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Sentenced to the Nursery by Carole Archer – Sample

Chapter One

Sentenced to the NurseryOblivious to the numerous pedestrians swerving to avoid her, Tamara Templeton-Smythe sauntered along the busy street. She was deaf to commuters’ curses as they slowed down to dodge around her.

Her red stiletto heels, which added a much needed six inches to her height of just under five feet, clicked on the sidewalk. Shapely hips swung from side to side in a tiny silver miniskirt. A young boy wolf-whistled as she passed, and her ears instantly tuned in to that sound. Turning her head, she grinned in his direction, carelessly tossing her long blond braid over her shoulder as she continued on her way. Wrapped up in her own little bubble, she didn’t notice that she almost struck a passer-by in the face with her hair.

Her heavily mascaraed eyes remained glued to the top of the range handheld PC she carried—a present from her parents for her recent nineteenth birthday—as she continued to saunter along the busy London thoroughfare.

Stepping into the road, she was unaware of the cyclist who swerved to avoid her, falling off his bike in the process. Nor did she notice the pedestrians who ran to his assistance. Mindless of the chaos around her, she continued to chat through online messenger with her best friend Amelia. They were making plans for the night ahead, when they were to attend a concert. Tamara had just bought a white micro mini dress with a heavily sequinned bodice. It had cost a few thousand pounds, but as she’d just told Amelia, her father could afford it.

Whilst others were tightening their belts as they approached the twenty-second century, struggling their way through the latest double dip recession, Tamara’s father had invested well and they had been largely unaffected. Not that she was aware of his investments. She just knew that the steady stream of cash which had always been available to herself and her mother was still there. She saw absolutely no reason for that to change.

“Hey, watch where you’re going,” a man snapped, gripping her arm. Pulling away, she looked him up and down. “Go screw yourself,” she cursed, shoving him. She paused only to glance at her long, bright red nails. Scowling, she decided she was due an appointment at the salon.

Multitasking as she walked, she continued to chat with Amelia while booking an appointment for a manicure, at the same time messaging instructions to her parents’ housekeeper.

Clicking on the messenger icon that linked to the housekeeper’s personal device, Tamara grinned as she keyed in a message. “I’ll be home at five p.m. prompt. Have my bath filled, and prepare a tray of champagne and nibbles.” Sighing, she pictured herself soaking in the hot, bubble-filled tub, a glass of Dom Perignon in one hand and a canape in the other, scented candles burning all around her.

The blast of a car horn, accompanied by a screech of brakes, startled Tamara. She stopped abruptly. Strong hands gripped her upper arms and she felt herself being yanked backwards. Her eyes widened as she focused on the car looming toward her. Just in time, she was pulled out of its path. Letting out a frustrated scream, she watched as her PC fell from her hands, hit the road, and bounced forward. She cursed as it was crushed under the wheel of the vehicle, which lurched onward for a few feet before eventually stopping.

“You bloody fool,” she screamed, as the elderly driver leapt from his car. His face was ashen. Taking a step back from the small but fiery female, he asked, “Are you okay?”

“Do I look okay, you imbecile? You almost killed me. And look what you’ve done,” she yelled, pointing to the road where the remnants of her ruined PC lay.

“Young lady!” The stern voice came from behind her. Shrugging off the hands still holding her upper arms, she spun round, coming face to face with a grim-faced police officer. “Get your hands off me,” she shrieked. “You’ll be sorry when I tell my father, Lord Templeton-Smythe,” she added primly. “He’ll have your badge when I tell him you dared to manhandle me in the street. And as for you,” she said, whirling back toward the driver and pointing aggressively. Her long blond hair whipped around, landing over her shoulder as the officer stepped back to avoid being struck by the thick braid.

The elderly motorist edged further away, his startled blue eyes blinking rapidly. “My father will see to it that you’re never allowed behind the wheel of a car ever again. You’re a damn menace to society.”

“Excuse me, miss,” the officer said, taking a firm grip on her wrist. “This gentleman was not at fault. Had you been watching where you were going, you would not have stepped into the road and…”

Tamara’s hazel eyes widened and she shook her head. The movement caused her braid to dance against her chest. “How dare you try to shift the blame onto me? If that fool had been paying attention…”

“Miss Templeton-Smythe,” the officer said, offering a small smile. “There’s been no real harm done. Your PC is replaceable. At least you weren’t hurt. Maybe you’ll be a little more careful in future. I can see you’re in shock, so I’ll make allowance for your behaviour.”

