Eight months ago, Gray Langtry’s mother became prime minister… now someone wants her dead
Gray’s life has been in turmoil ever since her mother was chosen to lead the country. They had to leave their home and move into the prime minister’s official residence at Number 10 Downing Street. Everywhere she goes, she must be accompanied by bodyguards. The media won’t leave her alone — she’s on the cover of every tabloid, and her behaviour, her appearance, the length of her skirts… everything is constantly judged.
Worse, the scars from her parents’ divorce and her mother’s abrupt remarriage are still raw. She doesn’t like her stepfather. She doesn’t like this life. None of it was her decision.
When she’s photographed drunk outside a London nightclub, it makes headlines. Gray is grounded and given new bodyguards – younger, cooler, and harder to fool than the last batch.
It’s Julia, the new bodyguard, who tells her that a new terrorist organisation issued a threat, and the threat is credible. They say they’re going to kill her mother and Gray. When Gray tries to find out more though, no one will tell her. Her mother never mentions it and her bodyguard is forbidden to say more. Locked up in Number 10 night after night, Gray decides to find answers. If someone wants to kill her, she deserves to know why.
One of the few people who understands what’s happening is Jake McIntyre — the son of her mother’s political enemy. Convinced he’s working for his father, her mother forbids her to spend time with him. But Gray believes he might be able to help her learn the truth.
One night, while sneaking through dark government halls, she gets far more than she bargained for. She realises the situation is much worse than even her mother’s security team suspects. But will anyone believe the prime minister’s wild child daughter?
Afraid for herself, her mother, and her country, Gray is determined to find proof. But she must move fast.
The clock is ticking.
C.J has shared an extract today. It sound great so enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
Gray wasn’t going to drink any more alcohol. The cold bottle felt good against her overheated skin, though, and she held it up to her face, pressing the glass against her cheek.
‘Gray.’ Jake’s northern accented voice was unmistakable.
She spun around to see him a few feet away, his expression dripping disapproval. ‘What do you want?’ she asked.
His brow lowering, he glanced from the bottle in her hand back to her face. ‘Maybe you should go easy on that. You don’t look so great.’
This was insulting on multiple levels. But before Gray could think of a devastating reply, Chloe stepped between them, bristling.
‘Why don’t you mind your own business, Jake?’ she asked. ‘You’re always messing with Gray; giving her looks. It’s so obvious you’re jealous of her. It’s ridiculous.’
Even in heels she was so tiny she had to stand on her toes to see his face. Like a really angry butterfly. He gazed at her with cool, infuriating detachment. ‘I’m just trying to help.’
Chloe, fuelled by alcohol and a determination to protect Gray, wasn’t backing down. ‘She doesn’t need your help. You’re always picking on her because your dad lost the election. Why don’t you get over it? It was months ago. It’s not Gray’s fault.’
Jake’s lips tightened, and he turned to Gray.
‘Look,’ he said steadily, ‘I’m not trying to insult you or anything. But you don’t want to get drunk here. There are too many people. Too many eyes.’
Maybe on a different night she would have taken this advice differently. Right now, it made her furious. He was so patronising.
Ignoring the churning in her stomach, she threw him an imperious look. ‘Thanks for your concern. But I’m perfectly able to decide how much I want to drink.’
For a second, he held her gaze, and she thought he’d argue. But then, shaking his head, he walked away. As Gray watched, one hand on her unruly stomach, he paused at the coat check to retrieve his jacket, and then, with one final glance at her, disappeared out the wide, glass door.
A cool autumnal breeze flowed in as he departed. It felt good against Gray’s hot skin. Then the door closed, and the damp heat returned.
Gray’s stomach flipped. She covered her mouth with her fingers.
‘He’s so arrogant.’ Chloe was still fuming, but as soon as she saw Gray’s face, her anger faded. ‘Gray. Is it worse?’
Mutely, Gray nodded. ‘Have to go home,’ she said, thickly. ‘Gonna be sick.’
She didn’t trust herself to say more, and Chloe must have seen the seriousness of the situation in her face, because her only reply was, ‘I’ll get our coats.’
Gray leaned against the wall as Chloe ran to the coat stand and handed over the small, white ticket. A minute later, she rushed back, clutching their jackets, which they’d checked together at the beginning of the night, when everything was so exciting.
But Gray couldn’t wait for her coat. She needed air. Now.
The bouncer stepped aside with a wary look as she bolted, her borrowed high heels skidding on the cement. Under the black and white awning with the illuminated word ‘BIJOU’ in magenta neon, she paused for a split second, the cold, October air like ice against her clammy skin.
Then she took two steps to the right and vomited into the base of a giant, potted palm tree.
‘Gray!’ Chloe ran to her.
‘She can’t be sick there,’ the bouncer objected.
Pulling Gray’s hair back, Chloe fired a glare at him over her shoulder. ‘Leave her alone.’
The two of them argued across Gray’s back as the sickness slowly subsided and Gray began to straighten, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
What happened next happened fast.
‘Bloody hell, is that Gray Langtry?’ A male voice came from a few feet away. ‘That’s her!’ Another man responded.
A blinding series of flashes lit up the night. The rat-a-tat-tat of camera clicks came from everywhere, like weapons being fired at them.
Chloe gasped and stumbled back as voices barraged them.
‘How are you feeling, Gray?’ An adult male voice with an Essex accent taunted her.
‘Bit tired and emotional?’
‘Who’s your sexy friend? What’s your name, sweet ‘eart?’
‘Had a bit too much to drink, luv?’
Flash. Flash. Flash.
Blinded by the camera flashbulbs, Gray couldn’t see the men, but she knew instantly who they were. What they were.
Her heart sank.
‘Does your mother know you’re drinking?’ the first man asked. The others laughed. ‘You’re underage, young lady,’ one of them said. ‘I should take you over my knee.’ Through it all, the flashes lit up the night.
‘Gray.’ Chloe’s voice sounded strange – high and nervous; her hand gripped Gray’s fingers hard. ‘What do we do?’
Desperate, Gray looked for escape. Behind them, the black-clad bouncer stood blocking the doorway, his arms crossed impassively. They couldn’t go back in to their friends.
Behind the paparazzi, London’s Park Lane was busy with late evening traffic. Gray looked at Chloe.
‘Run,’ she said.
***** end of extract*****
About C.J Daugherty…
A former crime reporter and accidental civil servant, C.J. Daugherty began writing the Night School series while working as a communications consultant for the Home Office. The young adult series was published by Little Brown and went on to sell over a million and a half copies worldwide. A web series inspired by the books clocked up well over a million views. In 2020, the books were optioned for television. She later wrote The Echo Killing series, published by St Martin’s Press, and co-wrote the fantasy series, The Secret Fire, with French author Carina Rosenfeld.
While working as a civil servant, she had meetings at Number 10 Downing Street, and saw people disappearing through a small door leading to a staircase heading below ground level. This visit became the inspiration for Number 10. FYI: She still doesn’t know if there are tunnels below Number 10. But she hopes there are.
Her books have been translated into 25 languages and been bestsellers in multiple countries. She lives with her husband, the BAFTA nominated filmmaker, Jack Jewers.
Say hello on Twitter.
For more information about Number 10, which is due to be released by Moonflower Books on 10th November 2020, visit C.J’s website.