Fade to Blank, the first book in my new romantic suspense trilogy will be out on 27 July 2020 but you can be the first to receive your copy by pre-ordering from Amazon now.
Read on for a snippet of the first chapter.
Or, if you’re more of a listening person, scroll down to hear the sample read by the ever-talented audio-book narrator Piers Ryman!
(Audio to follow soon).
Jackson Young was no more.
The bell signified the end of that life when it shrieked yet another first command for the day. It didn’t rise in steady increments for a gentle awakening. It drilled through his skull with maximum intensity. Loud. Demanding. Angry. Like most of the other inmates at HMP Flaymore.
Jackson wondered, for all of the four seconds he now had to emerge from the uncomfortable plastic cot and walk to the door, if he’d ever get used to being woken with such brutality. He hoped not. That would be admitting defeat. Not that he had much fight left in him. He’d become accustomed to believing that this was it. This was his life as he now knew it.
Not life, existence.
With the signal impaling his brain, he ripped the standard itchy grey cotton blanket from his pale and dilapidated body. He was already dressed, as he rarely bothered changing any more. There wasn’t any point. For someone who’d been a style icon for nearly a decade, he was a sheep in the same standard grey tracksuit as the mob he now mingled with. He no longer stood out.
Which was his only saving grace.
Settling his bare feet onto the cold concrete floor, he shuddered. Then, as with all mornings, he shut himself off. He forgot his name. He forgot who he had been before and sank into his numbed mind. It was the best approach to get through the day.
The electronic lock clicked, a ripping buzz, and the metal door slid open with a thud. He could smell freedom, or breakfast and recreation as the schedule preferred it be known.
Six a.m. Every day. The same monotonous cycle. Considering the hundred or so other men incarcerated at Flaymore had no train to catch, traffic to battle with or school run to add congestion to, the early wakeup call had nothing to do with the daily commute that motivated the rest of London to rise. All jobs took place within the fifty acres of concrete. And there weren’t that many available. None of them belonged to Jackson.
He had nothing but his thoughts to help him pass the time.
At the door, he slipped his bare feet into the standard plastic flip-flops. Tired, cold and shit fucking scared all now hidden behind the mask of indifference he’d become more accustomed to wearing a darn sight better than the grey tracksuit.
The deep bellow from the guard bounced off the thick walls and jolted the wing to life. The only debilitating life that the men all shuffling out from their cages would have for the foreseeable. Jackson inhaled a deep and unnoticeable breath before stepping over the yellow line and joining the onslaught of inmates along the second-floor corridor, down the metal steps and toward the dining hall.
The silence was unbearable. No one talked on the descent, so when Jackson reached the breakfast room, the boisterous chatter thundered in his ears like fireworks. He ignored the whistles, the catcalls, and the groups who huddled together to give him the death glare, and took his tray to the last remaining vacant seat in the overcrowded hall. It was among the other misfits. The crazies, the nutjobs, the ones who everyone else avoided. Jackson wasn’t among type, of course, not yet. But he still gravitated toward their strange safety net.
The porridge was cold and bland. He shovelled it in regardless. His mouth was used to it and he swallowed it easier than the first few mornings he’d been there, back when he’d thought this was all a horrible dream. Back when he’d thought he’d be given a formal apology at any moment, maybe even hefty compensation. Back when he’d thought truth outweighed vengeance.
Now he knew different. Now he forced down the breakfast offering, heedless of how it clogged his throat to make him gag. He wouldn’t be given anything else. He had no celebrity clout here. In fact, quite the opposite. He’d been reprimanded too many times for not eating as it was. Going on hunger strike hadn’t achieved his release. Those in charge at Flaymore were as coercive as the convicts he shared his time with. The guards couldn’t let him starve, though. They could let him rot in his own filth, but not starve.
Scraping the last spoonful, Jackson ignored the shadow looming over him. It was a survival mechanism. Keep his head down, and eyes and hands to himself.
Jackson paused the spoon at his lips. He didn’t look up.
“Come with me.”