2020, Blog Tour, extract

Crazy for You by Domhnall O’Donoghue @Domhnall1982 @lovebooksgroup @MercierBooks

I’m pleased to be starting Monday with the Crazy For You blog Tour and I’m excited to be the first stop. Thank you once again to Kelly @lovebooksgroup and do be sure to check out the rest of the tour.

Blurb: When Clooney Coyle promises Vonnie Gallagher they’ll be friends for life, he has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. The lonely and eccentric Vonnie quickly becomes obsessed with the kind-hearted but insecure actor, and her misguided crush soon develops into something much more sinister, which leaves Clooney’s career in tatters.

But when fate takes a strange turn and elevates the pair into an overnight celebrity couple, Clooney must decide whether to embrace the fame he has longed for since childhood or end the ridiculous charade before Vonnie’s jealous – and murderous – inclinations spiral out of control.

Today I am please to share with you a snippet from the book….

Prologue 
Clooney stormed the hotel corridor, scantily dressed in a white singlet and matching boxer briefs. He gripped a phone in place of the loaded gun that had scorched his hands moments earlier. If the stakes hadn’t been so high, the vainglorious thirty-seven-year-old might have paused his rescue mission and stolen a glance at his impressive, tanned physique in one of the gilded mirrors lining the walls on either side. He might even have chanced a selfie to excite Instagram – the moody lighting in the property was particularly flattering. ‘The more flesh the better!’ his millions of followers would often comment on his hourly posts. He’d always been happy to accommodate – just not now.
Clooney’s late grandmother was to blame for his love of expensive undergarments – how many times had she said, ‘Everyone should own good quality pants unless you want to be embarrassed in the morgue’? And the morgue was precisely where he feared he would soon end up.
What the near-naked actor lacked in actual body armour, he made up for in steely determination. Such was the intensity of the situation, he wasn’t even aware of the bestial grunts escaping his mouth.
Thankfully, the exclusive ski resort was teeming with eccentric millionaires, all dab hands at behaving oddly; otherwise, Clooney would surely have received inquisitive glances – even been tackled to the ground by those fearful of terrorist attacks.
Ironic, given that the building’s only terrorist had fled moments earlier.
For now, nothing was going to prevent him protecting the woman he’d loved ever since he was in britches: the only person who had genuinely motivated him. Inspired him. Fascinated him.
Never in his wildest dream had he imagined he would one day be responsible for averting her assassination; the world’s most famous person.Yet here he was.
Breathless, Clooney reached the elevator and slammed the call button with as much energy as he could rally. As he waited, a disorientated lady waving a Bloody Mary slurred, ‘Nice bulge,’ before staggering past him, unconcerned that her potent vodka and tomato juice concoction was sullying the plush ivory carpet.
On an average day, Clooney couldn’t resist a compliment. Today, with his laser-like focus on saving a life, her praise went over his pretty head. Frustrated that the elevator doors remained shut, he hit the button for a second then a third and fourth time. ‘Jesus Christ, would you open!’ A waiter, delivering breakfast to one of the bedrooms nearby, offered Clooney an apologetic shrug.‘It is often busy in the morning,’ he said by way of explanation. ‘If you are in a rush –’‘I am in a fuckin’ rush –’‘Then you could always take the stairs. We’re only on the second floor.’Without so much as a thank you, Clooney cleared the corner and sprinted down the stairwell, five steps at a time. He could hear the waiter shout after him – ‘Would it be possible to get an autograph?’ – a request that would have normally gladdened the heart of this world-famous ‘trailblazer’, as The New York Times had recently referred to him. Again, not today.
How could you be so stupid, Clooney? He felt his forehead moisten, briefly reminding him of those horrid periods earlier in his life when he’d battled social anxiety; his body publicly and embarrassingly unravelling at the first hint of awkwardness: sweating, blushing, stuttering.
Remember all those invitations you turned down? Locking yourself in your flat, too self-conscious and panicked to even greet the postman? Well, you should have stayed put, you absolute cad, and then all of this drama could have been avoided!
He finally reached the foyer. Guests sashayed across the marble floors en route to the restaurant to sample the local Alpine cuisine. How Clooney envied them: their most challenging decision that morning was choosing between a bowl of muesli and a sliver of schinkenspeck.
Not that he could have entertained a morsel of food; in the past few moments, his stomach had become quite spirited, and he wanted to avoid discolouring his white underwear if possible.
As he hopped over a leather suitcase, cast aside by a new arrival too tired or too rich to position it out of harm’s way, he spotted her through the glass doors. Not the woman whose life he was trying to save but the woman – if you could even call her that – who was the cause of all these histrionics. Vonnie. His nemesis.
Despite resembling the Michelin Man in her over-sized ski gear, her menacing presence was clearly evident. She briefly locked eyes with him and winked coquettishly before disappearing in the direction of the slopes. Clooney had always known that the fame and adulation he’d craved since childhood would come at a price. It seemed that this wench – the supposed love of his life – was hell-bent on making him pay.
Pay the ultimate price.

About the Author: Hailing from Navan in the royal county of Meath, Domhnall is a graduate of the Bachelor in Acting Studies Programme, Trinity College Dublin, later completing a Master’s in Screenwriting at Dún Laoghaire IADT.

He now works as an actor and a journalist, dividing his time between Galway, where he films TG4’s award-winning series, Ros na Rún, Dublin and Venice, where he and his Italian lover continuously promise their well-worn livers that they will refrain from quaffing so much Prosecco. (Unfortunately, it seems some vows, just like nearby Rome, were not built in a day.)

Wine-drinking aside, for more than four years, Domhnall has also enjoyed the responsibility of being Assistant Editor at Irish Tatler Man, a title whose various awards includes Consumer Magazine of the Year. Thanks to this role, he interviewed a host of high-profile names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Chris Pine, Kevin Spacey, David Gandy, and Jacques Villeneuve.

Domhnall has written for the majority of Ireland’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the Irish Independent, The Irish Times and RTE Online. He also writes a monthly column in Woman’s Way, the country’s biggest-selling weekly magazine.

His first novel, Sister Agatha: the World’s Oldest Serial Killer, was released in 2016 to critical acclaim (Tirgearr Publishing). His second book, Colin and the Concubine, was published earlier this year by Mercier Press, Ireland’s oldest publishing house. Book number three is called Crazy For You and will be published once again by Mercier Press in June 2020.

Buy Links

https://www.mercierpress.ie/irish-books/crazy-for-you/

https://amzn.to/3bB0INJ

2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood By Heide Goody & Iain M Grant.

Today I am pleased to be on another of Kelly’s fantastic blog tours and this is a festive one. I’m sharing an extract I hope you enjoy it and as ever be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour. I hope this Tuesday treats you well.

Excerpt 1 

 

Guin looked out from the carousel ride. Her dad and Esther had already wandered off. There was Esther’s son, Newton, standing by the nativity scene. He saw her looking and gave her a wave. 

Snow was falling steadily now and it was a blurry screen against the wooden stalls and lights of the market. Through it, Guin caught a glimpse of long hair, big glasses and a hat with furry earflaps. It was the woman who had knocked her to the ground earlier. Guin felt a surge of anger. The bump had been an accident but that didn’t matter. Guin was eleven and bearing grudges took little effort.

The woman was still walking round with her nose in a book! She wasn’t even looking at the stalls! Guin tutted. People had no right to go wandering blindly around Christmas markets, not buying stuff and being a general hazard. The woman should buy something or go home.

Angry though she was, Guin couldn’t help but wonder what was so interesting about a book that could hold the woman’s attention completely. Guin suddenly wanted to know. The curiosity was threatening to overcome her anger, which made her angrier still. There was nothing an angry mind hated more than having its anger reasonably eroded by a more positive emotion.

The carousel slowed to a stop. Guin slid off Pokus the horse and down the wooden steps. Newton stood staring glumly at the nativity scene.

The woman with the heavy book trudged past Newton, each oblivious of the other. The woman had something dangling from the fingertips of the hand supporting the book. It was a five-pointed star, but no Christmas decoration. Even from a distance, Guin could see it was constructed from twigs and string, neatly bound and tightly secured.

Guin decided to follow her. “I’m here,” she said to Newton as she passed.

“Good. Good,” he said, still looking at the carved nativity. “Have fun?”

“Sure,” she said. The book woman was moving off through the crowd. “I’m just going to look at something for a minute.”

“Okay,” said Newton.

In the crowd, following the book woman was difficult. Guin was not tall and the afternoon shoppers pressed in closely, but glimpses of that flappy-eared hat drew her on. She saw the woman, cut away from the stalls and down a side route. However when Guin reached where the woman had been, she was gone. There was just a set of footprints in the settling snow.

They led up a dark and narrow alley between two houses. Here the snow had only fallen in a narrow strip down the centre of the alleyway. Above, the sheer white sky was a thin line between rooftops.

She didn’t see the book and the star on the ground until she’d almost stepped on them. The book lay open on the ground, collecting snowflakes in its pages. The star made of twigs and string lay next to it, like it had been dropped.

Guin turned about. The woman had gone. There were no people in sight at all.

“That’s weird,” she said. She picked up the book and the star.

It was possible she had simply dropped her book. People dropped things all the time. But this was definitely just weird.

 “Just a little way,” she said, under her breath, “and then we’ll go back and find Newton.”

The path behind the houses ran up to a drystone wall. There was something on the ground by the wall: a flat shape draped over the wall. It was hard to make out in the gloom.

Guin made towards it. The shape began to move, sliding slowly over the wall. Guin hurried.

