Damaged – Jacinta’s Story
Jacinta’s story takes place seven years after the day Brooke and Logan Cavanagh saved her from the violent clutches of her father. Her mother has now remarried and Jacinta has a new step-brother, Connor, whom she is adores.
After Jacinta’s step-brother Connor moves to Sydney, she decides to move back there to live with him.
She is still so damaged from her violent past that, at twenty years of age, she has never had a serious boyfriend, and is still a virgin. So her best friend, Cassie, convinces her to have a one-night-stand with a stranger before her 21st birthday.
The next day, Jacinta is surprised to find she is actually upset that she will never see him again, but would not take back the memories of that night for anything. She also feels that she is way too damaged to ever have a serious relationship anyway.
Unbeknownst to her, their paths will cross again. Will the attraction she felt that night still be there? Or will she regret it ever happened?
Mason doesn’t do relationships…ever. He has sex with random women, often. When he meets Jacinta though, things change. He finds there is a deep connection between them that he just can’t explain.
When she does something that not only leaves him feeling crushed, but extremely pissed, he is left feeling lost. He doesn’t even know her real name and has no way of finding her.
But when fate brings them together again, will he be able to forgive her for what she did? Or will he forget about that one night they spent together and go back to his playboy ways?
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Excerpt - Prologue for Damaged.
I followed my mum through the front door. She’d just picked me up from school. I love this time of day—it’s my calm before the storm, so to speak. These few hours in the afternoon that I spend with her, are the best. That’s the only time I ever feel safe in my own home. It’s also the only time my mum and I can be ourselves. Everything changes around 5:00 p.m.; that’s the time my father comes home from work.
I’m sitting at the table doing my homework. I chat and laugh with my mum, while she cooks our dinner. These are the only times I ever see her smile. She’s a totally different person when my father’s not home. She’s always a nervous wreck, but it escalates when he’s around.
My father acts like he hates us. I can assure you the feeling is mutual. I’ve never understood why he doesn’t love me. I try my best to be a good girl, but nothing I do is ever good enough for him. I remember praying when I was little that something would happen to him on his way home from work. That sounds terrible I know, but I truly wished for that. My father is cruel, he’s always hurting me and my mum.
Suddenly I hear, “Bang” as the front door slams shut. My mother and I both jump, because we know what’s coming. I hate the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach, whenever he comes home from work.
I look up at my mum from where I’m sitting. The easy-going woman I saw a few minutes ago has vanished. Her hands are shaking violently as she stirs the sauce on the stove. The look on her face breaks my heart, because now she looks terrified. I wish I could protect her from him, but she never lets me. She’s scared that he will hurt me again. He’s lashed out at me a few times over the years when I’ve tried to come to her aid.
She quickly motions with her eyes for me to leave the room; that’s our secret code. It means that shit’s about to go down. She’d told me years ago, whenever she gives me that signal, I’m to go straight to my bedroom and lock myself inside. I’m not allowed to come out under any circumstances. No matter what I hear, or how scared I am, I have to stay there until she comes to get me.
The waiting is torture. This has been my life for the last thirteen years. I truly hate living here with that man. Come to think about it, I actually hate all men. They’re horrible, mean and cruel. I don’t trust them—at all!
I’m never, ever getting married. I’m not even gonna have a boyfriend.
Once I’m in the safety of my room, I make my way over to the corner beside my bed. I always go to the same corner. I’m not sure why, maybe because it’s the one furthest from the door. I sit down and, like so many times before, I pull my legs up against my chest. I wrap my arms tightly around my knees, drop my head and rock back and forth. I can’t tell you why I rock like this, because I don’t know the answer. It comforts me somehow.
I hear what sounds like someone being slapped. He’s hit mum so many times before, the sound is firmly embedded in my brain. That’s followed by something metal clanging on the floor. It’s probably the spoon my mother had been holding in her hand. I want to put my hands over my ears so I can’t hear them, but I don’t. I never do. It would make it so much easier for me if I didn’t have to hear him hitting her. But I have to listen, it seems like I don’t have a choice. What if my mum calls out to me? What if she needs me to save her?
“You fucking stupid, lazy, good for nothing bitch!” he screams. “You can’t even cut the grass properly, you useless piece of shit.” Then I hear, “Slap…Slap” again, followed by my mum whimpering.
“I’m sorry, please don’t hurt me,” she cries out. It breaks my heart when she begs like that. I wish I was stronger. I want to hurt him, like he hurts us.
