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Holy Island (DCI Ryan Mysteries, #1) by L.J. Ross Read Online (FREE)

Holy Island (DCI Ryan Mysteries, #1) by L.J. Ross Read Online

Read Holy Island (DCI Ryan Mysteries, #1) by L.J. Ross online free here.

 

‘Here within these hills, in this space of ground, is all the world. All anger and vanity and covetousness and lust, yes, and all charity, goodness and sweetness of soul. God and the devil both walk in these fields.’

~ Hugo Walpole

 

PROLOGUE
December 20th

Winter was an unforgiving time on Holy Island. Harsh winds from the North Sea whipped through the cobbled streets and wove through the squat, stone cottages which huddled together as if for warmth. Above the village the Priory loomed, crippled but still standing after a thousand years.

Inside it, Lucy lay shivering, her skin exposed and helpless to temperatures which had fallen well below zero. Now and then her body jerked, a spasm of pain which racked her slim form as she rested beneath a sky that was littered with stars.

She thought that her eyes were open, but couldn’t be sure. It was so dark.

She tried blinking, a monumental effort which exhausted her, but gradually she began to focus. The familiar outline of the Priory took shape, its walls towering around her like black fingers against the ink-blue sky.

The stones provided little shelter and even less comfort. She was shivering badly now, her body reacting to shock and hypothermia.

Why was she here? Her mind tried to penetrate the pain and confusion.

She had been drinking, she remembered suddenly. There was a lingering taste of red wine on her tongue alongside something more metallic.  She swallowed and there was an immediate burning sensation in her throat. She found herself gasping for breath, mouth wide and searching as she drew in panting gulps of cold air. She tried to lift her hands, to ease the burn, but her arms were so heavy.

Why couldn’t she move? Panic gripped her and her fingers began to fumble around for something, anything. The pads of her fingers brushed against solid rock and she tried to feel her way to the edge, the small movement making her nauseous.

“Help!  Help me, please!” Her voice was no more than a breathless rasp. Tears began to leak from her eyes.

She listened for a moment to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore below, deafening against the hush of the evening. She strained to hear other sounds, hoping and praying that her pitiful call might be answered.

Miraculously, she heard the crunch of footsteps approaching.

“Here! I’m here! Please…” she bit her lip hard enough to draw blood. “Please.”

The footsteps maintained their unhurried gait and followed their inevitable path.

A shadow fell above her, the face invisible against the pitch darkness. But she heard the voice.

“I’m sorry, Lucy. You have to believe that.”

Fear and disbelief stilled her restless body. She tried to move towards the sound, to seek out its source, but shook her head in frustration.

Sorry?

Her mind struggled to process the words, to believe her ears.