When she got close enough to see what it was, she couldn’t understand what she was seeing. Dangling from the top of the low wall was what appeared to be an arm-length glove. It was a peachy pink, skin coloured. It wasn’t an actual human arm: it was floppy and rubbery and quite lifeless. But if it wasn’t an arm-length glove, in a perfectly realistic skin tone, what was it?

There was something else: fat and round on the ground in front of the wall. Guin recognised that.

As she hurried closer, the arm-glove slid away over the wall as though pulled from the other side. The hand seemed to wave goodbye before disappearing. Guin crouched by the fat round object. It was a big winter hat with furry earflaps. She picked it up. There was something red and sticky on the brim.

Guin heard voices on the other side of the wall. No, not voices exactly, but high-pitched chittering chattering noises that were very much like speech. She stepped closer. Between the top of the low wall and the sweeping boughs of the trees there was only a black-green darkness.

“Hello?” she called.

There was no reply.

“You left your hat here,” she said to the darkness.

There was nothing for several seconds and then Villast, útlendingur.

 The voices sounded close, like they were just over the wall, down by the mossy trunks of the nearest trees. Guin leaned nearer.

 Thank you once again to Kelly for including me on this fabulous tour. As I already stated be sure to check out the rest of the tour. I also want to take this time to apologise for my silence, life has taken over but I’m hoping to spend some of my day off writing reviews and penning posts to share with you all.

2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: In the Wake extract

Today I am pleased to be a part of the In the Wake blog tour….sorry it’s late in the day.

Blurb: When a body is found floating in London’s Royal Albert Dock, successful public relations expert Kay Christie is sent to quiet the media, but things get complicated when it emerges that she knew the victim.

As events spiral out of control, Kay discovers that those close to her may be harbouring another secret – the story of a missing girl. Can Kay discover the truth before her life unravels and she risks losing everything?

In the Wake questions whether we can ever truly leave our pasts behind and explores the lengths that we will go to protect the people that we love.

And now onto the extract that I’m to share with you today.

Kay’s mind was back with the body. She needed another look. She needed longer to go over the features of the face. It could be anybody. How could she see from up there? She remembered

the policeman. He was at a similar distance away. She could remember the cleft of a deep wrinkle across his forehead. Could she trust her own eyes?

Belinda turned down the television so Kay could only just hear the satisfying clonk of darts thudding into the board. The boat gave off an insulated hum of electricity. The tap dripped.

“Look, you’ll find this out tomorrow anyway. It’s a murder,” Belinda said.

“Murder?” asked Kay, feigning surprise. The only surprising element was that Belinda had worked it out so quickly. She really was rather capable.

“It’s a man,” said Belinda. Kay’s pulse quickened and her stomach turned over the wine, already too much wine. She felt acid rising into her mouth. Belinda’s news desk had been listening to police radio. They knew someone who worked at the mortuary. This person had been paid two hundred pounds to keep them informed. Belinda probably knew more at this point than the police. Kay wondered if she knew about her dad.

“One of the ears has been cut off,” said Belinda. “Apparently it is common in gang related murder.” All this talk of a severed ear. How had Kay missed such a crucial detail? She had only glimpsed for a few seconds. Was the ear the source of the foam on the face? No. That wasn’t at the side. The foam was at the nostrils and mouth. Kay had seen his left side and there was something wrapped around the head. Dark material. Yes. She had seen that. That must have been where the ear had been cut

off.

“You’re shivering,” Belinda said and she opened the stove to heap on another log. “Wasn’t carrying a wallet, unfortunately. We’ll get ID soon enough, got all my sources working on it. They’re pulling dental records now.” 

But Kay had missed what Belinda was saying. She had already got up and rushed to the bathroom.

It felt that Belinda’s boat, rather than being moored in Canary Wharf’s basin, was moving in a rough sea. Like it was being thrown around. But the storm was inside Kay’s head.

She made it to the sink and splashed water on her face and looked at her ashen expression in the reflection of a porthole. If Kay was right, if he was who she thought, she knew Belinda would recognise him too. His name repeated in her head: Lance Corporal Benedict Phillips.

 Be sure to check out the rest of the tour…

 

 

2019, Blog Tour, Blogtober, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: The Dead Of Winter by A B Gibson

Today I am pleased to be sharing two posts from two very different blog tours. See you get a delay from me and then bam two lots of goodness.

So without further ado I thank Kelly @ Love Books for inviting me on this tour. Today I will be sharing an extract from the book.

Blurb: Four young professionals pick the wrong weekend to visit a popular Pumpkin Patch Bed and Breakfast. It’s the last day of the season, and the weather and the farm are picture-perfect. Ma and Pa Winter are the consummate hosts, and they immediately win over Dillon, Tara, Josh and Julia with their homespun authenticity. Like the thousands of other visitors to Winters Farm and Orchard, the four are eager to pick apples and pumpkins and take the challenge of the Giant Corn Maze. But Ma Winter has other plans. A scary moonlight hayride spirals into a frantic twenty-four hours of deception and mayhem, and the group find themselves unwilling participants in a horrific family tradition.  

Dead of Winter purchase link

And here is the extract:

PA’S ROUGH, CALLOUSED HANDS HELPED steady the thirty-odd passengers up the steep and rickety steps of the old-fashioned hay wagon, where square bales lined the wooden fence-like railings for seating. The fresh, pungent aroma of the extra hay covering the floor added pleasant authenticity to the atmosphere, and a good whiff of Pas boozy breath added an element of danger.

The tall and ancient John Deere tractor with its rusted smokestack and pipes sticking out from all sides was reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting, and with giant tires as tall as Pa, the contraption appeared to be more than up to the task of pulling a wagon full of adults. To help seat her passengers, Ma used her flashlight like an usher, and she encouraged them to squeeze together and get cozy. Tara and Dillon found two bales next to each other and huddled under one of the quilts they brought along from the bonfire. Josh and Julia shared another, but they conspicuously did not huddle.

A nervous Carrie avoided eye contact with Ma as she boarded the wagon. She tried to slide unobtrusively on the bale next to Dillon, but Ma was quick to flash her light on an empty seat on the other side of the wagon and told her to sit there. “You know, for balance.” It was neither given nor interpreted as a suggestion, and Carrie reluctantly obeyed her order and made the switch.

Dillon lied to make her feel less afraid. “They probably shift people around all the time, like they do on small planes.” When Ma gave Pa a strange hand signal, he sensed another setup. “Uh-oh. This is going to be good,” he whispered to Tara.

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour

2019, Blog Tour, Book Snippet, extract, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence By Holly Hepburn

It is the greatest pleasure of mine to be on this blog tour for a book that well and truly got inside my heart. I will be sharing an extract and later you will also find out my thoughts on this beauty. Without further ado I’m going to hand over to my good friends Nessie and Sam at the Star and Sixpence although the menu invitation does not copy well…

Chapter One
A Taste of Autumn
at the
Star and Sixpence
The leaves are turning gold and there’s a chill in the air, so why not join our new chef, Gabe Santiago,
for an evening of smoky flavours and zinging cocktails as he introduces his new brand-new menu.
Booking essential. Thursday 25th October

It was a crisp mid-September morning, the kind that began with dewy grass but promised warmth as the sun rose higher in the sky. Nessie Chapman leaned back against the wrought- iron bench in the garden of Snowdrop Cottage and let her eyes drift shut. Soon, she’d have to walk over to the neighbouring Star and Sixpence and help her sister, Sam, welcome their new chef on his first day. But not right this second. She could steal a moment or two to appreciate the chirp of birdsong and gentle buzz of a nearby bee; Sam wouldn’t begrudge her that. In fact, knowing Sam, she might even prefer to be alone to greet the undeniably gorgeous Gabriel Santiago, although she’d insisted after they’d agreed he was the right person for the job that she was only interested in his prowess in the kitchen.
The truth was, Sam didn’t begrudge Nessie much. She’d cheered to the rafters when Nessie had finally got together with Owen Rhys, the blacksmith who lived next door to the Star and Sixpence, and she’d continued to cheer even when her own love affair with cellarman Joss ended in another tumultuous break-up. And she hadn’t objected a few months later when Nessie tentatively mentioned that Owen had asked her to move in with him, even though it meant Sam would be living in the pub on her own. She’d simply beamed in delight and declared that she couldn’t wait to have the place to herself.
There was a faint creak behind Nessie, alerting her that the back door of the cottage had opened.
‘A penny for your thoughts,’ a deep, Welsh-accented voice said.

