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Authors: Isla Whitcroft


BOOK: Trapped
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Creating and writing Cate Carlisle has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life. I've tried to write novels before, but somehow nothing quite worked.

As soon as I thought of Cate though, I knew exactly what she would be like. She would be feisty but not bolshy, friendly but not a blabbermouth, fluent in several languages, well travelled, independent and practical. All that I wished I had been as a teenager but wasn't!

I made a resolve that the Cate Carlisle Files would always be about glamour, sunshine, cool people and fabulous locations. I wanted you, the reader, to have some fun, some escapism from our dodgy weather and sometimes endless school work. But I also wanted to open up your eyes to the amazing world out there. So
is set on a yacht in the South of France, and the next adventure is in Australia.

I hope you enjoy reading about Cate and that she inspires you to enjoy our world.

Isla Whitcroft


First published in Great Britain in 2011
by Piccadilly Press Ltd,
5 Castle Road, London NW1 8PR
Text copyright © Isla Whitcroft, 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.
The right of Isla Whitcroft to be identified as Author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988
A catalogue record for this book is available
from the British Library
ISBN: 978 1 84812 154 6 (paperback)
eBook ISBN: 978 1 84812 192 8
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Printed in the UK by CPI Bookmarque Ltd,
Croydon, CR1 4PD
Cover design by Simon Davis
Cover illustration by Sue Hellard


Title Page




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17



To my father John Whitcroft (Janek Witkowski), a man of great spirit who never gave up


Deep down, below sea level, was a room so secret that only five people in the entire world knew of its existence. Carefully regulated artificial daylight, air supply and temperature made it perfect for long-term survival and indeed the walls of the room were lined with animal cages of varying sizes, stacked high on top of one another.

Through the wire mesh and steel bars at least twenty pairs of eyes stared out into the sterile environment. They looked angry, resigned or unbearably sad while above them video cameras placed at intervals on the ceiling clicked and gyrated, checking into every corner and crevice of the room.

For these were no ordinary household creatures. Each was from a highly protected species. In one cage, a white lion paced up and down in its cramped space, in another, an orang-utan endlessly counted the fingers on its hairy hands. A Sumatran tiger, an Iberian lynx and a giant panda were also trapped in
the endless hell, where water came through a tube and food was scarce.

There was something else notable about the animals: they were all young. The tiger still had the fluffy cuteness of a cub and the orang-utan had yet to develop its powerful limbs and terrifying roar. But the energy and the playfulness of young creatures were non-existent. And their eyes – their eyes seemed to be those of much older animals.

Now the mountain gorilla was staring at something. In a large cage near the sliding doors an object was stirring. But this wasn't an animal – it was a human.

The gorilla suddenly stood up in the cage and screamed in rage and frustration, jolting the other creatures out of their stupor. Within seconds, the room was filled with cries and howls and squawks of protest and panic. The clamour reached through the fuzziness that was swirling around inside the human's head.

A hand slowly felt around, trying to gauge the surroundings, and came up almost immediately against the coldness of a metal bar. Using it as a support, the human slowly and painfully managed to drag itself up into a sitting position.

It was a girl of no more than sixteen, with matted hair and tanned skin. Underneath her tan she was pale, and an injury had left congealed blood dried in a random mess around her forehead. Her throat felt as if it had been burnt with acid and she licked her bone-dry lips. She gagged and spat saliva out. Then, spotting a water drip in the corner of the cage, she dragged herself over to it and placed her mouth under the tube, grateful for the small drops that fell
agonisingly slowly down into her parched mouth.

Suddenly the animals went quiet and moved to the back of their cages. The girl was at first too busy to notice but, as the silence sunk into her consciousness, she stopped. With a feeling of dread, she heard footsteps getting louder and louder. She could hear the click of high heels and the more powerful thud of a heavy man's shoes hitting the ground. There was the subdued whoosh of electronic doors sliding open and then the girl could see two sets of legs – one male and one female – standing in front of her cage.

‘Well, well,' said the man in a Russian accent. ‘And just what new and amazing species do we have here?'


As far as the eye could see there were boats – billions and billions of pounds' worth of boats. Large glistening hulls in every imaginable shade of white, cream and blue swayed in the sparkling water.

The early morning Mediterranean breeze blew in quiet fits and starts and, every now and again, the great gleaming giants strained against their thick ropes in a futile attempt to break free.

Uniformed staff swarmed around each of these huge boats. Handsome men with tough bodies and sun-bleached hair hosed down already immaculate wooden decks. Fit young women in tight denim cut-offs and impossibly white T-shirts buffed gleaming brasswork and French-polished handrails.

Every so often yet another small van would pull up by a gangway, dropping off vast hampers of luxury food, or gleaming spare parts for the massive fuel-hungry engines that lay below deck.

All the while the banter between the people on the boats went on, in French, in Spanish and in English spoken with Australian, South African and American accents. There was laughter and shouting, teasing and flirting. To Cate, as she stood staring, it seemed as if she had suddenly been given access to another world – a world of beautiful people, easy living and wealth beyond measure. Right now, more than anything, Cate wanted in some way – any way – to be part of it.

It was amazing to think that just a few hundred miles away, at this very moment, her friends would be waking up to another grey English day.

Cate looked down at the print-out in her hands. It had been her most prized possession since she had received the email two weeks before, from her father.

Darling Cate,

Charlie, my old friend who runs a yacht agency in Antibes, says that he has found someone who is mad enough to take you on for the summer. Go to berth number 694, Antibes marina, any morning in the last week of June. And I've promised Monique that you will be back at school in September. Don't let me down or I'll never hear the end of it. Stay sensible, trust your instincts and send us an email sometime.

Love you and good luck,

The email made Cate smile. It was so like her father – kind, straight to the point and determined not to be too controlling of his only daughter.

Seven years before, Cate's mother had left the three of them – Dad, Cate and her brother Arthur – to follow her spirit wherever it took her, which finally turned out to be LA and a variety of weird and wonderful cults and crazies. Cate's dad, a high-flying diplomat had, without fuss, swept Cate and Arthur off to a world of foreign countries, new languages, tutors and as much love and affection as he had time to give.

Luckily Cate had thrived on the organised chaos and constant stimulation that had made up her new life. She had adored living out of a suitcase, never tired of airports and working out strange currencies and felt proud to be part of the close-knit community of ex-pats who always looked out for each other.

There were summer holidays in America staying with their mother and Christmases skiing in Switzerland with their father and, as a result, she considered herself to be an international girl who felt as at home in Lyon as she did in La Paz.

BOOK: Trapped
11.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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