Tamara’s jaw dropped as she looked the officer up and down with disgust. “My behaviour? How dare you question my behaviour?” Insult dripped from every word. “What about your behaviour? You assaulted me. Don’t think you’ll get away with that.” Glancing down at the officer’s long fingers curled around her wrist, she yanked her hand free. With a look of utter disgust, she reached out and shoved him hard with both hands to his chest. “Keep your filthy hands to yourself,” she spat.

“I’ve had just about enough of you,” the officer replied, stepping toward her. “I’ve never seen such disrespect from a so-called young lady. Most people have the highest regard for the law these days. You calm down right now or I’m going to arrest you for violation of pedestrian safety laws. I’m sure your father won’t be pleased if he has to pay a hefty fine to secure your release.”

“Money is no problem,” she said, screwing up her nose as she looked down, her eyes drawn to the police officer’s scuffed boots. “He sees to it that I want for absolutely nothing.”

“Well, it’s a real shame he didn’t teach you any manners.”

“How dare you insult my father,” she shouted. “He’s worth a million of you.” Drawing her arm back, Tamara slapped the officer hard across the face. Spinning round, she glared at the crowd that had gathered around them, many filming the scene on mobile devices. She was about to vent her anger on the onlookers, but her arm was grasped and twisted up her back by the officer. “That’s it, you brat,” he said, steering her toward the stationary car.

“Help!” she yelled. “Help me! Police brutality.” The elderly driver looked on in amazement as a furious Tamara was forced face down over the front of his car. She squirmed frantically, her legs kicking out.

“Stop struggling,” the officer scolded. She screeched as his leather-gloved hand smacked down smartly on her squirming behind. Temporarily stunned, the sting in her buttock being the first discipline she had experienced in her young life, Tamara froze. The brief respite allowed the officer to snap his handcuffs onto her wrists.

“Right, missy, let’s see if a few hours in a cell will calm you down. I’ll contact your father and tell him you need a solicitor. I’m arresting you, firstly for violation of pedestrian safety laws, and secondly for assaulting a police officer. You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Tamara stomped her feet and tried to pull free of the restraints as the officer continued to recite the caution to her. She scowled at the cameras aimed on her, but after a flash of inspiration, decided to use them to her advantage. “Police brutality,” she claimed once more, screaming as she was guided into the back of a police van and secured into a small cage. “Help me!” Her eyes blazed with anger as smirking onlookers continued to film her. To her dismay, not one of them stepped to her assistance.

Tamara sighed as the door of the police vehicle was slammed shut. This was a major inconvenience, but her father would sort things out. He would see to it that she was home in time to get ready for her night out.

Two hours later, an angry Tamara finally saw her father. “You took your time,” she fumed, glaring at him as she balanced precariously on the single bed in her cell. She had been reluctant to sit down at first. Heaven knows who had been in the bed before her, but after pacing the cell for around half an hour, she reluctantly perched on the edge. “Get me out of here now,” she demanded.

Rising from the bed, she marched the few steps across to the bars of the cell, grasped and rattled them firmly. Frustrated, she scowled at him. She got her small stature from him, but thanked her lucky stars she didn’t inherit his ginger hair. “I can’t believe you took so long. I’m going out with Amelia tonight. I’ve already missed my appointment at the nail salon. And that idiot policeman snapped one of my nails when he brutalised me.” Holding out her hand, she scowled at the offending nail. “And look at the awful clothes they put me in,” she complained, gesturing to the flat white canvas pumps and pale blue smock.

“Princess, I’m sorry,” her father said, raising his hands in a gesture of helplessness.

“I don’t want your apologies,” she snapped. “Just get me out of here. Now!” Folding her arms across her chest, she frowned. “You’ll also need to buy me a new pocket PC. That stupid man drove over it, after almost running me over. He shouldn’t be allowed on the roads. He’s clearly too old. He should be the one languishing in a cell, not me,” she said, dramatically mopping her brow with her arm. “I want compensation for my traumatic experience, from both him and the police.”

“Tamara, please, stop this,” her father pleaded, shaking his head, his dark brown eyes not quite meeting hers. “I really can’t help you. The police have taken your previous poor behaviour into account and have decided to make an example of you. No amount of money will get you out of trouble this time. Believe me, princess, I’ve tried.”