Nessie smiled and opened her eyes. ‘If I had a penny for every time you’ve said that . . .’
Owen smiled back, his dark eyes crinkling beneath his coal-black brows and unruly curls. ‘You’d have around twenty pence, I expect. I should up my rates.’
He dipped his head to brush her lips with his and she felt the same familiar rush of delight mixed with incredulity that she still got every time Owen kissed her. Would it ever get old? she wondered, gazing up at him. It was hard to imagine at the moment, when every kiss still felt like their first.
‘So,’ he said, raising an eyebrow. ‘Do I have to guess what you were daydreaming about?’
Nessie laughed. ‘You won’t be surprised to hear I was thinking about the pub. Sam wants to make sure everything is gleaming for the new chef’s arrival.’
‘Ah, yes,’ Owen said wryly. ‘The much-anticipated Señor Santiago. I popped into the bakery yesterday and Martha was like a cat on hot bricks. I hope he’s ready to become Little Monkham’s new heart-throb.’
Nessie pictured the brooding Spanish chef and pulled a wry face. ‘Something tells me he’s already used to that kind of attention.’
‘I can imagine,’ Owen replied. ‘How does Sam feel about him?’
The question was innocent enough, but Nessie felt her- self bristle slightly at the implication behind the words; Sam had been at the centre of village gossip on more than one occasion in the past. Or at least her love life had. Then Nessie reminded herself that this was Owen, who didn’t have a gos- sipy bone in his body, and she forced herself to relax. ‘She’s looking forward to it, I think,’ she said cautiously. ‘We both are. He’ll be a breath of fresh air.’
Owen smiled. ‘He’ll certainly cause a lot of sighing, if his photo is anything to go by. Luke is hoping you’ll be able to sneak some puddings home.’
An image of Owen’s nine-year-old son popped into Nessie’s head; blond-haired and blue-eyed, he was the oppo- site of Owen’s dark Welsh looks, but they shared the same appetite. In fact, Luke didn’t so much eat food as inhale it and Nessie could just imagine him licking his lips at the thought of the kind of desserts that might be going begging at the end of the night in the Star and Sixpence kitchen. ‘I’ll see what I can do,’ she promised.
‘And now I suppose we’d both better get to work,’ Owen said, casting a rueful glance towards the pub. ‘You know where I am if your wonder chef decides to whip up an impos- sibly fancy lunch, although a decent steak sandwich would be just as welcome.’
Nessie laughed. ‘We’ll let him unpack before we start demanding meals, shall we?’
Owen accepted the teasing rebuke with a cheerful nod. ‘I suppose you’ve got a point. See you later, then.’
Dropping another kiss onto her forehead, he crossed the yard and disappeared into the forge.
Nessie sat for a moment longer, then roused herself with an inward sigh; Owen was right, she’d better get moving. Sam might not begrudge her sister’s happiness, but she definitely wouldn’t appreciate cleaning the pub on her own.
Nessie wasn’t sure she’d ever seen Sam as anxious as she was right before Gabriel Santiago was due to arrive. She paced the floor in front of the gleaming bar, casting fret- ful glances back towards the door that led to the newly fitted kitchens.
‘You did steam-clean the floor, didn’t you?’ she asked Nessie, running a hand through her usually sleek blonde bob. ‘After you’d done the oven and swept up the dust?’
Nessie summoned up her most soothing voice. ‘You were there when I did it, Sam. And I’ve double-checked the spare room, before you ask – everything is ready. All we need is the man himself.’
Sam checked the time. ‘He said he’d get here around ten o’clock, depending on traffic.’ She took a deep breath and glanced towards the spotlit bottles that lined the back of the bar. ‘God, this is stressful. Is it too early for gin?’
‘Relax, Sam,’ Nessie said, frowning a little. ‘Would it help to think of him as just another new employee?’
Now it was Sam’s turn to frown. ‘An employee who just happens to be an internationally respected Michelin- starred chef – one we’ve been boasting about for weeks. There’s a lot riding on making sure he settles in fast and sticks around.’
‘He’s also a professional,’ Nessie reminded her. ‘And he’s already inspected the kitchen, before he agreed to work with us. A speck or two of dust won’t scare him off.’
For a moment, Nessie thought her sister would argue, but then she sighed. ‘You’re right. I don’t know why I’m so worried.’
Nessie thought she knew: Sam had been different since her relationship with Joss had fallen apart. It had been a dif- ficult break-up – neither had wanted to accept that the bad times had begun to far outweigh the good – and Nessie sus- pected her sister had been considerably more hurt than she’d ever admit when Joss had made the decision to leave Little Monkham ‘for both their sakes’. He’d been Sam’s first serious love affair and the ensuing fallout had dampened her usual optimism, making her more wary of everything. Including, it seemed, their new business venture.
‘I thought I was supposed to be the worrier,’ Nessie said, her tone gently teasing. ‘Connor and Tilly will be here soon – they’ll get everything ready for opening. Why don’t we go upstairs and grab a cuppa?’
Connor was the burly ex-fireman who looked after the pub’s cellars, and Tilly was their nineteen-year-old barmaid; both were stalwart members of the Star and Sixpence team. And Nessie wouldn’t be surprised if Tilly’s mother, Martha, abandoned the village bakery to catch an early glimpse of the pub’s new chef – he’d been all she had talked about for weeks.
Sam puffed out a long breath. ‘Okay, deal.’
The first-floor rooms were a far cry from the gloom and woodchip wallpaper that had dominated when Nessie and Sam had first moved into the Star and Sixpence. The bedrooms hadn’t needed much; a lick of paint on the wood-beamed ceilings and plush new carpets to take some of the chill out of the early winter mornings. The kitchen had been another story – Sam hadn’t wasted any time in stripping out the boxy wall units and replacing them with something sleek and tasteful. The outdated appliances had gone too, including a fridge that was so vintage it had almost come back into style. In the living room, there were now two matching teal sofas that went beautifully with the oak coffee table and bookshelf, plus a flat-screen TV that Sam and Nessie had rarely found the time to watch. The rooms were still recognisably part of an old building but updated and modernised, in the same way that the pub downstairs was a fresher, more inviting version of the sixteenth-century inn it had been.
‘It’ll be weird having a flatmate again,’ Sam said, as they sat around the small table in the kitchen, sipping tea. ‘And even weirder that it won’t be you.’
‘I’m sure it will just be a temporary arrangement,’ Nessie said. ‘I imagine Gabe will want his own space too, once he’s settled in a bit.’
Sam gazed at her over the top of her mug, her expression pensive. ‘We are doing the right thing, aren’t we, Ness? Expanding the business, I mean.’
Once again, Nessie was struck by the reversal in their roles. Sam had always been impetuous and confident, while Nessie was more thoughtful and reticent. But those differences had grown less marked over the last year and not all of it was due to Sam’s broken heart; Nessie felt more settled in her role as the official landlady of the pub, in her place among the Little Monkham community too. Being with Owen had helped – his placid strength gave her something to lean on and the future no longer looked dark and unknowable. She could see the years stretching ahead, comfortable and safe, and the thought gave her more peace than she’d ever known.
‘Of course we are,’ she told Sam, with a smile of encouragement. We need to keep growing if we’re going to bring home that National Pub of the Year award.’
Sam nodded slowly. ‘I know. But are we being too ambi- tious? We could have gone for a lower-profile chef.’
‘We could,’ Nessie agreed. ‘But when have we ever taken the easy path? More importantly, when have you?’
Sam said nothing.
‘We chose Gabe because he’s a rising star – fresh and exciting and not afraid to take a few risks,’ Nessie went on. ‘Anyone can do good pub grub. We want more than that.’
‘Go hard or go home,’ Sam said, a wry smile tugging at her mouth. ‘Okay, you’ve convinced me all over again.’
The thud of feet on the stairs made them both glance towards the kitchen door. ‘Good,’ Nessie said. ‘Because it sounds like he might be here.’
Tilly appeared in the doorway, her cheeks unusually pink. ‘There’s a man at the door asking for you,’ she said, sounding flustered. ‘It’s . . . He’s . . .’

Nessie took pity on her. ‘Gabe Santiago, I presume?’ The barmaid nodded.
‘Thanks, Tilly, we’ll be right down,’ Nessie said. She
glanced at Sam. ‘Ready?’
Her sister lowered her cup and squared her shoulders. ‘As
ready as I’ll ever be.’
   

Be sure to pop in for a drink with the rest of the gorgeous tour. I will be posting my review later.

2018, Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Blood White and Blue By James Silvester

I’m so sorry I had two content slots and a review that should have been posted up yesterday and this one was sadly forgotten so without further ado here is the extract that I’m hosting. Though she had only intended to be out for an hour, several more had passed before she had put the key in her lock and begun the unfairly tortuous climb up the stairs to her flat. She had left Della still in top form, throwing back shots and chatting up waiters and waitresses alike, but while her new friend appeared able to weather the storms of excessive alcohol consumption, Lucie knew her body well enough to know she needed at least some sleep if she were to make it to the airport with the clear head she always needed to travel.

She awoke with the entirely expected but always unwelcome dry mouth and unsettled stomach, thanking The Lord in her morning prayers for at least sparing her the chore of packing, having not yet emptied her bag from her unexpected move. Eschewing her typical shower and barely rubbing her toothbrush against her teeth, lest it trigger another round of the pounding in her head which had failed to endear itself to her moments before, Lucie settled for a quick basin wash and a good dose of deodorant. Likewise, she reasoned that a change of underwear was not yet essential and certainly not worth the nausea inducing neuralgia it would provoke. Keeping her neck as immobile as possible she dressed herself in jeans and patterned shirt, texted for a cab and made her way slowly downstairs.

After having directed the cabbie through the drive thru window of the nearest fast food venue and having swiftly consumed something vaguely egg flavoured atop something else the talking box into which she had placed her order insisted to be sausage, Lucie began to re-join humanity. The cab driver was friendly enough and sufficiently worldly-wise to understand Lucie’s delicate state and so kept his cheery banter to a minimum, rightly expecting that the size of his tip would correlate significantly with the brevity of his conversation.

The car eventually swept into Heathrow and after suitably rewarding the driver for his understanding, she made her way into the terminal and through to the Departure lounge. Lucie took her time, still not wanting to aggravate the debilitating ache across her eyes with excessive movement, all too reluctant this morning to bear the punishment of a body whose warnings she had ignored the night before.

