Same Face Different Place – Beginnings by Helen . J. Christmas – Extract.

Today it is my pleasure to share an extract from  Same Face Different Place – Beginnings by Helen .J. Christmas.

About the Book

Beginnings is a romantic thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. Eleanor Chapman is 16. She has no idea her father is employed in a world of organised crime until the day he is forced to go on the run, leaving her at the mercy of dangerous people.
Her life is spiralling out of control yet on the night she plans to escape, she stumbles across a mysterious prisoner. His name is Jake, a rock musician from Holland and he has a contract on his life.
Their daring escape across London eventually draws them into a place of hiding before Jake’s chilling story begins to unfold. He was the one vital witness to a sinister scene leading up to the death of a British MP and now those responsible want him silenced. As two young people, thrown together by fate they develop intense feelings for each other. It does not take long for Eleanor to realise that she will do anything possible to keep Jake alive.
Their tender love bond keeps you turning the pages as they live on a knife edge, desperate to escape London. Will they outrun the deadly enemies who stalk them? Or are the people at the top more powerful than they think?
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About the Author

Helen J. Christmas lives on the south coast of Sussex with her husband. With a love of writing since childhood, she started her decade spanning thriller series ‘Same Face Different Place’ in 2011. Her first book ‘Beginnings,’ set in 1970s London, combines romantic suspense with a hard-hitting conspiracy thriller. Writing is something she juggles around family and social life. Helen is self employed and enjoys running the web design company, she and her husband set up from home. They have no children but enjoy the company of a faithful border collie and a fluffy white cat. Helen confesses to have got most of her ideas for writing, whilst walking Barney along the beach.
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Eleanor couldn’t move. In just over a week her life had been thrown into chaos but now it was about to change beyond recognition. A prostitute! How could anyone expect her to cope with this awful turn of events?
An attractive young black woman sauntered over and offered her a drink. She had a halo of afro hair and delicate features; high cheekbones, full lips enhanced by luscious dark lipstick.
She introduced herself as Della.
“I’ve worked here a couple of years now,” she smiled as if it was just some passing conversation. “Clark ain’t that bad. Just don’t try an’ double cross him.”
Eleanor sipped her drink. Guessing it to be some sort of cocktail, the taste of tropical fruit disguised an underlying flavour of alcohol.
“The other guys are bodyguards: Clive and Leroy. We get the occasional ‘rogue punter’ an’ if things get rough, the boys sort ‘em out…”
“I see,” Eleanor whispered. She gave Della a long and searching look. “Listen, I can’t work here, okay? What those bastards did is evil. How dare they dump me in a whorehouse. No one can force a girl to do this!”
Della gave a sigh. There was a glint of sympathy in her eyes.
“It ain’t a bad life,” she counselled. “All the girls here are quite happy… I guess this is happening a bit too fast but try not to worry. It’s just sex, sweetheart.”
“How can I not worry?” Eleanor protested. She drew her head closer. “Della, I’ve never ever done it before! They were right about that part. I was hoping, I’d lose my virginity with someone I loved, not some punter…” She fought back another sob. “How could my dad and for that matter, Sammie, trust such a pair of scum bags?”
“What, you think anyone in this world can be trusted?” Della chuckled. “Get real, love!”
“What?” Eleanor croaked, feeling the rise of tears again.
“Face facts, sweetie, we are all low life! Not just the Mallorys… This is the criminal underworld and there ain’t no nice people in it.”
Eleanor shook her head as Della relayed the stark reality.
“Have you absolutely no idea what kind of guy Sammie Maxwell is?”
“I-I know he’s no saint,” Eleanor faltered. “I’ve only just learned a bit about his business but he’s still my father’s boss… He’s always been good to me.”
“Yeah,” Della added, “‘cept his business includes casinos and whorehouses, hard drugs and hired muscle! Up until now, Sammie’s been everyone’s boss!”
“So what else do you know?” Eleanor pressed.
Della took her hand. “You’re asking about your dad, ain’t you? We all knew Ollie. One of Sammie’s top hard men. He ran that garage and car lot… Well for a start, the place was a money laundering front. Apart from that, he assisted Sammie with all sorts of stuff, mainly in the protection rackets. Sammie liked Ollie ‘cos he looked mean. Had them eyes that made you go cold all over!”
Eleanor gazed back blankly when in truth, she felt stunned.
“When Clark told us, Ollie’s girl was bein’ brought here, we were expecting some tough chick. Where’s he been hidin’ you all this time?”
Eleanor’s frown deepened. “He sent me to boarding school, away from all this criminal stuff.”
“Explains a lot,” Della relented and letting go of Eleanor’s hand, she lounged in her seat. “Look I don’t mean to upset you and you’re right, you probably don’t belong here. What Clark’s sister did ain’t right though don’t tell him I said that. Just try to understand that nobody in this game can be trusted. You might wanna remember that in future…”
She rose to her feet.
“C’mon, I’ll take you to your room. Clark agreed to let you have your first night off so make the most of it. He ain’t usually so considerate.”
Coaxed from the lounge, Eleanor allowed herself to be led dreamily upstairs. Two flights. She wished she could close her ears to the sounds of obvious sexual activity emanating from all corners of the house. Exhaustion was beginning to sink in now. It must have been very late and her head felt heavy. She wondered if her drink contained some sort of sedative, though under the circumstances, she really didn’t care…
Her room was small. At first glance, she clocked a single bed with a leopard skin effect cover, her coat and suitcase resting on top. The lighting like everywhere else in the house was very soft and similar to the glow of candlelight. Yet she felt too drowsy to take any more in.
“Get some sleep,” Della sighed. “I got work to do now, so I’ll leave you to settle in. Bathroom’s on the right… Oh and you may as well know, this is the attic floor and we lock it at night, so don’t go getting no fantasies about escapin.’ Sorry this has been a shock but you’ll get used to it…”


4 Replies to “Same Face Different Place – Beginnings by Helen . J. Christmas – Extract.”

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