Katherine Pearson is happy with her life. She has a successful, doting father, a rewarding job and is soon to be married to a man who adores her. When she is kidnapped by an Irish terrorist, her world is destroyed. Years later, she still suffers from disturbing flashbacks and an inability to form new relationships. When she meets the enigmatic American, Michael Hunter, she believes she may have finally found love again. However, can you ever really know what is beneath the surface? Her new found peace of mind is shattered as the reasons for her kidnap are revealed and dangerous secrets come to light, linking her father to murder and sexual exploitation.
An amazing suspense thriller. Official Review By Juicy Books
“Behind the Facade by Victoria and Rebecca Heap tells a gripping story of kidnap, romance, and betrayal. What seemed to be an almost perfect life for main character Katherine, was turned upside down throughout this exciting suspense thriller. A fantastic debut novel. If you love a fast paced read that is both unpredictable and engrossing this book is for you. It is full of action and moderate violence that compliment the pace and emotion of Katherine’s story. A great read for those who have a few spare hours, it’s far too gripping to just put down!”
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
We always loved to write stories to each other when were younger. We had the idea for “Behind the Facade” when we were at college. Our writing stopped when reality caught up to us and we had to concentrate on education, marriage and careers!
Victoria was watching “The F Word” with Gordon Ramsay one night and, believe it or not, this is what prompted her to contact her sister and to urge her to work with her on finishing their first novel. “It was the passion for his work that Gordon exhibits that inspired me” she says. “What am I truly passionate about? What is my dream? What God-given gift do I possess that I am neglecting? These are the questions that drove me to go for it.”
Rebecca says “I have always loved to write. My favourite time at school was when we were asked to write a story. The irony is, I failed to get the expected “A” in my English Lit A-Level as I ran out of time because I was too busy writing long, wordy answers! My deepest most fervent wish has always been to publish a book, not for the money but just to be able to give that escapism and enjoyment to people and to leave a legacy for my children.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Our characters really came up with themselves. We find this is usually the case. They seem to have a mind of their own and sometimes even dictate what direction the plot goes in.
The man had not even been looking at her but behind him into the building. He had somehow missed her approach but, at the sound of her voice, he turned towards her and shot out a hand that was as swift and as startling as a snake. Instead of falling into the welcoming arms of her lover, she found herself grabbed harshly and spun around with her arm held behind her in a vice like grip.
She had little time to adjust herself to the shock of this unexpected situation and instinctively cried out in fear and surprise. Her captor immediately put his other hand over her mouth and snarled, “Who the ‘ell are you and what are you doing here?” an Irish lilt doing nothing to soften the censure in his tone.
It struck her as ironic that this was the very question she would have asked him if she could but, with his hand held so firmly on her mouth, she could not speak. But there was no need to reply. He answered for her with the words, “Of course…! You must be his bitta fluff.”
She struggled then, fearing not for herself but for Robert. He tightened his hold and said, “What was it you said just now? You’ve gone an’ called the cops? Shit!”
As if on cue a police car then turned into the car park, its headlights illuminating them briefly before it came to a halt. She felt him tense and, in contrast, she sagged with relief. Now this would all be over she thought.
As the police officer was busy getting out of the car, her aggressor pulled her upright with a jerk and his voice hissed urgently in her ear, “As far as they are concerned, I am your boyfriend and there is absolutely nothing wrong here. There’s a bomb in that building. If you do anything to alert them, I’ll blow it all to ‘ell, along with your fella. You’d better act your part well if you value his life.”
With these words the man destroyed any delusionary hope Kate had momentarily felt and his next move took her completely off guard. He held his grip on her arm but subtly and quickly changed their positions, so she was facing him, took her other arm in his grasp and pulled her towards him, his mouth meeting hers before she had any chance to resist.
The kiss was blessedly hard and quick and as he released her mouth he called across to the approaching officer, “My girlfriend here told me she’d called you. She rang you unnecessarily I’m afraid. There’s been no break-in.” He squeezed her arm, a reminder to her, she had no doubt, of her role and his warning. Then he finally took his hands off her.
Kate’s head was reeling. She felt assaulted on both a mental and physical level and it took all her strength to resist the overwhelming and instinctive urge to retaliate. Instead she plastered what she hoped was a convincing smile on her face as the policeman approached.
“Evening Miss,” he said in greeting. He introduced himself as Police Constable Anthony Connor, produced a notebook and asked, “Were you the lady that made the report?”
She nodded and the officer’s gaze lingered on her a little while, no doubt taking in her dishevelled hair and flushed face. It was then that she fully appreciated how crafty the man had been as Officer Connor would surely put this down to the kiss he had witnessed.
“The weather’s quite nasty and you look frozen Miss. I’ll try not to keep you both very long. Can I just verify a few things?” He didn’t wait for a reply and simply continued, “You are Miss Pearson?” Kate confirmed this was correct with another nod. He looked down at his notes. “I notice here that a Harry Pearson is the landlord. Is that a relation of yours?”
