minutes
, I told myself.
Just breathe for three, long minutes.

“So, Mia, I won’t bombard you with busybody questions, but I am all ears if you care to share anything,” Anne stated as she started up the car. Internally, I rolled my eyes, and continued on with the persona. I might as well get it over with, like pulling off a Band-Aid, best done all at one. Whoever said that first didn’t have hair underneath said Band-Aid.

“I’m an open book, but not very forthcoming.” A half-truth. “What would you like to know?”

“What brings you here, my dear? You said something about transferring schools on the telephone?”

“Yes, I heard the local university has a very good photography program. I came early so I can settle in before summer, get a part-time job and save up some more money before school starts in September. I’ve always wanted to live near the sea, so I picked here.” Small lie ...

“Oh, how lovely. It is very different living by the sea. What kind of photography are you into?”

“Oh, ah, most, really. Landscapes, portraits, stills, black-and-white, contemporary. So, I’m sure I’ll have a lot to photograph with the sea.” I giggled politely, and cringed at my overdone performance.

“You said you had a five-hour trip; your parents must be sad you have moved so far from home?”

“God, no. My mother died a while ago, and I haven’t had anything to do with my father for a very long time.”
Too much, Amelia, too much
. I quickly plastered a smile on my face before she could ask questions I would never answer, but was at a loss on how to recover. I was having trouble remembering what I had told her on the phone, and not hyperventilating.

“Ah, I see. These things happen, I’m afraid. My oldest son died three years ago in Iraq, and my youngest lives in Florida. My husband died a long time ago, so it’s just the two of us to fend for ourselves. But I must say, it’s a lot easier some days, to only have to consult yourself,” she said with a small smile.

My frozen heart almost felt something for the poor woman with her lonely life.
Almost.
I had learned at a young age that loss was a part of life. There wasn’t a whole lot you could do about it, except move on and keep breathing. Even when every breath, hurt more than the last ...

“Well, enough of the sad sack. If you’re ready, dear, I can show you where everything is, and you can get settled in?”

The car had clearly been idle for some time before I realised we had arrived at our destination. Stepping out of the vehicle I took in the little two-storey. It was single-fronted, with white weatherboards, one of the few detached houses on the street. Removing my duffel bag from the backseat, I noticed the small garden in the front, consisting of red rose bushes, a tiny patch of grass, and one ancient, rusted stone birdbath.

I followed Anne inside, placing my belongings in the entryway near the bottom of the stairs as Anne indicated, then followed her left into a sitting room of sorts. Mismatched flowery sofas of blues, greens and yellows, filled the floor space. Every available wall surface was covered with cabinets that contained old chinaware, and other random porcelain collectibles but somehow, it still seemed inviting, almost homely. I was whisked through another door in the far corner of the room into a huge white-and-yellow, cottage-style kitchen, complete with island bench.

Anne continued to point out all the things I could need: microwave, crockery, dishtowels, and where to keep my food in the refrigerator. I just nodded and smiled, the details and words lost while past memories of different kitchens and different rules flooded my brain. I tuned back in when Anne started to explain how she hadn’t cooked for anyone in a good many years and she wasn’t about to start, which I couldn't help but truly smile at. I loved to cook.

Hurried through yet another door, I found myself at the end of the hall, behind the stairs, facing three doors. On the left, door number one was the laundry. Claustrophobically narrow, the room was not much wider than the door, with the washer and dryer stacked on top of each other at the far end. The door right next to that was the bathroom, my own personal bathroom of cream-and-lilac decor and had its very own claw-footed deep, long bathtub as the bottom of the shower. I definitely planned to use it very, very soon.

BOOK: Ahead of the Darkness
5.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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