*** I received this eBook from the author (Novel Publicity) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Rating: On the Run (4/5)
Read the Chapter excerpt BELOW!
Sneak Peak of Scorpio Rising
Half way around the world, Brigitte Dartois also liked drawing. Rather than buildings, her pictures were of her family—Papa, Maman, and herself under a bright sun. Sometimes she drew trees and flowers. Her subjects were the same as any other child’s her age, but her pictures were different. They were strong and arresting.
“Viens voir, Colette,” her father called her mother. He held up a bright drawing of a garden. “Regarde, don’t tell me our daughter is not talented.”
Colette Dartois looked, but to her, those colorful scribbles were no better than those of any other nine-year-old.
She shrugged. “You shouldn’t compliment her too much. It will go to her head. Brigitte, put that away and go do your homework.”
Often, Colette would look at her husband and her daughter with vague discomfort. He paid so much attention to Brigitte and so little to her. Every day when Louis Dartois burst through the door after work, it was Brigitte to whom he opened his arms after a perfunctory kiss to Colette. Gradually, Colette’s love for her husband and daughter festered into resentment and jealousy.
Then, when Brigitte was thirteen, her father died suddenly. Three months later, her mother married Lucien. “Consider yourself lucky. Not many men are willing to be a papa to a grown girl like you. You better be nice to him.”
Brigitte was filled with anger, betrayed by her mother’s indifference. One night, when Brigitte was alone in the house with her stepfather, she awakened to a pair of rough hands moving over her body. “This will be our little secret,” Lucien told her when she opened her eyes. “If you even think of telling anyone, I’ll kill you,” he said. Then he raped her.
Her mother worked the evening shift as a barmaid at a club down the street, and for the next three years, it became a nightly ritual for Lucien to stop in for une petite caresse, as he called it. Every night he gave her the same warning. “You tell anyone and you’re dead.” Sometimes he went into gruesome details of what he would do to her if she ever told. Brigitte believed him. So, she kept her mouth shut.
Once, she was the top student in her class. Her grades began to slide until she was close to failing. She slept at her friends’ flats whenever she could. At home, she was silent and withdrawn. Her mother barely noticed.
“What’s the matter with you?” Colette asked. “Get your act together. You keep it up and you’ll be kicked out of school.”
One night while Lucien was in her bed and forcing himself on Brigitte, the bedroom door flew open. Her mother stood in the entrance, an expression of horror on her face. Lucien jumped up and fumbled with his trousers. “It’s the girl’s fault,” he said, his voice coming in halting breaths. “How’s a man supposed to resist? She’s always coming on to me. As soon as you leave in the evening, she takes off her camisole and lets me see her body. Colette, you’ve got to stop her, she’s trying to break us up!”
“Get out!” Colette shouted, and her voice was like ice. The girl sobbed in relief. At last, her ordeal was over. She would never have to see her stepfather again. “You’re no daughter of mine. Get out you putain.”
In shock, Brigitte realized her mother was speaking to her. She had lost! Lucien had won! She dressed as quickly as she could, threw a few of her things into a pillowcase, and slipped silently down the hall to the closet where her mother kept her purse. Sorry, but I’ll need this more than you will. She took all the cash she found. Then she left.
Two days later, a sales-help-wanted sign in a store window caught her eye.