Ringmaster Read online Brianna Hale

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Angst, Contemporary, Romance Tags Authors:
Total pages in book: 86
Estimated words: 80932 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 405(@200wpm)___ 324(@250wpm)___ 270(@300wpm)
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Read Online Books/Novels:

Ringmaster

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Brianna Hale

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
B087765K55
Book Information:

Cale has the circus in his blood. As ringmaster and owner of Meriful’s Traveling Circus, his world is the arena, the spectacle and the heat of the spotlight. He looks out for his ragtag troupe of performers as if they’re his family, because after tragedy struck, they are.

Ryah’s been battered and bruised by life and is ready to give up. Then Cale finds her, and she runs away to join Meriful’s Traveling Circus and becomes the horseback acrobatics star she’s always dreamed of being.

What ultimately calls to her is Cale’s dangerous knife-throwing act, and the thrill of putting her life in his hands. Soon, she doesn’t want to be just part of his act. Cale’s doing his best to resist the fragile eighteen-year-old. He’s the ringmaster, but lately he’s been wondering… Who’s running rings around who?
Books by Author:

Brianna Hale



Playlist

In the House, In a Heartbeat—John Murphy

lovely—Billie Eilish

Happy—Marina and the Diamonds

Magic—Ladyhawke

The Greatest—Sia

Little Sister—Queens of the Stone Age

Last Of The Real Ones—Fallout Boy

On the Nature of Daylight—Max Richter

Stay—Rihanna

Your Arms Around Me—Jens Lekman

Young Melody—PNAU

https://spoti.fi/2VK9bcd or search “Ringmaster” on Spotify

Damn everything but the circus!

E. E. CUMMINGS

Prologue

Cale

Yorkshire, England

The police officer regards me solemnly, and then turns to Mum and Dad. “It’s better if your son waits outside.”

I stare between the uniformed cops and my parents, feet rooted to the living room carpet. They’ve come with news about Mirrie, and I want to hear it. My sister’s been missing for two days. No one’s seen her since she left her job at the supermarket in the next village over on Wednesday evening.

Mum comes over to me, her eyes watery and strained. “Do as the officer says, sweetheart.” She barely looks at me as she puts her hands on my shoulders and steers me out into the hallway. I look desperately to Dad, but he’s too focused on the cops to notice what’s happening to me. His face is gray and slack, his dark brown eyes as droopy as a hound dog’s.

None of us have slept since Mirrie didn’t come home, and we’ve barely eaten. We just want Mirrie.

“Just for a few minutes, lad,” the other officer, a woman, says. Her lips are pressed tightly together, and when I meet her eyes they slide away from me. A cold lump of dread fills my belly, and Mum shuts the door in my face.

I press my ear against the wood, but their voices are muffled. As fast as I can, I run out back through the kitchen door and step quickly and quietly through the flower beds until I’m crouched beneath the open living room window.

The female officer is speaking. “…body found up on Red Hill. We believe it’s your daughter.”

There’s a long, animal cry. It takes a moment for me to realize that it’s Dad.

Mum talks over the sound, shrill and defiant. “But it can’t be Mirrie! Why would you think it’s her?”

Exactly, I think fiercely. You don’t know her. We know her. My big sister is fourteen years old and she’s got the longest, softest black hair that you’ve ever seen. She lets me watch Pinky and the Brain and South Park even though she thinks they’re dumb and she’d rather switch the channel to music videos. She makes the best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted, even better than Mum’s. And she wouldn’t have gone up on Red Hill. Not alone at night in November when it’s dark and cold.

“There was a red anorak at the scene, matching the one you described.”

“What about the rest of her clothes?” Mum asks, ready to do battle over details and prove that Mirrie’s fine, Mirrie’s just late, Mirrie’s not the body on Red Hill, which is four miles from here and on the opposite side of the village to her bus stop.

There’s a pause. The male police officer says, “There were no other clothes found at the scene.”

My father speaks for the first time today, his voice thick and confused. “She was…naked?”

It’s not Mirrie, Dad, I think impatiently. Just some other poor girl. Mirrie wouldn’t get naked in the woods. Not in the summer, and especially not in November. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it must mean something to Dad, because he starts to sob.

“Not my little girl. Not Mirrie.”

“There was this as well,” the female officer says, and I hear the crinkle of a plastic bag.

There’s a short silence, and then Mum starts to cry brokenly. I grip the knees of my jeans, wanting to leap up and see for myself what the officers have shown her.

“George, look. The pony. The tennis racket. The ballet shoes.”

I stuff my fist in my mouth and bite down hard. The theater masks. The oak leaf. The squirrel. I know what’s in the bag. It’s Mirrie’s silver charm bracelet. All her favorite things.

“How…” Mum begins, but then she’s crying too hard to speak. I slump against the dahlias, tears running down my face.

Mum takes a shuddering breath. “How did she…did she suffer?”

The male officer clears his throat. He speaks gently, as if what he has to say might be easier to hear that way. “It appears that she was strangled. The anorak cords were wrapped around her throat. We’ll need you to come down to the station to formally identify her.”

“And she’d been…this monster had…”

There’s a short silence, and then the officer says, “She seems to have been sexually assaulted.”

But assault is when you hurt someone, and sex is something grown-ups do with what’s between their legs. I don’t understand. Whoever killed her, did they hurt Mirrie between her legs? Did they use what’s between their legs to hurt her? Is that why they took all her clothes off? But why would someone do that? And if they had to do that, why couldn’t they have let Mirrie come home afterwards?

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