Walking too slowly to politely avoid the grim faced and despondent newspaper vendor, she took the proffered free copy and slipped it into her bag while she searched the terminal for the increased rarity of a coffee large and strong enough to satiate her, but which would not require a mortgage application and three forms of ID to procure. Finally locating something on the more modest side of overpriced, Lucie squeezed between the bickering couples and drunken groups to perch herself on a wooden stool beside the border rail, from where she could view the departure boards and observe the multitudes as they dashed from here to

there, desperate to embark on what, depending what provision the far from secure ‘Brexit Deal’ made for airspace agreements, could be their last foreign trips for some time. Taking a sip from the scalding coffee, she pulled out the freebie paper and grimaced, immediately regretting her decision.

There they were, lined up between the pages, pontificating on the economic downturn that was beginning to bite and leaving readers in no doubt which people – or groups of people – were to blame. Quotes were fired like inflammatory bullets, as though those speaking them were engaged in some hateful competition, the winner of which would be crowned undisputed champion and defender of the ‘Will of the People’, whatever that was interpreted to be that month, with all who defied them forever condemned as traitors and enemies to be vilified and loathed.

Lucie scanned their comments, which variously within the same article condemned immigrants for laziness and benefit dependency, while taking jobs away from the indigenous population and pressurising emergency services, despite the NHS relying on them to function. One particularly fatuous remark sought to blame certain communities for wasting police time by insisting on reporting hate crimes against them. The ignorance did little to ease Lucie’s hangover and she was about to toss the paper to one side when she turned the page and her eyes were drawn to a picture of the man she was flying to meet, Sir Geoffrey Hartnell MP.

The picture took up a good portion of the page’s top half and was accompanied by a ‘humorous’ feature line reading ‘A Grave Affair’ and a few reams of text, short on minutiae but knowledgeable enough to sketch an outline of the bizarre scenario. The infamous Alexander Huxley – a man thought to be dead – had threatened Hartnell’s life and with the popular MP about to fly to Prague on a personal mission of goodwill, was the government right to be treating this lightly?

Thank you Kelly for this slot and I’m so sorry for the delay…

2018, Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Picking Up the Pieces By Jo Worgan

I have a number of posts that will come up today. Please bare with me but first up is Picking up the Pieces. I’m lucky to share with you an extract from Picking up the Pieces.

The book on Kate’s lap remained unread, a Nordic noir thriller that no longer held her interest. She was restless. Shadows flickered on the walls from the glare cast by the small round lamp that was nestled among the yellowing paperbacks on the bookshelf. She should really be writing up her articles, but she couldn’t concentrate. All she could think about was the phone call, and if she was being truly honest, those piercing blue eyes belonging to the new next-door neighbour.

The phone call had unnerved her, shaken her. It had taken her back to all those years ago, when she had been a different person, a completely different person to the woman she was now. She did not want to be that woman again. She had checked her phone, once Sam was safely tucked up in bed, to see if there was a number logged, but it had been blocked. That’s what really bothered her. The fact that whoever it was didn’t want her to know their identity. It had to be Jake; she couldn’t think of anyone else who it could be. But how did he get hold of her number?

Kate pulled the crocheted blanket, a mess of woollen blues, yellows and reds, that scratched her skin, further around her shoulders. She was far too tired to think straight but although exhausted, she knew that sleep would not come.

Jake, her ex-partner, the man who had made her life a living hell. It could very well be him. She thought that she had got away with it. How stupid was she? Nothing was ever that simple. After six years, she had grown complacent. She was less careful; she should never have let her guard down. Paranoia was beginning to set in. Kate had made sure that all of the windows were locked when she came home with Sam; she had checked twice. Now, she could feel the fear overcoming her once more, and she could not let it, not again. He would never again have that power over her.

No, it wasn’t Jake. It wasn’t him. Kate kept repeating this mantra to herself, in the hope that she would believe it.

It was nearly 11:00 p.m., but Kate decided to make herself a cup of tea to take up to bed with her. Tea always had the power to soothe. She was not sure why that was so. Perhaps it was the ritual of making it? Or the fact that she could drink it from a sturdy brown mug, with two teaspoons of sugar. She switched the kettle on and hunted out the teapot. Staring out of the kitchen window, she saw the trampoline bathed in shadow; it looked so forlorn in the darkness. She shook her head; she would need to fix the fence tomorrow, meaning that she would have to go to the large industrial park at the edge of town and pick up some large wood screws, or whatever they were called. It was her responsibility, the fence; it was on her side of the garden. Perhaps she could ask Matt to help? But no, Kate thought, that wouldn’t be fair. If she asked him then he would probably feel obliged to do the work, so no, she would fix it herself.

Kate heard Sam shuffling about above her in his room – he’d not yet settled. She had left him to settle himself. She would check on him in a little bit. Sometimes she found him asleep in his sensory den, lying on all the soft cushions, toys draped over his sleeping body. It was always a military operation trying to gently lift him back into bed without waking him.

The kettle beeped. Kate picked it up and poured the boiling water into her bright yellow teapot. It was one of the very first items that she had bought when she moved into the house all those years ago. She loved the colour – it was bright, cheerful, carefree. It was how she wanted to be, how she wanted to feel.

She waited for the tea to steep, the water slowly turning brown.

She thought of Matt. His eyes, his eyes were so blue. She had never seen eyes quite so blue before and they stirred something deep within her, within her soul, something that had long been buried. It would, however, take her a long time to trust another man, and anyway, she had Sam. He was her priority. He was her life now.

She picked up the teapot and sloshed the brewing tea about a bit before pouring the scalding liquid into her favourite brown tea cup. She spooned in two heaped teaspoons of sugar and then taking the cup, went up the creaky stairs to the safety and warmth of her bed. She believed that there was something quite magical about lying in a warm bed, nestled under the covers. Nobody could get you there; the outside world was miles away. Maybe these thoughts stemmed from childhood? Hiding under the bedcovers so that the bogey man couldn’t get you. Many emotions, thoughts and feelings came from those hidden recesses in the mind, locked away from childhood days gone by. Kate knew that they made us who we are.

Her thoughts then drifted to her gran, and of how she would tell Kate bedtime stories about the times when she was a little girl, growing up in the war. Kate smiled at the memory. She missed her gran.

Kate switched on the bedside light and picked up her tea. Everything was now quiet from Sam’s room. She sipped her tea,

enjoying the sweet bitter taste. She briefly closed her eyes and an image of Matt appeared. She hated to admit it, but there was an instant invisible attraction between them. But she had been so flustered, so preoccupied with finding Sam and making sure that he was safe that she knew that she had come across as rude and almost aloof. What must he have thought of her? Did he see a worried mother, or a woman who appeared cold and uncaring? Kate had no idea, she just hoped that he didn’t think that she didn’t trust him. Could he have thought that? Kate held her head in her hands, suddenly weary with it all. She felt awful now; she didn’t even thank him properly. She was just so frazzled, with the phone call and then not seeing Sam. If she hadn’t received that phone call, then things would have played out very differently. He may even have liked her.

Thank you Kelly for including me once again…

2018, Author Love, Blogtober, Book Snippet, Guest Post, Uncategorized

Guest Post: Sweatpants at Tiffanie’s By Pernille Hughes

Thank god its Friday I don’t always get to use this phrase and soon I probably won’t get to but this week I’m off after today. I plan to have as chilled a weekend as I can after doing something to my back earlier in the week. I’ve missed all my classes this week and I’m not happy about it but the hot water bottle is helping loads.

Today I am pleased to share a gorgeous snippet of Sweatpants at Tiffanie’s. I haven’t had the chance to read this yet but it’s definitely on that ever increasing TBR. Over my weekend I hope to get some organisation to my life some reading, TV and some work for my up and coming exercise course.

Not only do I have a bit of the novel to share I also have a brief explanation from Pernille on her inspiration for Sweatpants at Tiffanie’s.

So here is Pernille…..

It took me a while to find where my writing voice lay. I tried children’s novelty books, picture books, Teen books and Young Adult. Randomly I spotted a regular column in a Sunday paper of short holiday romances and spent a little while dissecting it. I thought I’d have a go and sent one off for the fun of it. They actually bought it. And then they bought thirty five more over the next two years. During that time I saw a tweet for a writing competition, which was offering three story slots in an anthology to sit alongside a raft of known romance writers’ holiday-themed short stories. I wrote one, entered and came runner-up. At that point, I realised that perhaps Romance was where my writing voice lay. (Yes, yes I know, I am slow…)

So I started thinking about writing a full length romance novel. But where do you start? I noticed many Women’s Fiction titles are film or song titles, or puns on film or song titles. I happened to see a trailer for Breakfast At Tiffanie’s on the TV and wondered what a pun on that could be. Sweatpants At Tiffanie’s popped into my head and then I sat thinking what that story might be about. After that there was much scribbling of notes and much much later I now have a book. I wanted to write a story with a modern woman, ordinary but eventually strong, who wasn’t clumsy or ditsy. And I wanted her to be in a scenario which wasn’t necessarily what the reader would be expecting given current trends; it’s not about cosy cottages, or baking or Cornish coves (which are all great, by the way, just not what I can write). Of course that meant that some publishers didn’t really know what to do with my story, and weren’t willing to take a chance on it, but Harper Impulse did– Hurrah!

In the book, Tiffanie gets dumped by Gavin her boyfriend on their 10th anniversary, and she finds herself both heartbroken and homeless. She holds onto the fact that she still has her job, bookkeeping at a vintage boxing gym. Only, Blackie, the owner, drops dead the next day. (He’s having a bad week too…) To top it all off, Mike ‘The Assassin’ Fellner, world-champion boxer and Tiff’s previous ex rocks up at the wake and they are sparring from the off, leaving Tiff properly rattled and highly annoyed she didn’t get her roots done, because the last thing you want is to look ropey when your famous first love is in town, looking all smart, successful and bulging biceppy.

