For the past twelve years, Chloe Winters has worked with and among the most gruesome of beasts, as a homicide detective with the Los Baristas County Homicide Unit in downtown Los Angeles. Making sergeant two years ago was a struggle professionally and personally, but with a failing marriage behind her and a promising career ahead of her; it seems as though she is on top of the world.
Haunted by the memories of a young girl who suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her mother, Chloe is about to find that her world is slowly closing in around her. One night, she is awakened by a noise and then by a smell that can only be one thing, fresh blood, and it's everywhere! Being a good detective, she immediately calls the person closest to her, so that he can also witness the sheer hideousness of the scene in her bedroom. Has her past finally caught up with her? As she struggles to finally find the happiness she has been seeking her entire life, can the one man who knows her the best save her before she becomes another statistic?
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.37(d)|
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By Sharon Arzillo
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2009 Sharon Arzillo
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Chapter OneFear. Loathing. Despair. Those are some of her earliest thoughts. As she gazed out the window of the dirty, bug-infested trailer that they called home, at least for that week, she could not help but to wish herself anywhere but there.
She had often thought about running away, leaving all that behind, starting all over again. A new beginning. A life that would be of her choosing instead of a life that was of some sick twisted nightmare.
She dreamed of a life where she was wanted, needed and most of all, loved. If she were a stronger person, she would do just that, but fear kept her there, kept her bound to that Hell. Fears of the unknown, fear of letting someone get too close, but most of all, fear that she somehow deserved that life.
Joy Sutten was her name, although for the life of her, she could not understand why she was named Joy. Nothing in her life could, or would, be remotely considered a Joy.
She was a bastard child, and had been referred to as that for as long as she could remember. Her mother had never married to her father, Seth Sutten, or any of the boyfriends that had come or gone since he left them.
They were poor white trash by anyone's standards. She was not sure when the realization of the came to her, and she couldn't say that there was any one thing had defined that, but comparedto the other people they encountered, it was obvious.
She was plain, average. Her best feature, according to her mother, was her "arresting" hazel eyes, eyes that had seen far too much ugliness in such a short period.
She had plain brown, mousy hair that fell just short of her bony shoulders. She was taller than most the kids her age, which only made her stand out, when she longed to be invisible.
They were poor; their sparse, meager belongings were all second-hand things. From the once off-white couch, that now had a yellow/green hew, to the scarred coffee table that held an ancient black and white television, which, on a good day, one could barely distinguished the intended images from the fuzzy background.
They had no kitchen table, and sat on the floor to eat their meals, and she used that term loosely, as her mother could not cook anything; including water, without burning it.
They had exactly three plates and two bowls, none matching, along with two plastic cups that were cracked at the rims. They had only plastic silverware left over from their last take out meal, which Joy was required to wash, as that was yet another responsibility, heaped upon her.
They had a beat up black Chevy Citation that had rust spots on the outside and holes in the floorboard. It sputtered when trying to start up, and smoked something awful.
Her mother had a hard time holding down a job, and what little bit of money she did make never seemed to be enough to pay the bills, forcing them to move around a lot. Most of the money she made was spent on her current drug of choice.
Her mother was an exotic dancer. Somehow, that always sounded glamorous to Joy, and for the life of her, she couldn't understand why her mother could not keep a steady job.
For as long as she could remember, it had been just the two of them. There had been a lot, and she meant a lot, of men in and out of their lives, but none that lasted more than a few months. She had long since given up hope that her dad would come back and rescue her from her own private Hell.
She used to lie awake at night, listening to the constant dripping of the kitchen sink, the running of the broken toilet, and the creaks of the dilapidated trailers, visualizing the day he would come knocking, saying how much he missed her and how he could not live another day without her in his life.
She was not sure how he found them in her dreams, as they had not stayed in once place very long, but she guessed if he really wanted to find them he could.
On the night he left, she heard her dad and mother once again arguing, "You are never around, and when I ask your whereabouts, you get all defensive."
"What the hell am I supposed to think Karen? What the hell do you do with the money I give you, damn it? You have not brought a damn dime into the house since God knows when, yet you claim to be at work all hours of the night, working overtime, covering shifts.
"Where does your money go if not to me or the bills?" he asked her in obvious frustration.
"I've been out whoring," she screamed.
"Was that the answer you wanted? Wasn't that what you think anyway?" she demanded of him as she walked away.
"What else am I to think? You leave the house dressed like a tramp; face all painted up, shorts up your ass, your tits hanging out." he verbally lashed out at her.
"You have no respect for yourself, why should anyone else have respect for you? You know what, I'm tried of this shit, I'm out of here I don't need to deal with the bullshit" he called over his shoulder, as he slammed the door, not bothering to look back.
