It’s my pleasure to welcome Cheryl Elaine to my blog today as the next stop on the blog tour for her novel, Stitched.
Before I share the extract with you, here’s the blurb …
A patchwork of lies and threads of abuse…Stitched is a gruesome tale of control, fear and brutality.
To the outside world, Andrew Brooke is a cop who’s obsessively committed to his job. But behind closed doors, he enforces his dominance and disciplines his wife, Emily, in the most inhumane ways. When his life begins to fall apart and his reputation becomes tarnished, he unleashes his anger and seeks revenge on those who dare to encounter him.
Emily Brooke is left broken by her husband’s hand, with no means of escape. Eventually, though weak and confused, she manages to flee. But is the life she escapes to a better one?
Detective Donavan has his own demons to battle following his wife’s death. Assigned a missing person’s case that leads to a series of brutal attacks, he follows the trail of a serial killer dubbed ‘The Stitcher’ – but will his own dark secrets get in the way of justice being served?
Stitched perfectly demonstrates how cruel life – and people – can be.
Here’s the extract …
Marriage is not the bed of roses story books describe. More like a bed of torturous thorns.
And, how Emily bled.
Escape seemed an illusion, a mirage of a rocky road between overgrown thickets of despair. Emily couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel; she wasn’t allowed to dream or think for herself and had no alternative other than submitting to his rage.
Andy was a narcissist. Emily could not, and would not, disregard his superiority. Her naivety often clouded her judgment; she was damaged both mentally and physically. Would putting her trust in another lead her to a happy ending?
Emily Brooke cowered in a corner, her arms wrapped tightly around her waist and her head tucked into her chest, waiting for the assault to finish. Please stop. She felt defeated by his strength. Each time his boot struck her, she gritted her teeth through horrendous pain. I can’t take this punishment anymore. But Emily knew from experience that if she made a single sound or whimper his temper would flare further, and she’d have to endure violent kicks to her tiny, battered body for longer. It was no use . . .
She’d begged him to leave her alone before, but her pleas only warranted his harrowing sniggers and unrelenting temper. All resistance had been stripped from her inner self. Both her body and mind screamed in silent torment—a place she often frequented. Her body displayed waves of twitching tremors that wouldn’t still. All she could do was wither and surrender to his cruel punishment. Broken, she whimpered, like a flower in the shade reaching for the sun.
Andy Brooke felt no remorse. Like any thrill-seeker, he was addicted to the excitement of an adrenalin rush, which triggered his inner core. It’s what made him tick. He craved the high, to obtain that euphoric feeling; like any junkie, he pushed the boundaries in search of that indispensable feeling. When he let go, he felt on top of the world, the master of his castle, the prince of his domain. How she’d squirm under his reign. Each time he swung a blow, he felt alive, in a state of masculine control. Every muscle quivered with joy and caused his blood to rush, fuelling his excitement. He knew how to treat a woman and that his wife needed direction. Emily was weak. She craved a dominant man, and Andy was the guy to fill those boots. Andy enforced the rules daily, his rules, which were subject to change at the flick of a switch. There were no limits to the depth of his punishment.
Later, when Emily woke, she was immediately engulfed by horrendous pain. At first, she thought she’d gone blind; both her eyes had swollen so much she could hardly open them. She struggled to squint through the narrow gaps, and all she could see was his harrowing shadow standing above her. Please, no more, she thought repeatedly. She knew not to speak, though. Before she’d even realised it, Andy had moved. He was now sat on the edge of the bed, mere inches away. Her heart raced and every hair on her body screamed and stood alert, anticipating what was coming next. She could feel her stomach churn and gulped away the bile that rose to the back of her throat. Andy reached out and touched the top of Emily’s head, patting her like a tamed pet; she flinched at his movement and squirmed under his touch. Her heart rate amplified to a faster beat; it felt as if it could burst from her chest. Her head thrummed at the temples with a constant, banging, pain that shot through her entire skull. She struggled to still the painful memories; neither could she escape them. How the hell have I ended up like this? The memories of the night before were etched in her mind, unshakable and displayed heavily on her body.
Andy spoke as if nothing had happened; he either cared so little for her or he was completely oblivious to her pain. Who knows what goes on in that twisted head?
‘I’m off to work. You know I’m sorry, don’t you? And that I love you?’