Tamara felt like she had been struck with a heavy object at her father’s pronouncement. Gasping, her grip tightened on the cell bars. Her cheeks paled. Her hands trembled. She felt nausea rising from her stomach to her throat. When she was finally able to speak, the anger had evaporated from her voice, her tone almost pleading. “Daddy. Take me home. I’m going out tonight.”

Lord Templeton-Smythe shook his head. “No, princess, I’m afraid you’re not.” He covered his face with his hands, as if denying his daughter really pained him. “Oh, Tamara, what have you done?” he asked, lowering his hands. “You silly little girl. You’ve assaulted a police officer. There’s nothing I can do.” Reaching through the bars, he grasped his daughter’s clammy hands.

“I didn’t,” she shrieked, incensed by the accusation. “He’s lying. I swear he is. He assaulted me. Daddy, please, you have to help me.”

Her father’s grip tightened. “Oh, my beautiful little princess. Sadly there were numerous witnesses. Each and every one of them speaks out on behalf of the officer. Many filmed the incident, and I’ve viewed the footage. Our solicitors have too. Their advice is for you to plead guilty. Your sentence will be more lenient if you do.”

“No, I shan’t plead guilty. Never. If you refuse to support me, I’ll find someone who will.”

“Stop this nonsense now,” the lord said firmly. “If you go into court and deny this offence, you may well get ten years in prison.”

Her eyes widened. “Noooooooooo, there must be something you can do. Please. You have to help me. You can’t leave me to rot in jail.” Tamara’s heart hammered against her chest, the terror sending a chill through her veins. She couldn’t go to prison. It was full of common people—and criminals!

“Yes, there is something I can do. I can urge you to follow my advice. I’ve done the best I can. I’ve got this fast tracked into court today. You would ordinarily have had to stay here overnight before facing the judge.” Tamara shook her head. She couldn’t believe her father was abandoning her when she needed him most.

“Unfortunately, this video footage has been shown all over TV by the media. They’re loving this,” he said, a touch of anger in his normally calm tone. “If you were released without charge, again,” he added, exasperation creeping into his voice, “there’d be widespread outrage.”

Taking a deep breath, he looked into his daughter’s eyes and smiled reassuringly. “I’ll stay with you until sentencing is passed. My solicitors believe that, if you accept your guilt and show remorse, you can expect to be sentenced to just one day at the punishment clinic.”

Tears pricked Tamara’s eyes. She had heard of the punishment clinics. Everybody had. But they had been set up to deal with the dregs of society. Her mother told her that. They were certainly not for the likes of her. She had blue blood running through her veins, her father being very distantly related to the royal family. “No, Father, please. You can’t let them send me to such a place.”

“Princess, it will be horrible. I won’t lie to you. But it’s only for one day. Be a big brave girl and you’ll be home tomorrow. Mother and I will take you out for the day. We’ll do whatever you want, go wherever you wish. We’ll make it up to you and help you forget this nightmare. I can book you into therapy, too.”

Tamara slowly nodded, the reality of her situation causing the colour to drain from her cheeks. Although she did not really want to know, she felt compelled to ask. “What will they do to me, Father?”

“Anything they can to ensure you will never behave so recklessly in future. It will be humiliating. It will be painful. But remember, it’s only one day. You’ll be free to come home afterwards. Please, be my brave little princess. I promise you, it’ll be over before you know it.”

“But I’m going out tonight with Amelia. Please, make this go away. I know you can, if you really want to.” She pouted and gazed hopefully at him. He had always fixed things in the past. There was always something he could do. “I’ve learned my lesson,” she added, tipping her head to one side and chewing her lower lip, in what she hoped was a remorseful gesture.

“Good,” he said, abruptly pulling his hands away. “If that’s true, you’ll come into court now and make us proud. You’ll accept your guilt, take your punishment, and then we can move on. Let’s get this unfortunate business over with,” he said, turning and walking away.

“No, please, come back. You must fix this. Now!” she yelled, stamping angrily on the floor, her little fists balled at her sides. She pouted when he continued walking and disappeared from view.

Kicking at the metal bars, Tamara yelped as she hurt her foot. “Daddy,” she whimpered, gripping the bars and sliding down, her legs giving way beneath her. “Oh, Daddy,” she whispered, as she curled up into the foetal position, no longer concerned about what germs might lurk on the filthy floor.

Sobbing softly, Tamara felt utterly helpless. Her father had been the one person she could rely on throughout her life. He had never let her down, and had never left her to face the consequences of her actions. There had always been someone to bribe or sweet talk into paving the way for her when she’d wronged another. Knowing her fate was now in the hands of a courtroom judge, she trembled. Closing her eyes, she prayed her father could make it all go away.