Joy heard the distinctive squeal of his tires as he drove away into the night. She stood for what seemed like hours peering out the once pristine window. Thinking that this was just another one of their fights, and that any minute he would walk back through the door and things would go back to the way they always were.
Joy had long since resigned herself to the fact that her father was not going to come back, and that she meant nothing to him.
In the seven years since her father walked away, her mother had had one boyfriend after another. Joy had become numb to that. She used to lay awake at night, hearing the whispered, muffled conversations going on in the next room, of whatever trailer they were living in at that time.
Listening to the laughter in her mother's voice as she sing-songed big boy, master, slave, or whatever name she decided to use that night. Joy used to think it was weird that she never called them by their given name.
At first it upset her that it could never be just the two of them, a night in which her mother did not have one of her boyfriends over, a night that she wasn't cast aside, forgotten about, replaced by her mother's need to party, and get high. Eventually she grew to accept the parade of men who came in and out of their lives, and that it was destined to be their life.
On the night that stood out in her mind as the night that forever shaped her life, Joy's mother had one of her boyfriends over. James she thought his name was. She was about eight years old. Her mother was dressed in her usual attire, a tank top that was about two sizes too small, and barely covered her chest, let alone her stomach and skintight cut-off jean shorts, that also seemed to shrink right before her eyes.
She had her dark brown hair pulled back with a black rubber band. Her mother had the same color eyes as Joy, which she was sure was why her mother insisted they were her best feature. Her skin was darker than Joy's, more of an olive complexion. Her overall appearance was rather exotic. It was obvious why men were drawn to her.
Her mother called Joy into the front room. Usually she was to make herself scarce until the adult time was over. Her mother never included Joy in any of the parties she had, and Joy long since grew tired of waiting for her to do so.
That evening, as Joy made her way out to the front room where her mother and the strange looking man were seated, Joy became worried and afraid. She tried to wrap her arms around her middle just to hold herself together. She was shaking so much on the inside she just knew it was visible on the out. She quickly glanced at the man, unsure what made her mother call her into the room.
"Ah, here's My Joy" she heard her mother saying, looking to James to gauge his reaction.
Her mother called her "My Joy," but she always knew deep down that her mother resented having her around.
She kept her eyes to the faded worn brown carpet that had so many stains on it; it was hard to determine the original color.
"Don't be shy sweetie; James here wants to get a good look at you. He has heard so much about you honey and wanted to meet you in person" her mother was saying, although not looking at her, but looking at her nails.
Joy made her way farther into the room, noticing the sweet musty smell of marijuana; her mother had smoked it for as long as she could remember.
James stood up from the yellow/green couch, "Come over here my love" James uttered as he made his way towards her and took a hold of her hand. He all but pulled her towards the couch as he then took a seat, tapping the vacant seat next to him, encouraging her to sit there.
She kept looking at the once beige carpet, shaking more now than before. She clamped her jaw tight, trying to keep her teeth from chattering. She wearily sat next to James.
"Come closer love, I don't bite" he informed her, before adding "well, not too hard anyway" in a snide tone, as he scooted closer to her, his right leg brushing up against her left thigh.
She raised her eyes to her mother in a questioning manner, but noticed her mother had turned, her back towards them, instead, focusing her attention to the window, as if she could see through the dirty brown curtains.
James took Joy's chin into his hand and lifted her face to meet his eyes. She couldn't help but notice how green they were.
"Aww, she's a beaut," he announced to no one in particular.
"I'll leave you two alone," her mother stated as she made her way to the open doorway that she just came from.
"Your mum told me you're quite the special lady" he proceeded to tell her, not looking her straight in the eyes.
"I can see why she would think so," he continued, his eyes leaving hers to travel to her chest, and back to her face.
She was so nervous that her leg began to bob up and down by its own accord as if it had a mind of its own. She could not remember ever feeling that studied before, but knowing she did not like it.
From the other room, she heard the bathroom door closing. It squeaked whenever it was opened or closed and she had mentioned it to her mother before.
Her mother said that she would get some lubricant to fix it, but obviously, it too had slipped her mind.
"I would like to play a little game with you Joy, if that's alright with you" he said to her, not looking at her, but through her.
"You like to play games dontcha sweetie?" he asked.
Without waiting for a response, he continued, "I have a handkerchief in my pocket. I would like to use it to cover your eyes" he said as he stood up and took the handkerchief from his pocket.
It was bright pink with little colored flowers on it. She sat there for what felt like forever looking at the handkerchief.
"If you stand up and turn around I will tie it around your head," he told her. She stood to her feet shakily and turned to face the wall.