To Tiff’s shock Blackie leaves her his gym in his will and Tiff, who is neither fit nor sports-inclined, has to decide whether she can take it on, especially when others are telling her she isn’t capable. She isn’t totally unsupported though, Tiff’s best friend Shelby is a powerhouse of positivity and tough love and merrily kicks her through any self-pity. (God bless sympathetic friends like that…)

As she grapples with the gym, Tiff gets to examine the life she’s been living in a safe but dependant relationship, and learns that she’s the one who decides what she’s capable of and what her limits are.

Here’s the first two chapters. I really hope you enjoy them!

It took balls to dump someone on your anniversary, but that was one of the things Tiffanie had always admired about Gavin: his single-mindedness and determination (not his balls as such, because he’d recently developed a thing for all-over waxing and she’d never been quite sure).

‘So today felt like the right day to draw it to a conclusion, Tiff,’ he said, scoping his eyes over his plate, the steak still steaming from the skillet. Usually she liked the smell of steak, tonight it made her want to hurl. ‘Closure, you know? Neat and tidy. So when you look back on it you’ll know it was ten years exactly.’ Tiff couldn’t quite work out why that would be relevant, but it seemed logical to Gavin.

‘What about when you look back on it?’ she asked, totally dazed and not a little confused. She’d been delighted when he told her they were going to Lorenzo’s; their usual table booked in the bay window. She’d bought herself a new dress to mark the occasion. Ten years. Many marriages didn’t last that long.

Marriage. That was where Tiff thought the night might head, as she’d given him a handmade card that morning and a new watch. He’d simply thanked her, kissed her forehead and deposited the box on the bedside table. She figured he’d wear it later to the restaurant where he’d give her Forever in return. That’s what she’d thought.

‘Me?’ he asked surprised, as if the notion of recalling their relationship after tonight hadn’t occurred to him. ‘I’ll think we had a decent innings. A neat ten-year package.’ He popped a chunk of steak into his mouth, and she watched as his delight at the taste crossed his face.

‘But why?’ she asked, at a loss. Gavin was her Everything. ‘Why does it need to be a package? Why can’t we carry on?’ While he saw some neat package, all she could see was her world unravelling and changing. In Tiff’s experience, change was rarely a good thing.

Gavin sighed deeply. He took his time chewing the meat. Gavin had always been a keen masticator.

‘We’ve been over this, Tiff.’ He’d been talking for some time, calmly and persuasively, but she’d zoned out approximately when, instead of saying ‘I love you and will you do me the stupendous honour of being my wife?’, he’d pronounced the words, ‘Tiff sweetheart, we’ve had a good run, I think we should call it a day.’ Everything thereafter was a foggy haze.

‘We’re going different places, Tiff. You’re happy where you are, but I’ve got ambitions I need to realise, and it’d be unfair to drag you through all the stress I’m going to face. You’ll be happier without all of that.’

‘You’re dumping me, so I can be happier?’ This did not make any sense. Despite a disrupted education, Tiff had always thought herself quite a bright, logical thinker and this sounded bonkers.

‘Not dumping, Tiff,’ he insisted, throwing an eye-roll in for her apparent crassness. ‘More like setting free.’

‘You’re setting me free like some orphaned animal?’ She pinched herself, in case it was a hallucination. Nope. Maybe if she stabbed her thigh with her fork…

‘Hmm, okay, no,’ Gavin conceded, ‘maybe more like protecting you from pain to come.’ He seemed happier with that analogy and took another mouthful of the steak. Tiff looked down at her lasagne. Never had comfort food looked so unappealing.

‘But Gav, I’m willing to support you through any stress. That’s what being a couple is about. Supporting each other, right?’ She needed to understand how he saw this as sensible, before she could suggest how nonsensical it truly was. Breaking this down to basics seemed the logical way to go. She wasn’t used to this, the disagreeing with Gavin. He was a born leader and she’d always considered it a blessed part of their relationship. She didn’t know where she’d be now – in life that is, not this bizarre conversation – if it hadn’t been for that.

‘’Course it is, and we’ve done that, haven’t we? I’ve supported you through all the stuff with your parents, but I couldn’t put you through more. I need to do this alone, for your sake.’

Honestly, Tiff couldn’t make head nor tail of it. She was fighting an awful lump in her throat and her eyes were rather stingy.

‘For my sake?’

‘Definitely,’ he nodded and attacked his food again.

She didn’t want hers anymore. Lorenzo’s lasagne was epic and she always chose it, even though she’d known it wasn’t the smartest idea. The dress she’d splashed out on was a snug fit. Shops had obviously started changing their sizing again.

‘After ten years together, Gav,’ she asked carefully, keen not to offend, ‘are you really choosing tonight and here, where we had our first date, to tell me you want to end it?’ Putting it as plainly as that, surely he’d see how ridiculous it was? And if not ridiculous, then at least appalling. Tiff was confused; he’d never been either of those two things before. In Tiff’s world Gavin was simply the best thing since sliced bread.

‘Start on our new paths,’ he corrected, underlining it with a gesticulation of his knife. Tiff watched the splat of horseradish sauce land on her wine glass.

‘New paths,’ Tiff repeated, ‘which are in opposite directions.’

‘Well, more like mine is moving forward,’ Gav said, giving it due consideration, ‘and you’ve already reached where you want it to be, I think. That’s probably quite lucky, you know. Reaching your point of equilibrium. I’m still searching. I may never find it, Tiff, all I know is I need to try.’ Tiff had never gone looking for her equilibrium before, least of all assessed its status. She looked down at her lap, where she’d twisted her napkin to the point of fully wrung-out. It matched the feeling in her chest. Lorenzo’s choice of melancholy violin music wasn’t helping.

‘Have you been watching those life coaching DVDs again, Gav?’ She didn’t know why he was so addicted to them. He’d brought more home this week, with some cap-toothed tosser in a sharp suit evangelising about ‘finding your path, pursuing it with tenacity and fortitude and casting off the deadwood from your life’. Not for a second had Tiffanie considered that she might be the deadwood.

Gavin abruptly stopped chewing. ‘They talk a lot of sense, Tiffanie,’ he said, affronted and treating her to a rare view of his semi-chewed food, ‘They teach you to focus. If I want to attain a state of contentment like you, then I need to focus, and not get distracted.’

‘You … you think I’m a distraction now?’ How had she gone from partner to distraction in the matter of fifteen minutes? At this rate she’d be rendered a fleeting acquaintance by dessert. The sense of her life evaporating before her made her sway.

‘Sweetheart,’ he smirked, ‘you have always been a distraction…’ Momentarily, Tiff’s heart fluttered. If he still desired her then …, ‘But I need to be stronger now. For both of us.’ He punctuated the sentence by wolfing his last morsel. Breaking up clearly wasn’t affecting his appetite.

‘What makes you think I’ve reached the end of my path?’ she suddenly asked. ‘What makes you think mine isn’t the same as yours?’

‘It isn’t,’ he stated as if it was the most obvious thing in the history of obvious things.

‘It might be,’ she said, hoping he’d reconsider. ‘How would you know?’

‘You’ve settled, Tiff,’ he said, looking at her intently. He came across, she had to admit, as utterly sure. ‘You’re comfortable, and you’ve stopped striving. And that’s great for you. It really is. I’m delighted for you.’ His benevolent smile supported every word he said. ‘But I need to go on. I haven’t found my place yet.’

‘You’re leaving?’ she whispered. Was this really what he was saying? Really really? ‘You don’t mean we have a break while you follow this path?’ Even the thought of a break left a wrecking ball-shaped dent in her lungs, but she was scrabbling around in damage-limitation mode. Everything was coming apart at the seams.

‘No, sweetheart. Never go backwards. You know that. I walk slowly but I never walk backwards, Tiff. Abe Lincoln.’ He took the moment to refill his wine glass. Tiff had hardly touched hers, but was suddenly overcome by the need to neck the entire glass in one. It still left her mouth feeling dry. ‘And,’ he added gently, ‘technically the flat is mine, so…’ It was enough to make her choke.

‘You want me to leave?’ she heard herself squeak. Her head was swimming now. Tiffanie felt she was a reasonable woman. She’d generally been realistic about life since she’d moved out of her mum’s at seventeen. All things considered, she could easily have gone off the rails. But she hadn’t; she’d found herself maths-tutoring jobs to fund herself through college, she’d got her bookkeeping qualifications, and she’d managed to build up her tiny but loyal roster of clients. That said, she’d only ever lived at home and then with Gavin. GQ-handsome estate agent Gavin, who had been her knight-in-shining-armour and saved her. He, their flat and work were her life. With such a focused world, how exactly had she missed it going pear-shaped?

‘I knew you’d understand,’ he nodded, mopping his plate with a tear of bread. ‘But look, I’m on that residential thing next week, so you’ve got time to find somewhere new or Shelby’ll have you, I’m sure.’

‘But Gavin,’ Tiff started, now utterly desperate, ‘I love you. Yes, I’m happy, because I’m where I want to be – with you.’

Gavin nodded gently along. ‘Sure.’

‘Sure what?’

‘Sure, that’s the place where you’re at. Contentment. That’s what I’ve been saying.’

‘But then what’s to change, Gav? Isn’t that what people strive for? Happiness. Contentment. Being with the person they love?’

‘Yes.’

And then it hit her like a frying pan in the face.