Five minutes later, a protesting Tamara was led into the courtroom.

“Tamara Templeton-Smythe,” the judge addressed her, his piercing blue eyes fixed on her watery hazel ones. “You are a disgrace to society. I’ve viewed various footage of this incident. Frankly, I’m appalled by your lack of respect for authority. Also, your contempt for your elders is deplorable. You’ve been brought up by a lord and lady, but give the appearance of having been dragged up by wild animals.”

Tamara scowled at the judge. How dare he say such things? Glancing across to her parents, she was shocked to see them hanging their heads. They gave the appearance they were ashamed, but that couldn’t be the case, she assured herself. They were proud of her. They adored her. They told her often enough.

“Look at me when I’m speaking to you!” The judge’s voice boomed, and Tamara’s eyes went glassy as she gazed up at him. “I’m the victim here,” she replied, frowning and banging her fist on the stand. “And you’re just being mean.”

The judge sighed and looked across to her parents. “Tell me, Lord Templeton-Smythe. Rather than throw endless amounts of money at your daughter, have you ever considered giving her what she really needs?”

“I beg your pardon, Your Honour. I don’t understand the question.” Tamara’s father rose, his broad shoulders pulled back and his head held high. What he lacked in height, he made up for in stature. “What are you suggesting my daughter is in need of?”

Tamara smirked. That’s more like it, she thought, as her father showed his backbone. She had no doubt he was about to pull rank on the stupid judge and take her home, put an end to this ridiculous nonsense. Glancing at her watch, she sighed. She wished he would hurry up or she was going to be late.

“What your daughter needs,” the judge said, glancing at the cocky young woman who glared defiantly at him from the dock, “is a damn good spanking.” Colour flooded her cheeks as her mouth gaped open. She blinked, wondering if she had perhaps misheard. Surely the judge was not allowed to say that. “Maybe if you’d taken her across your knee instead of reaching into your wallet, she wouldn’t be standing in front of me today.” Turning his attention fully on the defendant, he told her, “But things are about to change, young lady. A day at the punishment clinic will sort you out.”

Tamara shook her head and looked toward her father. She was stunned to see him slump into his seat. Her mother let out a sob and glanced pityingly toward her daughter. Standing up, the tall, thin woman with long blond hair, wearing an elegant blue suit, dabbed at her eyes. “Be strong, my darling,” she wailed, before fleeing the courtroom in tears, her heavy makeup smeared across her face.

“No, you can’t do this to me,” Tamara shrieked, whirling to face the judge. “I want a trial. I want a jury to hear how I’m the real victim here. I want that police officer, and that stupid old man who tried to run me over, sent to jail. My father has influence. He knows people.”

“Silence in my court, or I’ll light a fire in your backside myself, you impudent brat.”

Tamara’s mouth snapped shut as her cheeks paled. She looked in desperation to her father. Her knees went weak and she gripped the rails of the dock when her usually doting father shook his head, a mixture of despair and defeat in his expression.

“The court system has changed,” the judge told her. “The recent financial collapse has left us with neither the time nor the money for trial by jury for petty criminals. We have other, more efficient ways of dealing with the likes of you. And this certainly isn’t the first time you’ve appeared in my court. I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve been here, and your father has bailed you out each and every time.” Tamara rolled her eyes.

If the shops weren’t so quick to shout ‘thief’ when she merely borrowed things if she had forgotten her credit card, her list of crimes would be reduced by more than three-quarters. In the current economic climate, the shops were all too willing to see the charges dropped when Tamara’s father paid for the stolen items and also offered a large ‘compensation payment’ to placate the aggrieved store owner. Her other ‘crimes’ were so ridiculous they should never had gone to court, in her opinion. These ranged from spray painting an ex-boyfriend’s car windscreen bright pink after he dumped her, to drunkenly dancing naked in a public fountain. Again, her father’s wealth had persuaded those aggrieved to accept his money rather than see Tamara punished for her actions.

“But this time you’ve gone a step too far,” the judge continued, breaking into her thoughts. “You’ve assaulted an officer of the law. I am bound to protect our police officers, who put their lives on the line every day.” Tamara stared at her father, stunned. She couldn’t believe he was sitting there calmly, allowing this obnoxious man to speak to her like she was a common criminal. Why wasn’t he offering compensation to the officer? Everyone had their price, and she was sure her father could find the officer’s.

