Publication date: May 19th 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
“I felt like I was walking to the end of a plank precariously hanging over shark-infested water. When I jumped, sharp teeth would rip into me and the cold water would steal my breath away. The monsters would take everything from me, leaving me shivering and naked in the water. The only difference was that tonight I would be pulled from the icy darkness and forced to do it again. There would be no release from death, only pain.”
Home after her first year of college, Adeline Miller is looking forward to a stress free summer filled with reading, working on her blog, and spending time with friends. But all that changes in an instant when she is witness to something terrible, something she wasn’t supposed to see.
Beaten, drugged, kidnapped.
Adeline Miller is ripped from her innocent and carefree life and thrust into darkness, into a world full of pain and horror. As a sex slave, she is forced to do horrible things, and have horrible things done to her. One of her captors has a past as dark as the world she is now living in. Will getting close to him mean freedom? Or will he pull her deeper into the shadows?
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©2014 by Emily Goodwin
“Don’t touch me,” I said through gritted teeth when Zane grabbed my arm, yanking me forward. I pulled my arm back, trying to break his hold. I wasn’t strong enough. All I ended up doing was causing the first layer of skin to twist and tear.
Zane laughed and jumped in front of me. His fingers tightened on my arm, the pain biting into me until I was sure blood pooled under the half moon marks left by his fingernails.
“I like it when you fight,” he groaned. With his free hand, he reached up and took a fist full of my hair and stepped closer, brushing his waist against mine. Jackson turned around, face blank. He didn’t care what happened to me.
Then Zane let me go. He laughed and turned his back to me, purposely flashing the silver gun tucked into his pants. My heart was in my throat. Nerves tingled throughout my body, and my teeth chattered.
“Come on,” Zane ordered and paced ahead.
I looked at the ground, blinking back tears. Jackson waited until I was a few feet in front of him to follow. The invisible wall of the cage closed in on me. I was sandwiched between Zane and Jackson. Their body heat suffocated me. Mixed with the humid air, it was nauseating.
We crossed the yard and stopped by a gate. Jackson dug a key from his pocket and unlocked it. He pushed it open and stepped aside. Zane took a hold of my arm again, forcing me to walk close to him. A gravel path cut into the forest, which started just several feet from the white fence.
The gate slammed shut behind us. A useless sense of hope fluttered through me. I wasn’t fenced in. I could run away.
And get shot.
There was nothing I could do. There was no escape. I felt like I was walking to the end of a plank, precariously hanging over shark-infested water. When I jumped, sharp teeth would rip into me and the cold water would steal my breath away. The monsters would take everything from me, leaving me shivering and naked in the water. The only difference was that tonight I would be pulled from the icy darkness and forced to do it again. There would be no release from death, only pain.
Thinking of a plan of escape, I closed my eyes and continued to move forward, my pace subconsciously slowing down. Lily had said that Jackson and Zane would go back to the house while I worked. I had to run then. What other choice did I have?
Zane jerked me forward. The toe of my shoe caught on the uneven path and I stumbled and tripped.
“Seriously?” Zane huffed under his breath.
My throat tightened with fear and I blinked back tears. Zane scuffed his shoe, sending a cloud of dustydirt into my face. I coughed and turned my head. He stepped away, laughing.
Jackson stopped next to me and extended a hand. I traced my eyes up from his fingers. He had a bruise just below his elbow in the shape of a large handprint, as if someone had grabbed him and twisted his skin. Did he do Nate’s dirty work and that was why he was always injured? Maybe he collected unpaid money and got in a lot of fights. The black t-shirt he wore was faded and worn, and his dark eyes glazed over, hiding back his emotions. The emptiness on his face frightened me.
Ignoring his offer, I put my hands on the ground and pushed myself up. Jackson’s eyebrows pushed together and he studied a vine of poison ivy that twisted around a maple tree. He stepped away from me and bit his bottom lip. Zane grabbed my arm and pulled me forward again. I didn’t fight him. Really, the sooner I got into the trailer, the sooner I could put my plan into action. I took a deep breath and tried to steady myself.
Just like Lily said, it felt like we were miles away from the farmhouse by the time we reached what was called ‘the trailer.’ Really, it was a brand new RV, and it must have cost a lot of money. Yellow light spilled from slats in the mini blinds. An old blue Cadillac was parked behind it.
Zane kept a painful hold of my arm as Jackson knocked on the door. The blood drained from my face. It was as if I was waiting to see the face of my executioner, but he wouldn’t kill all of me. Only part of me would die and I would be forced to carry the black and festering hole with me for the rest of my life. It would be a constant reminder of what was painfully taken from me.
**Emily Goodwin’s Playlist
Since I typically write paranormal/horror, my usual writing playlists are filled with epic songs from soundtracks with lots of NIN and Marilyn Manson thrown in. With STAY, I needed something different. While this novel is just as dark—if not darker—than the books I usually write, it’s a different kind of dark.
STAY is the first book I’ve written with a contemporary setting and no elements of fantasy. And yet it was one of the scariest books I’ve ever written. After all, the truth is often worse than fiction. Unlike ghosts, demons, and zombies, being kidnapped and forced into human trafficking is something that really could happen.
I needed music that set the mood for not only fear, but a sense of hopelessness and utter despair the characters felt. I am not a fan of slow, sad music, so this is as close at it comes for me. Here is the playlist I listened to on repeat while writing STAY
1.) Imagine Dragons- Demons
2.) Of Monster and Men- Little Talks
3.) Imagine Dragons- Bleeding Out
4.) One Republic- Counting Stars
5.) One Republic- Come Home
6.) Animals- House of the Rising Sun
7.) Tom Petty- Free Fallin’
8.) Tom Petty- Mary Jane’s Last Dance
9.) One Republic- Secrets
10.) Coldplay- Fix You
11.) Goo Goo Dolls- Iris
12.) Tom Petty- I Won’t Back Down
13.) Jason Mraz- I Won’t Give Up
14.) Katy Perry- Unconditionally
Emily Goodwin is the author of the award winning Contagium Series published by Permuted Press as well as many independently published novels, including the internationally bestselling novel, STAY. Emily writes in a wide variety of genres, from horror to romance. She holds multiple degrees in psychology and nursing and has worked in mental health and general healthcare. Emily resides in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and German Shepherd named Vader. Along with writing, Emily enjoys riding her horse, designing and making costumes, and Cosplay.
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