He then folded the handkerchief in two and tied it around her head. He grabbed her shoulders and turned her around; she stumbled, but he quickly grabbed her to break her fall.
"You can't see anything can ya sweetie?" he asked.
She shook her head vigorously her world was now dark. He once again took a hold of her shoulders and gently pushed her downward towards the couch. She was shaking more now than ever.
"Relax My Joy," he told her, using the same pet name her mother did.
"I promise not to hurt you; we are just going to have a little fun. You do like to have fun dontcha?" he asked. She nodded her head. "Alright sweetie, that's good," he stated.
"Do you like candy?" he asked her, and she once again nodded.
"Ah, good, good. I have a surprise for you if you are a real good girl," he told her.
"Okay sweetie, for the game, I'm gonna need you to get on the floor in front of me on your knees, okay?"
He helped her to her feet and placed her in front of him, he then pushed her slowly to the floor. She bent her knees and knelt in front of him.
"Such a good girl sweetie" he whispered. I think your gonna earn that lollipop after all," he told her.
She reached up to remove the handkerchief, and he grabbed her hand.
"No, no, leave it on, it will be more fun the way" he said. She lowered her hand to her side.
She heard him sit back on the couch; all of her senses were heightened, now that she could no longer see. She heard him moving around on the couch and she became more nervous.
She once again reached for the handkerchief and he said "Here love, give me your hands," taking her hands into his, he placed her hands around him. She felt something warm, smooth.
"That's it love, hold it just like the," he closed her hands around him, "move up and down, just like the" he directed her. "Oh yeah, that's it sweetie, just like that."
She felt him slide lower on the couch, placing his legs on either side of her. Guiding her hands, he moved them up and down a little faster at first, then faster still.
He released her hands and instructed her to "Keep going, just like that love." After a few more minutes of that, her arm and hands began to ache.
She was shaking more than ever, and unable to control the spasms that racked her tiny body. He reached his hand out and placed atop her head.
"Open your mouth for me sweetie" he instructed. She did so, while he pushed her head down.
"You like to suck on lollipops my love?" he asked her. Before she could respond, her mouth was inundated with the very thing she just touched. She recognized the feel of it as he pushed her head farther down, making her take more of it into her mouth.
"That's it love, lick it like a lollipop" he all but purred. He was now making rude noises, and she struggled to push away from him, not liking the game.
They heard the squeak of the bathroom door once again and he released his hold on her head. She pushed herself back and tore off the handkerchief. She scrambled to her feet, just as her mother made her way back into the room.
James was now standing next to her tucking in his shirt. "You all finished here?" her mother snapped at James.
"Yea, she was real nice to play a little game with me, weren'tcha sweetie?" he asked looking right at her. She lowered her eyes and nodded her head. She moved closer to her mother, and leaned against her.
James took a lollipop from his front pocket and handed it to her. She did not make any move to take it. He thrust it towards her, "Here sweetie, you earned it, take it" he persisted. Her mother took it from James.
Her mother moved away from her and gently pushed her towards the doorway.
"Go on now My Joy, let me say goodbye to James, I'll be right there," she told her. Joy walked quickly to the doorway.
As she made her way through it, she heard her mother saying "Well, I gave you what the fuck you wanted, now give me what I want."
Upon hearing the sternness in her mother's voice she turned around, just in time to see James handing her mother a small bag full of white powder. Her mother stood there for a few seconds just looking at it, not moving.
James then walked to the door "I'll see ya around" he stated, before heading out. Her mother just nodded, not saying anything.
A few minutes later, her mother came into the bedroom. Joy was sitting on the bed looking down, sobbing, with her hands folded in her lap.
"What you did in there was nothin' to be ashamed of," her mother informed her. "You did real good My Joy. Now go wash up while I prepare supper." Her mother then walked out of the bedroom and headed for the kitchen. Joy sat there, crying her heart out, unable to comprehend what just transpired.
She ran into the bathroom and closed the door. Leaning her back against it, she slumped to the floor wrapping her arms once more around herself, trying to protect herself from God knew what.
Crying, sobbing, and willing herself to wake up from the nightmare, she stood up and made her way to the sink, standing in front of the mirror just watching the tears rolling down her cheeks.
She turned towards the toilet and began to vomit. Her tiny body racked from crying and she was shaking, unable to pull herself together.
Here was her mother, the woman she once longed to be, and she willingly gave her daughter over to one of her boyfriends. Joy still did not fully understand all that occurred, or the consequences of that evening, but she knew things would never be the same for her again.
Excerpted from Blood Lust by Sharon Arzillo Copyright © 2009 by Sharon Arzillo. Excerpted by permission.
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