After almost four years of physically healing from the beating that almost killed her, Catherine is finally finding love, until she finds that her ex-lover is back and looking for her. Catherine Bailey leaves for work only after she has checked that her flat is secure, checking the curtains, checking the balcony, checking the locks on the front door at least six or twelve times. Only then can she move on one step at a time. Some days she can't even leave her flat.
Naomi breathes in her last breath as the shovel comes down and smashes her skull.
Three years before Catherine became so paranoid she met Lee, a perfect looking man, blond, piercing blue eyes, mysterious. They met at a nightclub where he was doorman and she looked amazing in a tight red satin dress. After a few weeks they become lovers. He seduces her in the office of the nightclub, the alley, the ladies room, wherever he wants. Catherine finally takes him to meet her best girlfriends and they adore him. But after a few months, Catherine starts to feel smothered by him. He comes by whenever he wants, he has rough sex with her sometimes leaving bruises. She starts to miss work. Her girlfriends notice changes in her appearance, she is thinner, paler. Lee doesn't trust her. He tells her what to wear when they go out, particularly the red satin dress. When she tries to break it off with him, it's as if a weight has been lifted, until he comes back and it starts all over again, this time rougher. He tells her friends that she is hurting herself. Pretty soon the sex becomes rape and the beatings go along with it.
When Catherine hears about a job opening in New York she sees this as her way of escape, only she has to do it without Lee knowing. She accepts the job, gets her passport in secret, and plans her escape. She is finally at the airport when she sees Lee, and he has the airport police with him. It turns out that he is an undercover policeman and he has told them that she is wanted. He throws her to the ground and handcuffs her, throws her into a van, knocks her out and takes her home. All her friends think she has gone to the States so Lee has a perfect opportunity to keep her locked up and no one will look for her.
He beats her, rapes her over and over again, chokes her, breaks her fingers on one hand, and leaves her locked in an empty room of her flat. After a few days he comes in the room with a knife, rapes her again, beats her and finally takes the knife and makes numerous cuts all over her body.
As he leaves the house, the neighbor sees him with blood all over his shirt. She opens the unlocked front door and finds Catherine near death. Lee is prosecuted for abuse and is sentenced to only three years in prison. Catherine has her life back.
Her new life begins in London, a new job, a new place to live but the fear is always there. She meets Stuart who lives upstairs from her and they start a relationship. He is a clinical psychologist and he helps her learn to calm down, gets her to see a therapist. Catherine finds out on Christmas that Lee is being released. Her panic starts but this time she is stronger.
It's not very long after that she suspects Lee is watching her. Somehow he gets in and moves little things in her apartment just as he used to do. She does get help from the police this time, they believe her where before they thought she was lying. They give her a code work to use in case she needs help.
One evening when she gets home from work, she finds Stuart bleeding and knocked unconscious. Lee is there, he grabs her but this time she fights back. She gets in one quick phone call with the code word before he smashes her phone. Catherine takes a lighter and aerosol can and lights it into Lees face. The door is busted open and the police arrive.
After the new trial is over, Catherine gets a letter from Lee. It directs her to a remote area. She and the detective find her red satin dress all torn and tattered. It's attached to rusty shovel. When they get closer they find hair and bones. They find Naomi.
Even from prison Lee still is committed to having a relationship with Catherine.
Best part of story, including ending:
I wasn't too excited about the beginning of the story because it jumped around from present to the past.
Best scene in story:
I really liked the scene where Catherine is not afraid of Lee anymore and fights back until he is on fire.
Opinion about the main character:
I felt sorry for Catherine because like so many abused women, she is afraid to get help and get out of the relationship. But I was excited when she started getting stronger and would not let him hurt her ever again.