Super sorry for the radio silence my hayfever has been awful it’s literally left me with pulsating headaches which haven’t been fun. I have well and truly missed my books. Hoping to get some reading in tomorrow but until then I have two amazing blog tours to share with you up first is The Letter – Kitty’s Story….so without further ado.
Hi there Hayleyreviews 10, thank you for taking part in the publication day blog tour for my new book.
The following is an excerpt from Chapter 5 where Kitty is about to confide in her big brother, James (Jimby), about feeling unhappy with the state of her marriage. He’s called round to drop off her Labradors, Humphrey and Ethel, who he’s been looking after for the weekend while Kitty and her family have been away…
With a weary sigh, Kitty flopped into a dining chair. ‘I’d love to talk, but the last thing I want is to get you involved, and all wound up. I’ve been so stupid, and it’s taken me a long time to open my eyes properly and be honest with myself about the situation I’m in. I feel partly to blame because I’ve allowed myself to become a victim and that’s something I really don’t want to be.’
James let out a low whistle. ‘Wow. That sounds pretty serious. I think you don’t have any other choice but to tell me. I’m your brother, and we’re all we’ve got since Mum and Dad died. I know you’ve got the kids, but you know what I mean. You’ve only got me to look out for you and vice versa,’ he said.
She looked down at her hands, her thin fingers, with nails bitten right down to the quick, were busy twiddling and twisting the soggy tissues. She felt a desperate sadness deep in the pit of her stomach, but she knew she wasn’t going to cry anymore. Not today at least; her supply, for now, was depleted. ‘Have you got time for this? I know you’ve got a load of work on and I…’
James raised his hands, ‘Don’t you go worrying about me. I’ve got no one to answer to. Apart from Jerry Springer and Jarvis Cocker, of course,’ he said, referring to his spaniels. ‘That’s the beauty of being your own boss.’ James was the local blacksmith, like their father who’d trained him. He’d taken over the business after their parents died.
‘If you’re sure?’
‘Absolutely. I was only going to call in on Ollie, I’ve got a few things I’d like to run by him, but we can always do that later over a beer. And there’s nothing so urgent I can’t have a chat with my little sister.’ A low bark emanating from James’s Landie interrupted him. ‘Ahh, yes. My reason for calling round was to drop off those two wayward Labradors of yours.’
‘Wayward? That sounds ominous, what have they been up to?’ Kitty wiped her nose, feeling slightly awkward at the mention of Ollie’s name.
‘Well, Ethel’s been as good as gold, but Humphrey’s been an old tart again. Usual stuff, flirting outrageously with anything in a sequinned collar. And now he’s in the dog-house with his missus. Ethel’s giving him the silent treatment.’
‘Oh, poor old Humph. When’s he going to realise at twelve he’s too old to be a Casanova?’ Kitty giggled. ‘It’s very undignified behaviour for a gentleman of his advanced years. No wonder Eth isn’t speaking to him.’
‘Hey, it’s not his fault he’s irresistible to the ladies, it’s his animal magnetism. You should’ve seen the latest hot bitch who caught his eye; the one who’s caused all the trouble. A right little floozie she was. Honestly, Kitts, Humph’s got no taste. She was that fluffy the only way you could tell her head from her arse was because she was wearing a bright pink top covered in those sparkly diamond things. Very tight it was too — in all the wrong places.’
‘It gets worse. He made an arthritic attempt at humping the furball’s head and ended up falling on top of her. Blamed it on his cataracts. Her owner wasn’t impressed, but don’t worry, it wasn’t anyone we know.’
Humphrey gave another bark and James headed for the door. ‘Sounds like someone’s keen to see his mum — if you’re willing to take him back after hearing that, of course.’ He gave one of his trademark wide grins.
‘I’m always keen to have them back, the house isn’t the same without them.’
Kitty followed her brother to the front door and watched as he opened the rear of the Landie. Ethel leapt out first but, due to his arthritic legs, Humph had to be lifted down, and judging by the expression on Jimby’s face, it wasn’t an easy task.
‘Christ Humph, you solid old bugger, I think you’ve got heavier since I lifted you in there.’ Humphrey responded by licking James’s face, covering it with slobber. ‘Mmm, just what I need. Come on, let’s go and see your mum.’ He set the elderly Labrador down, wiped his face with the sleeve of his jumper and rolled his eyes good-naturedly.
Ethel charged down the path, tail wagging at the sight of Kitty. ‘Hiya, Eth.’ The Labrador stopped for a quick ruffle of her ears before running into the house to check her bowl for biscuits. Humph tried a trot, which wasn’t much faster than his walk. He was in raptures, a wide smile on his grey muzzle, his otter-like tail wagging so hard it made the generous proportions of his rear wiggle. ‘Hiya, handsome. I hear you’ve been hell-raising with the ladies again.’
Back in the kitchen, she flopped into the rocking chair while Humph sat on the floor beside her, resting his head in her lap and enjoying her gentle, rhythmic pulling of his velvety ears. Soon sleep got the better of him and, with a harrumph, he eased himself down, laying his head on Kitty’s feet, and before long the kitchen was filled with the rumble of his snores.
James, who’d been sitting at the table opposite Kitty, jumped to his feet when the shrill whistle of the kettle sounded. ‘You look like you’re slightly indisposed, with Humph sleeping on your socks, so I’ll make the tea while you tell me what’s been happening. If you’re still up to it?’
I’m also here to say that Eliza has a fantastic international giveaway for a paperback copy of the letter which also includes these gorgeous treats.
If you’re not in it you can’t win it so get involved right now.