‘Oh. So what you’re saying is, you don’t love me. All this stuff about setting me free, is you saying you don’t love me and you want me gone.’ Her voice had gone up a couple of decibels and octaves, as the full horror set in. If he didn’t want her, then where did that leave her? It wasn’t just the rug he was pulling out from under her, but the entire planet. Everything she now was, was down to him.

She was aware other diners were beginning to discuss them, their furtive looks not nearly as subtle as they thought. Lorenzo’s was one of those quiet intimate restaurants, all subdued lighting and discretion. Not the appropriate venue for a heart-wrenching meltdown.

‘Of course not, Tiffanie. Calm down. I’ve loved you for a long time – still do – and that’s why I can see we need to end. I haven’t fulfilled myself yet and I need to. I can’t take you on this journey.’

‘You can’t mean that, Gav,’ she gulped down with a sniffle, the tears now threatening to get the better of her. ‘That can’t be right.’

‘That’s the truth, Tiffanie, and being honest, I’m rather disappointed you aren’t wanting me to be happy and content like you.’

‘I’ve always wanted the best for you, Gav,’ she said, as one fat tear broke over the rim of her eye, rolling morosely down her cheek and into her Béchamel sauce.

He laid his hand on hers and gave it a brisk squeeze. ‘Then I know you’ll agree to do this calmly and rationally. We shouldn’t fight about this, we’re above that, aren’t we?’ It was true, they didn’t fight. Never had. She’d always followed his lead, confident he knew best. Which had her so conflicted now, on top of the abject misery and disappointment.

In the end, what depleted any resistance she might have had was the recognition that when you stripped it all down, he didn’t want to be with her, and given his presence of mind, he’d known this for some time. Essentially, Gavin had been clearing his path for a while, and she’d missed all the signs.

‘Is there someone else?’

‘No, there’s no one else, Tiff,’ he sighed wearily.

‘You simply don’t want me.’ Her shoulders wanted to let her head hang, but fear of being an embarrassment forced her to hold her chin up.

‘I simply know our journey has come to an end.’

Looking at him now across the table, she knew he was decided. After precisely ten years, everything she had depended on, gained security from, was over. And while he thought he was offering her closure, in fact she felt only loss, exposure and pain underlined by one key question; what would she do – what could she do – without Gavin?

The flat felt odd as soon as she walked in. Nothing tangible was different and yet everything had changed. It was no longer their home. Everything would be divvied up as either his or hers. While she currently moved like a shell-shocked automaton, soon they’d be tiptoeing around each other, being cordial. Only it wouldn’t even be that, seeing as he wouldn’t be there. His course started in the morning.

Smoothly sliding off his jacket, Gavin headed straight for the bedroom. Tiffanie stood in the lounge unsure what to do. She urgently needed to bury herself under her duvet, armadillo into a ball and sob her heart out. She figured she’d wait while he got his pillow from their bed. There was a chenille throw over the sofa-arm he could use; surely, as the injured party she got first dibs on the duvet?

‘Look, we’re both grown-ups, we’ll share the bed tonight, won’t we?’ Gavin called from the bedroom. ‘I’m up early tomorrow, so I’ll need the sleep and the sofa won’t cut it.’ He stuck his head back around the door. ‘Unless you want the sofa tonight? The bed’s all yours for the rest of the week.’

Tiffanie eyed the sofa. It was Gavin’s pride and joy; a long black leather monstrosity, all cubey and no comfort. He believed it made the space look like a loft, but it was the pits for curling up and watching telly. Even Newsnight wasn’t meant to be watched sitting bolt upright.

‘One night,’ Tiff told herself. ‘You can do this.’ One night next to the man she loved who apparently didn’t want her anymore. One night holding back the sobs racking around inside her body. She could manage that, she reckoned. Silently she walked into the bedroom, grabbed her PJs and changed in the bathroom.

Normally they’d lie sprawled loosely around each other. She liked it best when he had an arm or a leg thrown over her. It made her feel safe; anchored in life. Until now he’d been her point of stability. Tonight Gavin lay on his back, arms draped easily across his chest, having fallen asleep with insulting ease.

Tiff itched to have some contact with him, but felt she couldn’t when his mind was so made up. She could see the silhouette of his suitcase. He’d obviously packed it knowing when he left the following morning, he’d be walking away from their shared life.

Mind churning in the dark, she suspected she hadn’t put up much of a fight. She’d instinctively recognised his persuasive It’s a done deal frame of mind. She’d seen it so many times; furniture, restaurants, brands, and essentially, if it was important to him, then it was important to her. After all he’d done for her, she valued his happiness above all else, so what did one swanky venue matter over another? One snazzy chair was probably as good as the next. (Except for the sofa. That bloody thing had always been a mistake.) The conclusion she came to, as she lay staring at the ceiling at 02.42, was she hadn’t sufficiently defended their relationship.

Show him what he’ll be missing, she thought, knowing he wouldn’t be budged by any argument. Show him how good we are together.

Slowly, veeery slowly, she began to wiggle her PJ bottoms off. Getting the long-sleeved T over her head wasn’t hard, given how stretched out of shape it was. She froze as Gavin emitted a low snore, but used the next one to cover her rustling as she shimmied down the bed to his feet.

She kissed the ball of his ankle. Feeling emotionally frail already, his toes felt beyond her capabilities tonight. There were limits.

Gavin didn’t flinch as she continued with fairy kisses around his ankle, then up his calf to his knee, where she noted his skin, if not his mind, was beginning to sense something was afoot. Emboldened by this, she continued in an enthusiastic upward projection.

Sex had never been one of the areas in which Tiff felt particularly proficient. She’d met Gavin having only had one partner, which had primarily been teenage fumblings culminating in a highly-orchestrated and disproportionately-brief losing of virginities. At the time, she’d thought this one-off event was a sound base on which to build what could become an epic repertoire. Circumstances had altered that course.

Gavin, in contrast, was experienced; he knew what to do and what he liked. Feeling she wasn’t in any position to critique, Tiff had embraced the positive opinion that by following his lead she’d side-step a lot of awkward experimenting and possible faux pas. Over the last decade, their moves had been firmly cemented. Surely that was a good thing, knowing what worked? ‘Dull routine,’ Shelby called it, but then her best friend had dated, bedded and graded most of Kingsley.

Tonight though, Tiff was going to have to give Gavin something to think about while he was away. She was going to give him the proverbial ride of his life.

God, she wished she’d had more to drink.

She woke to the front door shutting. Nothing dramatic, but hardly closed with any worry of disturbance. A note lay on the other pillow. She smiled dozily. He wasn’t sliding out without a goodbye. Her efforts hadn’t been in vain. The smirk stretched across her face as she recalled snippets of the night; how she’d reached his groin to find that clearly the idea of sex with her was still a point of interest on his supposed path. When she’d felt his fingers threading through her hair encouraging her on, something in her had flipped, sending her into overdrive, as she employed every move she could remember him ever requesting.

On other occasions she’d woken up feeling self-conscious, but not this morning. Emotional rollercoaster as the previous evening had been, with the sun now streaming in through the window onto the mussed bed, Tiffanie felt brave and vindicated, slightly slutty and bloody good about herself.

‘You were a vixen, Tiff, a sex minx,’ she told herself. She’d fought her corner, she’d shown her man what he’d seriously considered passing up. She’d excelled herself. She didn’t quite know where it’d come from, but more importantly, though the whole event had happened without a single word, Tiff knew they’d understood one another implicitly.

Intrigued, she slid her hand up to snag the note with her fingertips. Obviously he wouldn’t be apologising, that wasn’t his style at all – shows weakness, Tiff, weakness gives others opportunity. He’d most likely gloss gracefully over the whole thing, tell her when he’d be home, and she could return to life before dinner last night. Flopping over onto her back, she unfolded it.

Didn’t we go out with a bang?!

That was the perfect closure.

Thanks and all the best.

Gavin.

2

‘He’s an arsehat, Tiff,’ Shelby stormed down the phone when Tiff, through snot-bubbling tears, explained why she wasn’t heading to work. They usually chatted on their respective ways in, insisting it was multi-tasking. But chatting had been dropped this morning, in lieu of Tiff’s keening account of what had occurred at Lorenzo’s, followed by Shelby’s barked orders to get up, get dressed and get moving. Tiff and Shelby were ardent advocates of tough-love. Judging people on reality TV had taught them that. Which was fine when each of them was comfortable in their own lives. Right now though, huddled under the duvet, phone clutched limply in hand, Tiff wasn’t feeling the benefits.

‘I … I can’t,’ Tiff sobbed, proper ugly-crying. She felt like an empty shell. An empty shell covered in lashings of humiliation.

‘You can and you will, babes,’ Shelby insisted, and hung up. Next thing Tiff knew, there was an insistent banging on the front door, which revealed a mission-set Shelby, work-ready in her beautician’s uniform. Brooking no argument, Shelby frog-marched her through the dressing process until Tiff was vaguely presentable and moving along the street. ‘No man, especially that one, is going to bring your life to a halt. It’s a principle thing.’

Shelby had always thought Gavin was a tosser. She had, in fact, been very concise and consistent about this since Tiff had first introduced them. Tiff put it down to an extreme personality clash. Shelby, with her magenta hair, had a fairly extreme personality.

‘I hate to say I told you so, babes…’ Shelby started, as she pulled Tiff along.

‘Then don’t. You’d be one of those mean, small-minded people.’

‘Fair enough,’ Shelby agreed. ‘Some things don’t need actual saying.’

‘That’s just as bad, Shelb,’ she sniffed. Perhaps telling Shelby had been a mistake. Not talking about it at all – bottling it up to fester inside her and make her bitter and twisted until years of expensive therapy finally released it – suddenly held more appeal. ‘Best mates do sympathy.’