Emily nodded her head in agreement. She had no choice, she was too afraid to speak her mind. She craved courage, but the last ounce of backbone she’d had was squashed years ago. If only I had the strength. Her voice yelled and rattled in her head like a stone in a metal drum. She wanted to scream out loud, but her fear wouldn’t allow it. She felt tethered to his dominance, a slave to his unrelenting need.
Andy’s words of love played in her mind. Love, love… Andy’s love was hideous. If this was love she didn’t want it, she didn’t like it, and yet she couldn’t flee from it either. Emily knew the truth, she had learnt it the hard way. Andy didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘love’; it was something that lay dormant within him, like a dead, decaying cat.
Emily slowly turned her head away from him and faced the wall. She kept her eyes shut, grimacing in pain as every muscle and joint ached. She tried to keep the tears at bay, but they escaped her swollen eyes and ran down her bruised cheeks. Every tiny movement was excruciating, and her body cried out for sleep; the pain was unbearable—it was hideous and rippled through every defeated limb.
She wasn’t a fool; she was broken, physically and mentally. Beyond repair. Her entire body trembled on the outside and on the inside. She’d become a nervous wreck and couldn’t think straight anymore. She wasn’t allowed to think at all, really—Andy was the master of manipulation. That was as clear as the swollen nose on her face; he’d done a fine job on her again. In her mind she tried desperately to hold onto tiny fragments of her true self, but like with any breaking point, she was lost and couldn’t find a way to bring herself back. When will this stop? She already knew the answer, although she didn’t want to admit it. It will never stop.
Andy closed the bedroom door behind him on his way out; he was as regular as clockwork. He wore his smart uniform and his boots were polished. Emily strained to hear the car engine purr as he pulled away. Thank God he’s gone. She exhaled a heavy breath, even though her ribs hurt, and lay there for some time with her eyes closed. She was surrounded by the darkness of her mind, but this was better than the reality of her truth.
She knew the feeling of relief wouldn’t last long and she worried how she was going to get through the day with her body feeling like it had been hit by the impact of a car crash. She couldn’t rest; Andy had expectations and she couldn’t disobey him. The cost was too high. Get up, girl, haul that ass out of bed. You’ve chores to do.
Emily slowly started to move but it was difficult. She wanted to scream, yell, to sob, to lay there until she felt healed. She had no option; she had to battle through the pain regardless, the chores were calling to her. Tears welled in her eyes. She knew at that moment how Cinderella had felt, under her evil stepmother’s rule. If only this was a fairy-tale. She sighed heavily, the list of duties that had to be attended to embedded in her mind. All her body wanted was to lay still and admit defeat. But she couldn’t face another beating, not yet, not ever—not that the latter was on the cards.
She lacked the strength to simply sit up, let alone the mettle to battle the soreness. All her strength had evaporated like mist on a hillside; it would never return. She just had to push through the pain. Emily had resigned herself to the fact she had become a shadow of her former self. She felt invisible on so many levels.
She glared through her swollen eyes at the magnolia walls surrounding her and felt some affinity: she was just as plain and washed out. How has my life come to this?
Crushed by the assault but propelled by duty to be an obedient wife, Emily struggled painfully to sit upright. Her body screamed in agony; it already showed signs of trauma. She felt numb and helpless, conscious that she’d become utterly weak. She felt small, like a mere blemish on the Earth’s surface, but fear willed her on. Emily knew the beating she’d suffered would not be the last. She often thought about running away but couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. There was no get-out clause for her; she felt trapped, like a timid animal caught in a snare—alone, isolated and humiliated. Her mind ran wild, tormenting her with utter chaos.
This was Emily’s truth. Even though she fought her conscience to admit it, this was just another ordinary day in her unforgiving marriage.
If that’s whet your appetite, get over to Amazon now to get your copy:
My hugest thanks to Shell Baker and the author for having me on the tour, do make sure you bookworms keep up with the rest of it!
About the author …
Cheryl Elaine is a British Author, and resides in Yorkshire. Throughout her life she has been an avid reader and wrote many short stories, which lead her on a path to the world of publishing. She released her debut novel – No Ordinary Girl, followed by her latest release – Stitched.
I hope you enjoy my dark and disturbing crime books, and if you fancy reading something lighter, why not check out my fantasy novel – Dragged to the Depths.
You can find out more about me, at the following places