Ruth Ware The Woman in Cabin 10

ISBN 13: 9780099598237

The Woman in Cabin 10

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9780099598237: The Woman in Cabin 10

THE SUNDAY TIMES & NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From the bestselling author of Richard and Judy pick In A Dark, Dark Wood comes Ruth Ware's new compulsive page-turner. 'Agatha Christie meets The Girl on the Train' The Sun This was meant to be the perfect trip. The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship. A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse. Except things don't go as planned. Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat. Exhausted and emotional, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a mistake - either that, or she is now trapped on a boat with a murderer... 'Agatha Christie meets The Girl on the Train in this stupendously good read... Scary and unsettling, it's' edge-of-your-seat stuff' The Sun 'A rollicking page-turner that reads like Agatha Christie got together with Paula Hawkins to crowdsource a really fun thriller' Stylist 'A tense, moody drama set on a press trip that goes horribly wrong... Ware has produced a fantastic variation on the woman-in-peril theme, with a plucky protagonist and a brilliantly claustrophobic setting' Sunday Times

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About the Author:

Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her first two thrillers, In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, were smash hits and appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times. The film rights to both books have been optioned and she is published in more than 40 languages. Ruth lives near Brighton with her family. Visit www.ruthware.com to find out more.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Woman in Cabin 10

- CHAPTER 1 -

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

The first inkling that something was wrong was waking in darkness to find the cat pawing at my face. I must have forgotten to shut the kitchen door last night. Punishment for coming home drunk.

“Go away,” I groaned. Delilah mewed and butted me with her head. I tried to bury my face in the pillow but she continued rubbing herself against my ear, and eventually I rolled over and heartlessly pushed her off the bed.

She thumped to the floor with an indignant little meep and I pulled the duvet over my head, but even through the covers I could hear her scratching at the bottom of the door, rattling it in its frame.

The door was closed.

I sat up, my heart suddenly thumping, and Delilah leaped onto my bed with a glad little chirrup, but I snatched her to my chest, stilling her movements, listening.

I might well have forgotten to shut the kitchen door, or I could even have knocked it to without closing it properly. But my bedroom door opened outward—a quirk of the weird layout of my flat. There was no way Delilah could have shut herself inside. Someone must have closed it.

I sat, frozen, holding Delilah’s warm, panting body against my chest and trying to listen.

Nothing.

And then, with a gush of relief, it occurred to me—she’d probably been hiding under my bed and I’d shut her inside with me when I came home. I didn’t remember closing my bedroom door, but I might have swung it absently shut behind me when I came in. To be honest, everything from the tube station onwards was a bit of a blur. The headache had started to set in on the journey home, and now that my panic was wearing off, I could feel it starting up again in the base of my skull. I really needed to stop drinking midweek. It had been okay in my twenties, but I just couldn’t shake off the hangovers like I used to.

Delilah began squirming uneasily in my arms, digging her claws into my forearm, and I let her go while I reached for my dressing gown and belted it around myself. Then I scooped her up, ready to sling her out into the kitchen.

But when I opened the bedroom door, there was a man standing there.

There’s no point in wondering what he looked like, because, believe me, I went over it about twenty-five times with the police. “Not even a bit of skin around his wrists?” they kept saying. No, no, and no. He had a hoodie on, and a bandanna around his nose and mouth, and everything else was in shadow. Except for his hands.

On these he was wearing latex gloves. It was that detail that scared the shit out of me. Those gloves said, “I know what I’m doing.” They said, “I’ve come prepared.” They said, “I might be after more than your money.”

We stood there for a long second, facing each other, his shining eyes locked on to mine.

About a thousand thoughts raced through my mind: Where the hell is my phone? Why did I drink so much last night? I would have heard him come in if I’d been sober. Oh Christ, I wish Judah was here.

And most of all—those gloves. Oh my God, those gloves. They were so professional. So clinical.

I didn’t speak. I didn’t move. I just stood there, my ratty dressing gown gaping, and I shook. Delilah wriggled out of my unresisting hands and shot away up the hallway to the kitchen, and I just stood there, shaking.

Please, I thought. Please don’t hurt me.

Oh God, where was my phone?

Then I saw something in the man’s hands. My handbag—my new Burberry handbag, although that detail seemed monumentally unimportant. There was only one thing that mattered about that bag. My mobile was inside.

His eyes crinkled in a way that made me think he might be smiling beneath the bandanna, and I felt the blood drain from my head and my fingers, pooling in the core of my body, ready to fight or flee, whichever it had to be.

He took a step forwards.

“No . . .” I said. I wanted it to sound like a command, but it came out like a plea—my voice small and squeaky and quavering pathetically with fear. “N—”

But I didn’t even get to finish. He slammed the bedroom door in my face, hitting my cheek.

For a long moment I stood, frozen, holding my hand to my face, speechless with the shock and pain. My fingers felt ice-cold, but there was something warm and wet on my face, and it took a moment for me to realize it was blood, that the molding on the door had cut my cheek.

I wanted to run back to bed, to shove my head under the pillows and cry and cry. But a small, ugly voice in my skull kept saying, He’s still out there. What if he comes back? What if he comes back for you?

There was a sound from out in the hall, something falling, and I felt a rush of fear that should have galvanized me but instead paralyzed me. Don’t come back. Don’t come back. I realized I was holding my breath, and I made myself exhale, long and shuddering, and then slowly, slowly, I forced my hand out towards the door.

There was another crash in the hallway outside, breaking glass, and with a rush I grabbed the knob and braced myself, my bare toes dug into the old, gappy floorboards, ready to hold the door closed as long as I could. I crouched there, against the door, hunched over with my knees to my chest, and I tried to muffle my sobs with my dressing gown while I listened to him ransacking the flat and hoped to God that Delilah had run out into the garden, out of harm’s way.

At last, after a long time, I heard the front door open and shut, and I sat there, crying into my knees and unable to believe he’d really gone. That he wasn’t coming back to hurt me. My hands felt numb and painfully stiff, but I didn’t dare let go of the handle.

I saw again those strong hands in the pale latex gloves.

I don’t know what would have happened next. Maybe I would have stayed there all night, unable to move. But then I heard Delilah outside, mewing and scratching at the other side of the door.

“Delilah,” I said hoarsely. My voice was trembling so much I hardly sounded like myself. “Oh, Delilah.”

Through the door I heard her purr, the familiar, deep, chainsaw rasp, and it was like a spell had been broken.

I let my cramped fingers loosen from the doorknob, flexing them painfully, and then stood up, trying to steady my trembling legs, and turned the door handle.

It turned. In fact it turned too easily, twisting without resistance under my hand, without moving the latch an inch. He’d removed the spindle from the other side.

Fuck.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I was trapped.

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