‘You don’t need sympathy, Tiff. You can’t see it yet, but this is the best thing that’s happened to you in ages. Since you met me, probably. You need support. That’s what I’m here for.’

‘Gavin was my support,’ Tiff moaned, the tears starting again. ‘He’s been my rock.’

‘Still an arsehat,’ Shelby stated. ‘I don’t know why you can’t see it, Tiff. It’s like you have a blind spot where he’s concerned.’

‘No, Shelby. You just don’t like him. You never have and you refused to try. You see him through mean hole-picky glasses. He loved me. He sorted my life out, made it stable,’ Tiff insisted. ‘He saved me, Shelbs.’

‘Pff, he fancied you and you were a trophy.’

Had she had any spirit left in her, and had they not already been swimming in salty tears, Tiff would have rolled her eyes at that. It was years since she’d felt like any kind of trophy. The local lads had been interested in her looks in Year Eleven, but she’d been devoted to her sixth-former boyfriend at that point, so they didn’t stand a chance. Then, that summer, everything had turned to crap and she’d gone from queen bee to hitting rock bottom. Miraculously, Gavin had swept her off her feet, helped her escape, shaped and nurtured her and the rest was history. Right until now when, as it turned out, it was Tiff who was history.

She couldn’t cope with this. The tough-love was proving too much. ‘Shelby. Shelby, please. Be nice.’ It was a truly pathetic, but heartfelt plea, which nature chose to dramatise by turning on the rain.

That was typical weather for the town though. Kingsley was one of those forgotten towns, wedged between hills, bypassed by newer roads and shielded from the buzz and prosperity of bigger neighbours. Although within visual range of the coast on a fair day, it lay beyond the thrill of the seaside; too far to smell the salty air, but close enough for seagulls to come a-crapping when the sea got choppy. Looking in either direction there was an air of ‘Look what you could have had’ for the residents.

Shelby stopped in her tracks.

‘Oh babes. I’m sorry.’ She enveloped Tiff in a hug. ‘I really am. It kills me to see you like this.’ Tiff realised how in need of a hug she was. Could they spend the whole day like this? ‘You’re like some ghostly, wraithy shadow of your true self.’ That was exactly how she felt. Wraithy. Shelby stepped back but held onto Tiff’s arms to look at her. ‘And now, having totally repressed you, Gavin drops this bullshit on you, to top it off. It sucks. But I promise we’ll get you through it and bring back the real Tiff.’

‘Enough Shelby!’ Tiff snapped, pulling away to start walking again. Why couldn’t Shelby see Gavin had been good for her? Ten years of good.

‘You can stay at mine, obvs,’ Shelb offered, catching her. Tiff pulled her hood over her head so Shelb couldn’t see her almost break down anew. Shelby’s studio flat was the size of a stamp and the thought of living away from Gavin threatened to bring her to her knees.

‘Thanks Shelbs,’ she said, trying to control her emotions and look less deranged to passers-by, ‘but I can’t share a bed with you. You talk dirty in your sleep.’ She wasn’t joking. Humour was way beyond her.

‘The futon?’ Shelby suggested, neither insulted, nor denying it.

‘Yes, if I can’t find somewhere before he’s back.’ Tiff knew that futon. It was a back breaker. Maybe with copious wine to numb her senses…

‘Why didn’t you come straight over last night? Arsehat. Him. Not you. Obvs.’

‘It was late. I thought perhaps I could convince him.’ Tiff cringed at the memory.

‘So long as it was just talking,’ Shelby said. ‘Remember my cousin Simon? Ditches his girlfriend on a regular basis cos he reckons she ups her game in bed to claw him back. Works every time. She’s such a sap.’ Tiff knew cousin Simon, the guy was a douche.

Turning out of Grange Road she saw her destination with relief. If she wasn’t allowed to nurse her devastation in bed, then at least she might be able to hide in her numbers. Numbers were stable. You knew where you stood with them. That’s why she loved her work, which was a good thing, as currently it was all she had.

‘Laters Shelbs.’ Feeling every inch the sap, Tiff kissed her goodbye before Shelby could say more about cousin Simon. She had put it all out there for Gavin and he’d put it firmly back in its box. Argh, thinking about it made her want to curl up and die. She was going to look up ‘humiliated’ and ‘mortified’, to see which best applied. What must he think now? Sweat bloomed at the thought; on her league table of fears, ridicule was securely in the medal spots.

Blackie’s Gym was Tiffanie’s favourite client, by virtue of being her first client and because of Blackie himself. Knocking eighty now, he’d been a friend of her late grandparents. He’d given her a break when she needed one, and she’d always be grateful for that. Plus, they genuinely got on well for the three days a week where she did his books in the office above the gym.

Blackie’s wasn’t your modern kind of gym, with treadmills and MTV on monitors. Blackie’s was a vintage-throwback boxing gymnasium, out on the Eastcote Road. Firmly in the rougher edge of town, the gym sat on a small commercial estate, most of which was rundown and scheduled for development. Not Blackie’s though. Local nostalgic sentiment, underpinned by Blackie’s obstinance, meant the place was as good as listed. The three-storey building, which could only be described as an ugly black block, had been getting scallies off the streets and into the sport for generations. Blackie’s view was if lads were going to fight they might as well do it with rules and dignity. There wasn’t a grandad or dad in town who hadn’t set foot in Blackie’s ring at least once in their youth.

‘Morning B,’ she sighed as she passed his desk, pausing only to drop him a kiss on his bald pate. Crying exhausted her. This marathon of tears had her depleted.

‘Morning love,’ he answered in his rasping voice, the result of shouting at errant youths since his thirties. ‘What’s making you sigh this morning? Weather?’

‘Hardly,’ she mumbled. ‘Takes more than a little rain to get to me.’ She’d hoped she could deflect him, but he was having none of it.

‘That man of yours?’ Blackie wasn’t a fan of Gavin; another one who wasn’t, but then no-one else knew him like she did, knew what he’d done for her. Loyalty aside, she couldn’t help but let her shoulders sag. Her entire body wanted to follow suit.

‘He’s not my man anymore, Blackie. He ended it last night. Said we had different paths in life.’

Blackie fixed her across the small office with a long stare, assessing the situation. ‘What a prat,’ he finally pronounced.

Tiff turned away, busying herself at her desk, thankful it faced the wall. Blackie wouldn’t see the wave of panic as she felt the need to weep again.

‘How long’s that been?’

‘Ten years. Exactly.’ She plumped into her seat and with shaky fingertips touched all her things on the desk, checking them, owning them, showing herself some things at least, were constant. Soon this would be the only space she belonged to.

‘Jesus,’ he muttered. ‘That’s longer than my marriages.’

The first Mrs Black had been a decent woman, though a force to be reckoned with. She’d given Blackie the kick up the backside to establish the gym in the first place. Had a bus not felled her, she would have defied any illness life threw at her. His marriage to the second Mrs Black wasn’t a resounding success, but knowing the gym to be a lucrative business, she’d done her utmost to cling on.

‘Still, you’re young,’ he went on, ‘and you’ve no bairns, Tiff. You can move on, find someone who’ll appreciate you. Like I do,’ he added, with a chortle, which became a wheezing fit.

On auto-pilot, Tiff fired up the computer. While it churned itself on, she stared at the screen trying to contain the impending wail in her throat. It was way too early for the ‘plenty more fish in the sea’ speeches. It was also too soon to hear how everyone always considered Gavin a prat, though she’d been unable to prevent that too. For once it made her stand up for herself.

‘Gavin is a brilliant guy, Blackie,’ she said, without turning around. She couldn’t do this face to face. ‘He’s driven, hardworking and focused. He looked after me, gave me a home, loved me, and sorted my life when I needed it. I could depend on him. He helped me grow as a person, he was always suggesting ways I could improve myself. And while he might not believe in flowers, cards or Valentine’s Day,’ Tiff paused only to gain her breath, but it was long enough to catch Blackie’s audible gasp behind her, ‘he’s always remembered my birthday, which was more than Mum’s done for the last decade. So please Blackie, just for this week, could you not say anything about moving on or about how I can do better?’

The room was filled with silence and Tiff knew he’d taken her words on board. She could feel the contriteness behind her. Blackie didn’t offer an apology, but then she loved him and she didn’t require one. She felt better for having said her piece. He might not judge her so harshly for being with Gavin. After all she had Shelby for that.

They spent the next hours in silence, as Tiff stared at the subscription fees, trying to reconcile the figures and sort the tax, but failing in all of it. Nothing seemed to go in and the cogs had ground to a halt. Normally this was child’s play to her. Blackie was a stickler for his tax, insistent he’d pay his dues to the Queen, and never owe a penny. Tiff regularly wished others closer to her had shared the same principles. How different her life might have been…

At eleven o’clock she gave up. She figured the silence between them had gone on for long enough, and it was time for a truce.

‘Cuppa tea, Blackie?’ she asked, turning in her chair.

Blackie was staring at her, but there was no recognition in his eyes.

She was across the room in seconds. Holding his already cold hand as she knelt by his chair, she tried not to think about how long he’d been sat there, lifeless, behind her.

*

‘D’you think sunshine is technically possible at funerals?’ Tiff asked, distracting herself from Shelby’s outfit. It was more of a Friday night clubbing dress, but at least it was black.

‘Dunno. It’s always been this lame drizzle at the ones I’ve been to. How hard can it be to commit one way or the other?’ The dove-grey sky over the church perfectly complemented Tiff’s inner status: ‘bleak with a risk of downpour’.

