Walls of Ainsley
by S.J. Lynn Walls of Ainsley #1
Publication Date: November 10, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romantic Psychological Thriller
Read for FREE in KindleUnlimited: Amazon
Brigham Ainsley is the son of the most notorious mass murderer in Surrey, England. The Ainsleys built this orphanage decades ago. Considered odd and eccentric for their time, the family remained secluded, shutting out the world. It is believed Brigham’s father, Allister, finally snapped, killing the children and family at his mercy.
Scarlet, a fresh out of college journalist, knows there’s an untold story here and sets off to England to hopefully guarantee her career working for the top magazine company located in San Francisco. It isn’t long before the locals tell her to turn around. They say Brigham could still be alive—or he’s dead and haunts the place. It isn’t long before Scarlet finds out which story is true.
***Note from Author: Contains cliffhanger. Book 2 “Heart of Ainsley” is out now!***
Nails clawed at his chest until he felt his skin tear open. The scent of fresh blood tickled his senses.
“When you’re numb, you’re done, boy. You know the rule.”
Brigham bent over the table his father used specifically for punishment. His bare bottom was exposed to his father’s all too swift belt.
Caught between hellish nightmare and vivid memory, his subconscious triggered the calming repetition he’d learned long ago. “One, two, three. One, two, three, four, five,” he muttered in his sleep.
The bite and force of the leather no longer registered. Brigham was numb, but he couldn’t find enough air in his lungs to say the words. The only thing that registered was the metallic taste of blood in his mouth from gnawing the inside of his cheek as he ground his teeth harder and harder.
“One, two, three. One, two, three, four, five.”
She was there, watching, but didn’t acknowledge his presence. With his arms stretched wide, his hands clutching the sides of the table, he prepared as he shut his eyes, cutting the tears off like a dry dam, and thought of being anywhere else…anyone else.
Brigham forced his eyes open and bolted upright. His chest, slick with sweat, rose and fell with every quick breath. What on Earth? Despite sleep, an exhausted Brigham rubbed his eyes, swung his legs over the side of the bed, and stared into the pure darkness. There were no windows, no air, no movement. Wait. This wasn’t his bed, his room. Not anymore. Brigham sighed. He hated not knowing where he would wake up in the mornings, but after his eyes came to focus, he saw where he was.
“This is madness. I must stop doing this,” he muttered, running a hand through his already messed up hair and tossing the covers aside in disgust.
Sleepwalking had been a fact of his life for the better part of thirteen years. At least he wasn’t in the pool this time, gasping for air. He wasn’t sure why he randomly woke up here. Couldn’t explain it, even if he tried, and it unsettled him every time.
And his nightmares? He had no idea what they were of or where they came from. When he woke he couldn’t recall a single image, but the terror he felt was always a sure thing.
The air outside the four-by-eight walls washed over his dampened skin, and he felt the familiar stinging sensation.
He walked to a nearby mirror and took in the damage. There, on his chest and up both sides of his neck, sat raised streaks, swollen, bloody, and caused by his own hands. He moved his gaze from his still heaving chest to his face. A man’s face. Every time he saw his reflection, he half-expected his younger self to stare back. It always took a minute for the shock to wear off.
He heard shuffling and knew it was the only other life in the house, his dog Bretta.
Whining, she trotted up beside him and pressed her sweet face into his leg.
He reached down and rubbed between her ears. “Come now, girl. I’m fine. Let’s get out of here.”
With Bretta at his heels, he made it two steps before noticing he was naked. “This won’t do.” Todd could be back from his holiday anytime. Although he’d be surprised if he was home, he wasn’t due back until tomorrow.
He traipsed upstairs, past an old canning room on the ground floor, to his bedroom—his real bedroom—the next floor up.
He threw on some clothes as he stared out the window overlooking the gated front yard of the manor. How dreary.
He remembered flowers. Lots and lots of different blooms bursting with color. That had all been choked out by vines and overrun with weeds. What had once been deemed a respectable orphanage was now a desolate piece of land marred by the passing of his parents over a decade ago.
Nothing a black sky cannot cover, I suppose. He continued watching, fascinated by the trees raging against each other as the wind howled in protest. It looked to be a nasty storm coming, and he was glad he was safe inside.
But then…he never went out.
About S.J. Lynn
S. J. Lynn is a romance author with varying subgenres. She loves creating stories that grab her reader’s attention from beginning to end… Stories that take you right into the world of her characters. Love, hope, loss, betrayal, action, suspense, mystery, thriller… She strives to do it all.
Walls of Ainsley is her latest novel to reach the top 10 in the psychological thriller genre with its sequel “Heart of Ainsley”.
Every story has had a tremendous loving reaction from her readers that fuels her desire to keep on doing what she loves.
Lynn invites you to connect with her on social media where she loves to get to know her fans.