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TITLE: Zoe's Family #2 - Bruised
By Melissa Morony

Hi folks,
This is a the second book in a series I'm writing aimed at 11-14 year olds who have watched their parnets go through marriage breakdown. The second book deals with assault, hence the title. This chapter is the main one where an attempt at assault occurs (there have been incidents leading to it but they haven't been this strong). I could use peoples' feedback on whether they think it's suitable for a pre-teen to teen novel. Please note, Australian spelling is used and it has not been finally edited. Thanks
Chapter Twenty-Seven – Final Straw
When Zoe arrived home she saw Mr. Delton’s delivery panel van in the driveway. Zoe steeled herself and walked up the drive. She should have stayed at Christy’s and borrowed Christy’s clothes. There would be no sudsy bath for her now. Not with him in the house.

Zoe entered through the front door and saw that the door to her mother’s room was closed. Mum didn’t normally close her door when she was up, the only time she closed her door was when she was in bed. Was Mum having an afternoon nap?

Cautiously Zoe proceeded into the main living area. At her footstep on the floor Mr. Delton turned around from where he was sitting at the family computer, using the Internet.
“Zoe, it’s you!” he exclaimed.
“Ah I was just going…” Zoe began.
“Come say, ‘Hello’,” Mr. Delton beckoned.
“Zoe you’re all wet and muddy. You need to get out of those clothes. You don’t want to come down with pneumonia,” said Mr. Delton.
Zoe wanted to say that she would prefer to come down with pneumonia rather than be fussed over by this sleazy man. But she felt her tongue go dry. She turned to go to her room to get changed but with a few steps Mr. Delton had breached the distance from the computer to the door to the entry-way of the house which was a thoroughfare to Zoe’s room. He gripped Zoe on both her shoulders and said, “Zoe I don’t understand why you don’t like me. I mean I like you. In fact, I love you.”
One of Mr. Delton’s hands began reaching for the hem of Zoe’s sweater and said, “We really need to express that love, Zoe.”
With his other hand he clapped Zoe’s mouth to prevent the scream from being audible. Zoe had successfully memorized the Lord’s prayer from her small group and from her own quiet times. Zoe thought of the words, “Deliver us from evil,” from Matthew 5:13 (CEV). Silently, Zoe prayed, “God please help me.”

Suddenly Lara rounded the corner of the hall-way. Her eyes grew big.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
Mr. Delton released his grip on Zoe’s mouth and said, “Ah, I’m helping her out of her muddy clothes.”
“My sister is quite capable of dressing and undressing herself,” Lara stated.

Zoe took advantage of Mr. Delton’s conversation with Lara and his slacker grip of her clothes to kick Mr. Delton in the groin. Mr. Delton let go and doubled over in pain. Lara pulled Zoe away from Mr. Delton’s grip and opened the front door and began running down the street.
“We’ll go to Aunt Cathy’s house!” Lara declared. “She’s only a couple of blocks away.”
“What about Mum?” asked Zoe as their feet pounded the ground in their hurry.
“Mum went for a walk to the shops,” Lara replied.
“But her door – it was closed,” Zoe said.
“Yes, it’s Mr. Delton’s birthday today. She was hiding his present in there,” said Lara.

They had reached the corner of the court where Aunt Cathy’s house was when they saw a car turn into the street they were on. It was Mr. Delton’s panel van.
“Come on,” said Lara. “We’re going to tell Aunt Cathy what’s going on.”
The car caught up to them and Mr. Dalton got out of it. He ran around to Zoe who was struggling to keep up with Lara. He caught Zoe up in a head lock.
“Want your sister to not look so good for this week at school? None of the boys will want her then. Then again, what boy would want her now?” sneered Mr. Delton.
“Fire!” screamed Lara.
At that several people from several houses including Aunt Cathy and Uncle Dean exited their houses.
“Where? Where?” asked the people.
“Not exactly fire, but child assault,” Lara replied.
Uncle Dean ran to where Lara and Zoe were standing. He wrestled Zoe from Mr. Delton’s arms and passed her to Lara who was just behind him. Aunt Cathy was coming now and Lara and Aunt Cathy both held onto Zoe. He was about to throw a punch at Mr. Delton’s jaw but then he stopped, checked himself and set to restraining him instead.
“You’re the type to have me up for assault if I break your jaw, despite your assault of Zoe and whoever knows whom else. We’ll leave it to the police to handle this. They’re coming,” Uncle Dean informed. “When we opened the door, my wife was about to make a call to her sister, Julie. She rang triple zero instead. I’m guessing you did not know that there was a police station just two streets from here ‘cause here they are.”
Uncle Dean’s words were hardly necessary. The sound of a police siren was ringing in Zoe’s ears.
“What’s all this about?” asked the female officer.
“This man was about to molest my sister,” Lara said.
The male officer looked at the man.
“Hey I know you. You’re wanted for paedophilia,” he said.
Standing by her self Zoe felt everything going black. She could not see. Unaware of it, she fell to the ground.
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