Number 10 by C. J. Daugherty – extract

C. J. Daugherty is the author of the Night School series. Her latest novel, Number 10, is published by Moonflower Books on 10 November 2020.

Today I have an extract from the book.

Chapter One
‘Want to do some shots?’
Gray could barely hear Chloe’s question above the bass thumping from the speakers.
It was nearly midnight and the Bijou nightclub was in full swing. Lights spun and
collided around them – purple, blue, yellow, green – and then whirled away, dizzyingly. The
effect was so blinding, she had to squint to see the small, glittering glasses Chloe held.
Taking one, Gray peered at the clear liquid inside.
‘What happened to the punch?’ she asked, nearly shouting to be heard over the music.
There’d been some fruity punch around earlier – a Technicolor concoction of juice so
tooth-achingly sweet it was hard to detect the alcohol in it.
‘This’s all I could get.’ Chloe slurred her words slightly as she leaned closer so Gray
could hear her.
She didn’t have to explain. They were underage and therefore reliant on older
clubbers to buy their drinks.
Raising the glass Gray sniffed it, wrinkling her nose at the sharp, astringent scent.
‘What is it?’
‘Dunno. Vodka, maybe?’ Chloe’s shrug told her how little she cared. ‘Everyone else
is drinking it so it must be fine.’
‘Are you doing shots?’ The Bolino twins walked up, with Aidan in tow, grinning at
two girls. ‘Down in one!’
They were here for Aidan’s birthday – his dad owned the Bijou, and had arranged for
everyone to get in, regardless of age. It was one of the trendiest clubs in London right now for
the younger set, and this was the party of the year. It seemed like half the school had lied to
their parents and come here tonight. From the moment Gray heard about it, the whole thing
had seemed exciting and illicit. A giant lark. She and Chloe had spent a week deciding what
to wear, setting on skin-tight minidresses in silver (Chloe) and blue (Gray), paired with
terrifyingly high heels. Gray could hardly walk, but she thought she looked at least eighteen,
if not older.
There was no way her mother would give her permission, so she’d used the oldest
trick in the book, telling her mother she was spending the night at Chloe’s. Meanwhile,
Chloe’s mother thought they were at Aidan’s house.
The lies had only made it more exciting. They’d both been on a high from the
moment they arrived to find their classmates similarly buzzing. Earlier, they’d all sung happy
birthday to Aidan and danced around him, as he turned the same russet colour as his freckles.
Now, though, it was getting late. Gray was tired. And she was starting to feel a bit
queasy. Their plan for the night had not included food.
Chloe had no such concerns. Holding up her shot glass, she shook it until the liquid
sloshed. ‘Come on, Gray,’ she cajoled. ‘We’re here to have fun.’
‘Yeah,’ Tom Bolino said, nudging her. ‘Don’t be a buzz kill.’
‘I am having fun,’ Gray insisted. ‘I just don’t want to drink mystery booze and wake
up on the news, with everyone saying, ‘Why on earth did she drink that? She didn’t even
know what it was. Now she’s in a coma. What an idiot’.’
‘This is the Bijou.’ Chloe said it as if this were emphatic evidence of safety. ‘It’s
something like vodka. It’s not toxic.’ She swung an arm taking in the room, crowded with
sweating dancers, gyrating under the strobing lights. ‘Everyone here isn’t going to wake up in
a coma.’
‘My dad’s club is safe,’ Aidan agreed, taking unexpected offence.
Gray bit back an argument about how people get their drinks tampered with in nice
places all the time. There was a lot she could have said but the music was too loud and
nobody was in the mood to listen. So all she was, ‘I just don’t think so.’
Chloe shrugged. ‘Well, I’m not wasting this.’ She raised her glass, smiling. ‘To better
grades. And wilder parties.’
She downed the shot in one, wincing at the taste but, as soon as she finished, she
laughed, slamming the little glass down on the sticky table next to them.
‘That was awesome.’
Closing her eyes, she began weaving her body to the music, which was so loud Gray
could feel the beat of it in her chest where her heart should be. Her glossy dark curls
shimmered in the magenta lights, and her body moved sinuously.
Across the room, Gray saw a group of men nudge each other and point at her, hunger
in their grins.
Standing abruptly, she angled herself until she blocked her friend from their view.
Misunderstanding this move, Chloe beamed at her and gestured at the glass Gray had almost
forgotten she was holding.
‘Come on.’ Chloe gestured at her untouched drink. ‘I haven’t died yet so it must be
safe.’
The boys laughed.
‘Yeah, come on Langtry. We’re all still alive,’ Tyler Bolino goaded her. ‘Don’t be so
boring.’
That stung. Gray never wanted to be boring. Her mother was boring. Her stepdad was
boring.
She wasn’t like that.

About the Book

Number 10 tells the spinetingling story of 16-year-old Gray Langtry, the daughter of the UK’s female prime minister, who is about to get in way over her head.

After a wild night with friends is splashed across the tabloids, Gray is grounded for two weeks at Number 10 Downing Street, no ifs no buts.

Left alone one night, with her mother at an important meeting, Gray discovers a secret network of government tunnels leading from 10 Downing Street to the Houses of Parliament and beyond. What starts as a bit of fun, suddenly gets serious, when Gray

stumbles across a secret late night cabinet meeting and overhears what sounds like a Russian-led plot to kill her mother.

Wasting no time, she rushes back to inform her mother’s security detail, but with no proof of what she heard, no-one will believe a wayward teenager. Now, it’s up to Gray to break out of Number 10 and warn her mother before it’s too late.

With the help of her best friend Chloe and love interest Jake McIntyre – who just happens to be the son of the leader of the opposition – will she make it in time to save her mother? And what will she have to sacrifice in the process?

About the Author

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.

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