“Now, you’ve taken more than enough of my time today. I can only hope the sentence I impose brings you down a peg or two. For assaulting an officer of the law, I hereby proclaim that you will spend one day in a punishment clinic. You will be purged of…”

Tamara shook her head as the judge passed sentence. Not wanting to hear anymore, she balled her hands into fists, banged them on the dock, and screeched. “Noooo, I plead not guilty. Do you hear me? Not guilty. I refuse to accept this barbaric sentence.” She whirled around to face her father. “This farce has gone far enough. I insist you pay the man and take me home.”

“Your Honour, may I speak to my daughter?” The judge gave his consent and Lord Templeton-Smythe approached the dock. “Princess, there’s really nothing I can do to help you. You’re doing yourself no favours with this behaviour. You must accept and serve your sentence. It is happening. I can’t change that. I’ve already paid compensation to the officer and the driver, but a custodial sentence is also mandatory. How bad things are totally depends on you. Now be a good girl, please.” Smiling, he reached out to touch her hand.

“Go to hell,” she yelled, leaning forward and lashing out toward her father. He took a step back to prevent her striking him. “I hate you. I can’t believe you’re refusing to help me. Well, that’s fine, I don’t care. I disown you.” Pouting, she turned her back on him.

“Young lady,” he said, reaching over the dock rails and grasping her wrist, waving away the guards who stepped forward. Tamara blinked repeatedly as her father’s face reddened with rage. She had only ever seen him angry when dealing with their staff. She had never known him to turn that anger on her, and she was genuinely scared. “The judge is right. You do deserve a sound spanking. If you dare to raise your hand to me again, young lady, I’ll turn you across my knee and roast your bare bottom, like I should have done years ago. Do you understand?”

Her cheeks burned in humiliation. She couldn’t stand to think of her kind, gentle father carrying out such a beastly act. The mere threat made her shudder. “Y-y-yes, D-d-daddy.”

Tears sparkled in her eyes. Her father sighed and calmed instantly. “Be a good girl, princess. Accept your sentence,” he added, reaching out to gently stroke her hand. “We’ll come and pick you up tomorrow.” Without another word, her father moved back to his seat. Tamara turned to the face the judge.

“Miss Templeton-Smythe, you will now be taken to a facility where you will be prepared for your punishment. It will be the ultimate in humiliation. Aspects of it will be very painful. You certainly won’t be sitting comfortably any time soon. But remember you brought this on yourself. Try and learn from it. Your father’s money can’t buy everything; you’d do well to remember that. Do not let me see you in my court again or I won’t be so lenient. Court dismissed.”

“Nooooooo, I plead not guilty. Listen to me, you arrogant fool. I won’t accept your ridiculous judgement. I want a retrial.” Tamara’s brow furrowed, her eyes sparking with anger as she planted her hands on her hips.

“Fine,” the judge said, sitting back down and shaking his head. He smiled, but there was no warmth in his expression. “There’ll be no retrial. But if you won’t accept your guilt and take this lesser sentence, I’ll impose an alternative punishment. By the end of today, you’ll sincerely wish you had accepted my original ruling. But then it’ll be too late to change your mind, little girl.”

Tamara pouted and pulled her shoulders back. “I don’t care what you do. Send me to prison for ten years. My father will grease enough palms to ensure me a comfortable stay. I’ll have everyone waiting on me hand and foot. And it won’t be long before he’ll have me moved to an open prison, so I can go home for visits.” She smirked triumphantly.

The judge held up a hand. “You’re correct, I could send you to prison for ten years, but I have no doubt your father could ensure your time inside wasn’t too bad. That would give you no incentive to improve your ways. That’s why I’m going to use my powers to impose an alternative sentence. You have displayed the manners and behaviour of a small, disobedient child today; therefore it seems appropriate that I sentence you to one year at the nursery.”

“What?” Tamara scowled and looked toward her father. Nursery was for children. What was this idiot thinking of? “Father? What the hell is he talking about?”

“I mean exactly what I say. You’re going to the nursery,” the judge repeated, smiling at the pale-faced young woman.

“But I’m too old,” she protested, her hands becoming clammy as she clutched them in front of her, in a praying gesture.

“You’re not too old for this nursery,” he said. “For the next twelve months, you’ll live the life of a small child. You already act like one, so you should slip easily into the lifestyle.” Tamara’s jaw dropped. She couldn’t believe her father was allowing this man to insult her. She looked to him for support, but his expressive remained impassive as he listened to the judge’s ruling.