Thoughts flood my memory when he mentions not cutting the grass properly. The trouble had begun yesterday afternoon. My mum had been mowing the lawn when the lawnmower broke down. She was terrified. How would she tell him?
Her body trembled violently when she had to approach him and explain what had happened. She always lowers her head when she speaks to him. I don’t know if it’s because she’s scared to look at him, because she doesn’t want to see what we both know is coming or, she doesn’t want to see the hatred he has for her.
Whack! It had earned her a backhand, followed by a few more slaps to the side of the head. It wasn’t her fault the lawn mower had broken down, that never mattered to him.
He didn’t speak much during dinner last night, but I could see he was fuming. I knew in my gut it wasn’t the end of it. Later, while mum was doing the dishes, he snapped again. He’d been outside trying to fix the mower and when he couldn’t, he came back inside to take his frustration out on her.
He grabbed a pair of scissors out of the drawer in the kitchen before he stalked over to my mum. He grabbed a chunk of her long blonde hair and tugged on it, hard. She stumbled as she was dragged towards the back door. She remained quiet. I could tell she was terrified. She’d learnt a long time ago to never fight back. Never! It only makes him rage more.
The fear in mum’s eyes makes my heart hurt. The tears are already streaming down her beautiful face and as she passes me, the signal is clear. Go to your room, stay safe. I can’t move though. The terror running through my tiny body keeps me planted to the chair. My eyes are drawn to the scissors in my father’s hand. Will today be the day? The day he finally goes too far and actually kills her.
She stumbled again as he dragged her down the back steps, her legs grazing the wooden treads. She tried to regain her footing and stand up. He didn’t give her a chance. He continued to drag her across the yard by her hair. Bastard! I willed my body to move and when it eventually responded, I hadn’t gone to my room straight away. I needed to know mum was going to be okay. I was petrified he was going to use the scissors to stab her.
My body trembled, my arms wrapped around my waist protectively as I continued to watch on in horror through the kitchen window.
He threw her to the ground before kicking her in the stomach. She instinctively put her hands up to protect her face. It was the only thing she could do. His boot kicked her viciously in the leg, before he threw the scissors down beside her.
“Cut the grass by hand you dumb, fucking whore,” he yelled. He struck again with his boot, mum yelped and screwed up her face. She’d been hurt, bad.
He stood, hands on hips, legs spread apart. He was intimidating her. She folded herself into a ball on the ground. His intimidation always works. He’s a bully and the bastard knows we are both petrified of him. The sick, perverse monster that he is seems to revel in the fact he can terrify us both. I can always tell by the sadistic smile plastered all over his evil face as he hurts us.
Mum unfolded herself and reached for the scissors. Her hands shook so much, she couldn’t grasp them. The evil dick then stomped on her hand, hard. A tortured cry of pain escaped her lips before she had finally managed to pick them up.
I hate him so much!
My mum wiped away the blood that flowed from her nose with the back of her hand, pulled herself onto her knees and began cutting the grass. Tears cascaded over my cheeks as I watched her. He’d stood there, a cruel smile curling his lips, before turning around and coming back inside. As he approached the house, I dashed to my room and locked the door.
I desperately wanted to go outside and help my mum but I knew she wouldn’t want that. It would have sparked his rage, seeing me help. She’s told me, she can take the beatings, as long as he leaves me alone. Sometimes though, I wish my father would hit me more, just so she could have a break from it. I know it would be her worst nightmare come true if that was to happen though.
I’d laid awake in bed for hours, listening and waiting for her to come inside. I finally heard the back door close with a familiar click and my mum’s footsteps walking down the hall towards her bedroom. I glanced at the clock on my bedside table. It was 2:00 a.m. My poor mum had been cutting the grass, with scissors, for nearly eight hours.
“I love you mummy,” I whisper into the dark. I know she can’t hear me, but I feel compelled to say it. I need her to know that someone loves her, and somebody cares.
Because I do—so, so much.
What happened last night has to be the reason why mum’s receiving a beating right now. My father’s obviously unhappy with the way she cut the grass. He’ll justify her beatings in any way he can. The man is insane!
She had been forced to use a pair of scissors, for Christ sake! It had been dark outside. How can you possibly cut the lawn perfectly, with a pair of scissors in the damn dark? He’s such an arsehole. I hate him so much.
