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Groomed: Part 1 of 3: Danger lies closer than you think

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Groomed: Part 1 of 3: Danger lies closer than you think
Casey Watson

It’s late on Friday night when Casey’s mobile starts to ring. She is expecting it to be her daughter Riley. But it isn’t Riley. It’s a woman from the Emergency Duty Team. So begins Casey and Mike’s latest fostering challenge – a fifteen-year-old girl called Keeley who’s run away from her long-term foster home 25 miles away.The Jonathan Ross Show has just started when Casey gets the call. She thinks it will be Riley – telling her that her favourite actor is going to be on TV. But it’s something far more urgent: a fifteen-year-old girl who has run away from her foster family and accused her foster father of sexual abuse. The family deny in vehemently, but such an allegation can never be taken lightly, so a new home must be found for Keeley.Keeley is polite, but she’s sharp, and she has all the hallmarks of a child who has been in the system a long time, and knows how to play it. Whether the allegation is true or not, Casey knows there will be no winners here. If it is true, then a young girl’s life has been torn asunder. If not, then the heartache for the family will only be surpassed by the bleak outlook for Keeley.In the short term, it’s a case of providing a safe, supportive home for a vulnerable child. But with the dangerous world of the internet at her disposal, it seems this strong-minded youngster has her own ideas of where that safe place should be…

(#u2af0d089-7089-57dc-a051-443c41254c16)

Copyright (#u2af0d089-7089-57dc-a051-443c41254c16)

This book is a work of non-fiction based on the author’s experiences. In order to protect privacy, names, identifying characteristics, dialogue and details have been changed or reconstructed.

HarperElement

An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published by HarperElement 2017

FIRST EDITION

© Casey Watson 2017

A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library

Cover image © Jan Bickerton (posed by model)

Cover layout © HarperCollinsPublishers 2017

Casey Watson asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Find out about HarperCollins and the environment at

www.harpercollins.co.uk/green (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/green)

Source ISBN: 9780008127600

Ebook Edition © September 2017 ISBN: 9780008217631

Version: 2017-08-18

Contents

Cover (#u958ffc18-ee74-53c7-934a-99be307b41c7)

Title Page (#u0e8b9b8d-e955-5964-bb9a-ae6e426f30c4)

Copyright (#ufafc3e41-c784-5c42-8e8c-809421b8b724)

Dedication (#ubb7f6197-ad0e-501c-98b8-d848c3f0ebb1)

Acknowledgements (#u576b4a27-2b0c-5cd0-aee1-779816e6ef0e)

Chapter 1 (#u5038a5bf-4dfb-55e5-babc-170538f3bc40)

Chapter 2 (#uede05769-c3a4-5009-ac11-c1d65d3e0a53)

Chapter 3 (#u3f724997-614b-56f0-985a-d323ef91e0f7)

Chapter 4 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 5 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 6 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 7 (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 8 (#litres_trial_promo)

Moving Memoirs eNewsletter (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

Dedication (#u2af0d089-7089-57dc-a051-443c41254c16)

This book is dedicated to the army of passionate foster carers out there, each doing their bit to ensure that our children are kept as safe as possible in such a changing and often scary world. As technology is reinvented and becomes ever more complicated for those of us who were not brought up amid such advances, we can only try to keep up, in the hope that we continue to learn alongside our young people.

Acknowledgements (#u2af0d089-7089-57dc-a051-443c41254c16)

I remain endlessly grateful to my team at HarperCollins for their continuing support, and I’m especially excited to see the return of my editor, the very lovely Vicky Eribo, and look forward to sharing my new stories with her. As always, nothing would be possible without my wonderful agent, Andrew Lownie, the very best agent in the world in my opinion, and my grateful thanks also to the lovely Lynne, my friend and mentor forever.

Chapter 1 (#u2af0d089-7089-57dc-a051-443c41254c16)

Mid-September. To me, always a melancholy time of year. Summer clinging on in bursts, the sun still trying to keep the air warm – but undermined by the chill creep of autumn once it sets, increasingly bullying its way into its rightful place.

I try to like autumn, what with the spectacular colours and all those lovely piles of crispy leaves. But it’s not my favourite. In fact it’s my least favourite season; sandwiched as it is between summer and Christmas, which isn’t a season but, to my mind, ought to be. It always seems to take much too long to arrive and, once it does arrive, is always over much too quickly.

Still, autumn has a plus point, and that’s the telly. And amid a slew of programmes that had returned from their summer break was the Saturday night ritual of The Jonathan Ross Show, a family favourite since way back when. Which was why, when my mobile buzzed, given the day and the timing, I thought it must be Riley who was calling.

Mike laughed. ‘She knows you so well,’ he said, chuckling, as I got off the sofa to go and fetch it. ‘Heaven forbid you miss lover-boy.’

He was referring to the actor James McAvoy, who was one of the guests that night, and of course he was absolutely right.

‘Cheek,’ I called back to him as I disappeared into the kitchen. ‘I just happen to think he’s a particularly fine actor.’

‘Course you do,’ he answered as I reappeared in the doorway. ‘Just like I admire Fiona Bruce for her brilliant journalism.’

But by this time I already knew that it wasn’t Riley calling. The display on the phone said no number ID. Perhaps it was James McAvoy declaring his undying devotion.

It wasn’t.

‘Hello, is that Mrs Watson?’ asked a female voice. ‘Casey Watson?’ I told her yes. ‘Ah, good,’ she said. ‘Helena Curry here. EDT. Very glad to have managed to get hold of you. Am I right in thinking you might be available and free at the moment?’

I gestured with my hand that Mike should pause the TV. ‘Yes,’ I told her. ‘We don’t have anyone else in at the moment. Well, apart from our long-term foster son, of course.’

‘Tyler,’ she supplied, before I could. She’d done her homework.

Not that we thought of Tyler in that way any more. He was our permanent foster child these days, and just as he called us mum and dad, so the ‘foster’ tag had long since disappeared from the ‘son’ bit, at least in our heads.

With football training in the morning, Tyler was already up in his bedroom, having just gone up to catch up with one of his favourite crime programmes on his new laptop – the surprise sixteenth birthday present we’d presented him a couple of weeks back. To say he was pleased would be the understatement of the year. If not the century.

But it looked like our own viewing plans were about to be scuppered, EDT being short for emergency duty team, the go-to people for any child who was placed into local authority care out of office hours.

Not that this child – or rather teenager – had just come into care. Helena Curry went on to explain that the girl, whose name was Keeley and who was fifteen years old, had actually been in care since she was ten. ‘She’s run away from her foster family, basically,’ she said. Her voice sounded tired. ‘Was picked up by the police a couple of hours ago.’
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