“Yes, that’s my father.” Kate replied.
She felt the assessing eyes of her assailant upon her. She glanced towards him but switched her gaze swiftly back to the policeman, shivering not only from the cold but also from the undisguised hostility she had seen in his eyes.
“I’d normally have to notify him if there’s been a security breach.”
Kate was about to affirm that this was quite alright when the stranger stepped in and countered, “I don’t think that is necessary, officer. There’s no sign of an intruder or any disturbance. I’ve been inside and I think it was just a system fault. No need to trouble Mr. Pearson. I’ll mention it to Harry tomorrow, myself.”
The policeman now gave his full attention to her partner, carefully considering the man beside her, who Kate noticed held himself confidently under his scrutiny. “And your name, Sir?” asked the officer.
Kate wondered how he would respond. When he gave out Robert’s name without hesitation, her heart sank. Her thoughts turned once more to Robert. What if he was dead already or in need of medical attention? She trembled, torn between the desire to give the policeman some positive sign that there was a problem and knowing that, if she did, she could be putting all of them in immediate and mortal danger. A bomb explosion would certainly ruin any chances for Robert’s survival and might injure them as well.
The officer continued with, “You have authority to enter the building Sir, I take it?”
“Can I see some credentials?”
Kate held her breath. Would he be able to produce this? Should she do something? What if her assailant couldn’t comply with this request and now panicked and set off the bomb?
As if fate had intervened, this crisis point was interrupted by a loud bleep and an electronically distorted voice. Officer Connor excused himself and turned away, lifting a walkie-talkie to his ear.
After a few moments, he turned back to them and said, “I’m sorry but I have to go. There’s a more urgent matter I’ve been called to deal with. Thank you both for your co-operation. I have your details so I’ll send someone to make further checks on Monday morning. Is the building now secured?” he queried.
Her attacker nodded and said, “Everything’s back online now. False alarm I think. Sorry to ‘ave wasted your time.”
The police officer seemed satisfied with this and, after wishing them good night, walked back to his car. Kate watched him get in the car, whip it around and drive speedily away. With him left any last vestige of hope she had harboured.
As soon as the vehicle was out of sight, her captor grabbed her arm. However, Kate had anticipated this and spun around letting all her pent up fear and frustration out as she lunged at him with her free arm. He only just dodged her strike and grabbed her attacking arm seconds before her nails bit into his cheek.
He held both her arms in check and said, “Just calm down, will you? I’m not gonna harm you.”
She didn’t believe him. He’d planted a bomb and she could identify him. Taking in his demeanour and clothing she couldn’t believe she had mistaken him for Robert. She’d seen what she’d wanted and expected to see. It was a blunder she would pay for, she knew that with utter certainty. He was Robert’s height maybe and had dark hair but there any similarity ended. He was dressed completely in black. Flinty grey eyes glared out at her from under an untidy mop of coarse black hair. He looked a good ten years older than her fiancé and had an angular face with high, narrow cheekbones that gave him a slightly savage, wolfish air.
He grasped her arms tightly now and shook her, “Why did you ‘ave to show up? You’re coming with me.” Roughly pulling her along with him, he headed towards the back of the building. Kate resisted with all her strength, trying to extricate herself from his grasp and, when this failed, she raged, “Let me go! Let me go!” He paid no heed, dragging her after him.
They stumbled onto a cobbled, unlit side street. A black Mazda MX5 was parked there. He swiftly released the locking mechanism and forced her down into the passenger seat whilst she kicked and screamed. He easily avoided her thrashing limbs and secured the seat-belt across her, slamming the door on her histrionics. She began to grapple wildly with the door handle. It was locked of course.
As he took his seat, the forbidding stranger warned, “I wouldn’t do that.”
But, instead of stopping, Kate increased her efforts. She had to find some way out, some way to get back to Robert! She found herself wrenched back around by a powerful pull on her wrist. She shrieked and struggled to no avail. His hand found her throat. He leaned close, putting further pressure on her arm and pinning her to the seat with his weight. She whimpered in pain and protest, trying vainly to turn her face away from his.
“Shut the hell up!” he spat, emphasising each word, his tone vicious. He jerked away from her.
She trembled uncontrollably and tears now dripped slowly down her face. Her arm burned where his hand had been and she could feel the spittle he had left on her cheek. Sobs rose in her throat and she tried to smother them, afraid of another backlash.
He started the car, revved the engine violently, and then sped out of the back street, swerving on to the main carriageway. Watching him drive, Kate considered her options. She could grab the wheel but he had already demonstrated his superior strength and this would probably just annoy him further or cause an accident. Either way, the outcome was unlikely to be her freedom.
Her mind clamped down on the panic and terror that threatened to engulf her. She had to try and stay calm and just keep alert to any opportunity that might help her to get away. She must escape and get help for Robert. If she concentrated on this positive goal, maybe she wouldn’t feel so powerless and afraid.
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