In his mind, there is always an excuse for his psychotic behaviour. “My dinner is too hot.” Slap. “My dinner is not hot enough.” Slap. “The gravy you made tastes like shit.” Slap. “My shirt smells like fucking flowers.” Slap. “I had a bad day at work and it’s all your fault.” Slap.
Always an excuse, no matter what she does. She tries so hard to ensure everything’s perfect, to try and keep him happy. It’s a waste of time, nothing she does is ever good enough in his eyes.
He’s a monster!
I rock back and forth in my bedroom. Things are smashing as my father screams at her. The only sounds from mum are cries of pain. This beating is bad, they don’t usually last this long. The sound of things shattering filters into my room. That bastard must be throwing her around the house!
I can’t bear it any longer. I slide my hand under the mattress and retrieve the phone I’ve hidden there. It’s the one Brooke, my dance teacher, gave me to use in case of an emergency. Before I get a chance to call her, everything goes quiet. I listen…silence. I hear the front door slam. Relief floods through my body.
Finally, it’s over! I begin to relax.
He always slams the front door as he leaves the house, it indicates the beating is over, for now anyway. He leaves for a few hours once he’s done with her. Unfortunately, he always returns, reeking of alcohol. I asked my mum once where he went after he hit her.
She said, “I think he goes to the pub to have a few drinks and calm down.”
I wish he’d drink so much that it killed him.
I wait quietly. Mum will come and get me. I am tempted to rush from my room. Every fibre in my being wants to go to her, but she’s told me over and over, never leave until I come for you. She will only come and get me when it’s safe for me to come out.
I sit there impatiently, waiting for her. She doesn’t come. My mind starts to race, all sorts of images flash through my mind. What if she can’t come to me? Maybe this time my father has killed her. I jump from the floor and dash to the door.
This time I don’t hesitate. I unlock my door and peer out. Nothing, no-one. My hands are shaking as I step into the hallway. I freeze for a few seconds, listening…still nothing. Panic sets in as I run down the hall. I round the corner to the lounge room and see her, my heart skips a beat.
She is lying, crumpled on the floor. Blood is flowing down the side of her face and into her beautiful blonde hair. She’s not moving. My heart is thundering in my ears, I struggle to remain calm as I step tentatively towards her. My body is trembling with fear.
“Mum,” I call out as I drop to my knees beside her. Nothing. Why isn’t she moving? Why won’t she answer? Tears burn my eyes.
Blood flows from her nose and mouth. Her beautiful face is already swollen and the bruises are starting to show. I shake her softly.
“Mum wake up,” I cry. I’m desperate to know she isn’t dead. She lays there, motionless. I drag my eyes over her battered body as the tears stream down my face. “Mum, please wake up,” I beg. “Please mum, don’t leave me here by myself,” I plead. “Please mummy…Please, I need you.” I’m hysterical now. “Mum…Mummy, please open your eyes.”
I stand slowly. I need to hurry to my room and get my phone. I have to call Brooke, I don’t know what else to do and I need to do something.
I hear a male’s voice calling my name. It sounds far away. I feel a hand grab my arm. Panic sets in. I begin thrashing.
“Jaz…Jaz wake up. You’re having another nightmare,” he says.
I recognise that voice immediately. I know I’m safe. I open my eyes…
J L Perry is a mother and a wife. She was born in Sydney, Australia in 1972, and has lived there her whole life. Her love of reading, from a young age, gave her the passion to write. My Destiny was originally written for her sister, in 2013. It was never intended to be published. However, after finishing this book, she felt there was still a lot of Brooke and Logan's story left to tell. This inspired her to write My Forever. With the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided to follow her dream and become a published Author.
That dream was realised on the 6th of June, 2014.
My Destiny is her debut novel in the Destiny Series. My Forever is the conclusion to this book. Her third book Damaged - Jacinta's Story was released on October 15th, 2014. This is a stand alone book, but is based on a character in My Forever. Her fourth book Against All Odds, is also a stand alone book. It will be released early 2015. She is also currently writing a fifth book, Loving you. It will be available mid 2015.
J L's love of romance and happy endings makes a perfect combination when it comes to writing her beautiful love stories.
Her hobbies include reading, writing, drinking wine, shopping, listening to music, cake decorating and anything artistic or creative. She loves spending time with her family, friends and pets when she isn't writing. She also loves being outdoors and travelling and exploring the world.
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