“You’ll be dressed like a child, with none of that awful makeup caked on your face.” Tamara glared at him. How dare he be so rude? Her makeup made her look glamorous.

“You’ll have set bedtimes,” the judge continued, as she shook her head in disbelief. “You’ll learn how to behave. If you’re disobedient, you’ll be upended and spanked on your bare bottom. Hopefully, you might finally grow up. Take her away,” he ordered. Two burly court officials stepped forward to drag her from the dock.

“Daddy, help me,” Tamara screeched, looking over her shoulder as she was pulled from the dock. Her heart lifted as her father rushed toward her.

“At least let me say goodbye,” he said. The judge nodded and Tamara was released. She fell into her father’s open arms and sobbed. “Take me home, Daddy.”

“I’m sorry, princess, I can’t do that,” he said, holding her close and rocking her in his arms. “Try to be a good girl. Learn all you can from this experience. It’ll soon be over and then you can come home.”

“But it’s a whole year. It won’t soon be over.” She stepped back and looked at him, terrified that he appeared to have accepted her fate.

“And whose fault is that?” her father asked, brushing her tears away with his thumbs.

“The judge’s,” she replied, scowling toward the man who had imposed such an awful sentence on her.

“No, princess, it’s your fault. The sooner you learn to take responsibility for your actions, the easier this will be on you.” Kissing his daughter on the cheek, Lord Templeton-Smythe sighed deeply. “I love you, but your behaviour today has embarrassed and saddened me.”

Tamara stared at him, her heart breaking as he spoke. She couldn’t bear to hear his words and covered her ears with her hands. Shaking his head, he pulled her hands away and held them. “Try and behave, or you’re going to have a very sore bottom.” Her cheeks flushed scarlet, horrified that such threats had been made. Surely they were just that, merely threats. Tamara was certain such things were not allowed in a civilised society.

An image flashed to her mind of a public flogging she had passed recently. She pushed it quickly away. She knew times had changed since the financial collapse, but a nursery for young women? No, things had not gone that far.

The guards took hold of Tamara and led her away from her father. She screamed, stamped her feet, and tried to break free. When her efforts were unsuccessful, she wept as she was dragged through a doorway. She felt sick as the heavy door slammed behind her. “Okay, I’ll go to the stupid punishment clinic,” she shouted, panic setting in. “I demand you take me there now. One day is better than a whole year in the stupid nursery.”

The guards laughed. “It doesn’t work like that,” one told her. “Your sentence has been passed and you have no choice but to serve it. We’re going to hand you over to Matron now. You’d be well advised to be on your best behaviour. She takes no nonsense and won’t hesitate to turn you across her knee if you don’t do as you’re told.”

The other guard nodded in agreement. “And she has so many more inventive ways of punishing naughty little girls. Hopefully we might get to watch,” he said, winking at his colleague.

Tamara shook her head. It was awful. Her father would surely step in and stop any further humiliation. He wouldn’t abandon her. He might have pretended to be angry, but right now she knew he would be taking steps to secure her imminent release.

“My father will overturn this hideous sentence. He won’t allow such atrocities to happen to me.” The guards laughed. “Such a large vocabulary for such a naughty little girl,” the taller one said, making Tamara blush with rage. “But it looked to me like your father has accepted your sentence. Maybe it’s time you did the same?” he said, a note of kindness entering his voice.

Remembering her father’s final words to her, and the resigned look on his face, she realised there was a strong possibility he wasn’t going to help her. Her fate was sealed. But she couldn’t bring herself to give up on the hope that his solicitors would find a way of getting her out. How else would she get through what lay ahead?

Ushered through a doorway, Tamara was pushed into a van and driven a short distance. When they came to a stop outside a red-brick building, she was ordered out of the vehicle. Standing on the sidewalk, she swallowed nervously, wondering what was going to happen to her. “Here’s Matron,” one of them said, as a woman stepped out of the building and moved toward them.

She was surprised to see the woman coming out to greet them was in her sixties, slightly on the plump side, with her fine grey hair pulled up into a bun. Her expression was stern as her narrow eyes moved over the young woman, who squirmed between the two guards. Tamara’s struggles ceased and a smile curved the corners of her mouth. This woman would be a pushover, just like her parents’ housekeeper. Taking a deep breath, she silently congratulated her good fortune. This was going to be a breeze.

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