Kingsley being a small town, Tiff knew the majority of the congregation. Shelby knew at least half of them intimately and enthusiastically greeted them all, even snapping selfies with a few. Everyone, it seemed, had wanted to give Blackie a good send off. Considering he had no blood relatives, Tiff felt Blackie would’ve been chuffed to bits with the turnout, although he wouldn’t have been convinced by Shelby’s Instagram and Twitter coverage.

Despite being barely inclined to pull a brush through her hair that week, Tiff had managed most of the arrangements herself. He’d left clear instructions with his solicitor and oldest mate Eric Leonards, who stood with them at the graveside. Blackie had pre-paid for everything, including the after-do at the Pig & Whistle down the street from the gym.

‘Well, he knew what he wanted and he got it, I think,’ said Leonards. They’d all sat together in the left-hand front pew. The second Mrs Black and her scowling son had taken residence in the front right. To all intents and purposes she’d acted as if there’d never been any divorce, let alone a screaming train-wreck such as theirs.

‘She looks like a mafia widow,’ Shelby had whispered for at least four rows to hear.

‘I doubt those tears are real,’ Tiff said more discretely out the side of her mouth. Personally, she wasn’t sure she herself had any left, such was the near-constant outpouring in the recent days. If she wasn’t weeping as she sorted Blackie’s arrangements, she was sobbing over Gavin. It was tear tag. Fake tears would’ve been handy.

‘Not a chance. Pure crocodile – to match her shoes.’ Tiff sneaked a glance. They looked expensive and spikey. Much like their owner.

Tiff had met her before when she appeared in the office demanding advances on her spousal allowance. Tiff failed to see what Blackie had been thinking getting involved with her, but then as Shelby had noted, he probably wasn’t thinking, at least not with his head. She was, whilst being bereft of any virtuous qualities, in possession of a mind-boggling set of boobs. Well, thought Tiff benevolently, Blackie was only human.

‘You’ve done a sterling job, Miss Trent. He’d have been over the moon with all the people who’ve come,’ Leonards now said to Tiff, rubbing the remnants of grave soil off his hands.

‘Well, by his age he’d met enough,’ Shelby pointed out, ‘He’d had a decent innings.’ Tiff hated that phrase this week; Gavin’s words echoed constantly in her ears. ‘Right, who’s for the pub?’ Shelby said, clapping her hands together. ‘I am gagging for a drink.’ She headed towards the cars.

‘God, I hope there’s enough money behind the bar,’ she muttered. Leonards chuckled behind her.

‘It’s all taken care of. The landlord will pass on the bill if there’s a shortfall.’ He paused, then said gently, ‘You should relax now, Miss Trent. It’s been a difficult few days.’

Tiff nodded. It had indeed, on the grand scale of pants, been a steaming pile of a week. Aside from grieving for Blackie, lamenting Gavin, forcing herself to visit her two remaining clients and overseeing the funeral at super-fast speed under Blackie’s instruction of ‘get me sorted quick as billy-oh’, she’d been trying, unsuccessfully, to find somewhere to live.

All the rental properties she’d had details for looked shocking. Maybe she wasn’t desperate enough yet. A week on Shelby’s futon would sort that no doubt, but for now she allowed herself to procrastinate; crawling into her own bed for the final few nights and blubbing uncontrollably. She’d think about the future tomorrow.

Leonards squeezed her shoulder as they passed through the gate. ‘I need to see you, Miss Trent, regarding the will. Is Monday morning 9 a.m. convenient?’

‘Me?’ Tiff asked, surprised, but then she supposed it made sense; there’d be the financial records to hand over to whoever inherited the gym. Would it be very bad form to offer her continued services to the new owners? What was the etiquette on touting for business at will readings?

‘Miss Trent?’ Leonards interrupted her thinking, making her feel guilty. What sort of a person thought about scoring work out of their dead friend? A bad one, she answered herself. An imminently skint and homeless one, she countered herself back.

‘Yes, of course. I’ll be there,’ she said and tried not to groan. Pulling the paperwork together would easily consume the hours she’d allowed for flat-hunting. But handing over a decent report was the least she could do on Blackie’s behalf, and who knew, they might ask her to stay. She chided herself again for the profligate thoughts. This wasn’t who she was. She hoped she could attribute it to the lack of sleep; she was so tired she could hardly walk straight.

‘Yes,’ Leonards continued, ‘Blackie recognised the support you’ve given him. It shouldn’t be a surprise he’s left some words for you. Just look,’ he gestured at the dispersing crowd, ‘you did that. For him.’

Tiff’s eyes followed his hand. She’d only done what anyone would have done for an old man who didn’t have any family to speak of. Well, maybe not the second Mrs Black, but anyone else. For all her posturing in the church, she’d briskly detached herself from any organising when Tiff had called her, asking only to be informed of where and when. It sent a chill down Tiff’s spine how someone could behave like that. Pulling her jacket closer, her eyes came to rest on a figure standing to the side of the church porch.

Tall and broad-shouldered, the man stood with his hands clasped reverently in front of him. Next to him, on the most gravity-defying heels Tiff had ever seen, stood a younger blonde woman with her hair hanging loose, almost down to the hem of her skirt, which ended just under the curve of her bottom. It was safe to say Blackie was no longer the focus of the crowd’s attention.

But Tiff’s eyes were on the guy. The way his head was cocked slightly to one side, looking at her, appeared deliberate. At first, she hoped he’d remove his sunglasses to give her a better look at his face, work out why he was gazing so intently at her, but as she focused on his features; his shaved dark hair, his tawny brown skin, she realised he wasn’t in fact wearing any. He was simply sporting two shockingly-fresh black eyes. A couple of the other boxers wore a bruise or two from recent bouts, but nothing as severe as this. The way he stood, totally still, made an already exhausted Tiff anxious. It’d been a tough day already and now this.

Realising she was staring, Tiff dropped her gaze and started making her way beside Leonards.

‘Tiff! I’m dying here,’ Shelby shouted from the car, oblivious to the disapproval from other mourners. ‘My mouth’s as dry as a corpse.’

Much as she would’ve preferred to look away and disown Shelby at that precise moment, the alternative was to look back at the man. Something about him was bothering her, but the punched eyes convinced her she didn’t want to know what that was. Local economy being what it was, Kingsley wasn’t without a criminal element and Blackie’s Gym hadn’t always turned out the most upstanding characters. Some had, Blackie was sad to say, been beyond reformation and gone onto careers in less salubrious or legitimate fields. What with everything else, Tiff felt she had enough on her plate and scuttled on.

Thank you Pernille for joining me today I cannot wait to read this in full.

2018, Blog Tour, Blogtober, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Wyld Dreamers By Pamela Holmes

As promised the second of today’s shamefully forgotten blog tours.

Blurb: In the summer of 1972, a group of friends is invited to Somerset to help photographer Seymour Stratton renovate a dilapidated cottage on Wyld Farm. Over the next year the group come to regard the farm as offering them a place to be for the rest of their lives, to enjoy ‘the good life’. But despite the commitment and camaraderie the rural idyll collapses.

Twenty-five years later, the group is brought together again in unexpected circumstances. Can events of the past be forgotten? Or will the secrets that are revealed devastate once unbreakable friendships?

Buy Link

https://amzn.to/2DDrSao

Twitter Handles

#PamelaHolmes

@UrbaneBooks

#Lovebooksgrouptours

I’m lucky enough to get another glimpse into an authors life…without further ado I give you Pamela Holmes.

My Publishing Experience

Good fortune plays a part in life, I guess, and it certainly did when it comes to my experience with publishing. I’d written a draft of a novel and had approached four agents picked from the Writers’ and Authors’ Yearbook and was thrilled when literary agent, Laura Morris offered to represent me. We discussed next steps, various publishers were considered and approaches made. But when I saw Matthew Smith, publisher of Urbane, speaking at an event on the future of publishing, his passion for publishing convinced me I needed to explore further. He spoke about his commitment to working closely with authors. Laura contacted contacted Matthew with the manuscript and then we waited. Not long, I’m sure, but being on tenterhooks, it felt to me like a millennium.

The Huntingfield Paintress now sits on bookshelves in shops and libraries. But that sentence does not describe the complex process that turns words typed on to a page into a printed or electronic book. Though familiar with printing having worked as a journalist and written a book on alcohol (Heinemann Library), I hadn’t expected to be involved and consulted about the book’s covers, typeface, colour and so on. Writer friends published by the other publishing houses say this is rare. Now my second book, Wyld Dreamers, is about to arrive in the world. Again, I’ve seen it being created from the raw copy on my computer screen into a physical book that I will hold in my hands. I hope I will see it reviewed, blogged about, sitting on shop and library bookshelves and being read by people I do not know.

The process has been thrilling, testing, time-consuming and absolutely worth it. I’m pinching myself.

Thank you once again Kelly and I’m so sorry for the delay.

2018, Blog Tour, Blogtober, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Chasing Monsters By Paul Harrison

Today I am pleased to share not one but two blog tours but me being the super organised blogger I am hadn’t realised and had been blissfully ignorant on a fabulously book filled day out so without further ado.

I give you post number one….Chasing Monsters.Blurb: The first thrilling book in the Will Scott series.

In a sleepy northern seaside resort, The Eastborough Police Force is shocked into action when a heavily mutilated body is found in a quiet suburb. Murder rarely happens in these parts. Within a short space of time, the body count begins to rise rapidly, as a serial killer runs amok.

DI Will Scott is tasked with finding the murderer. In so doing he treads paths he never expected to traverse and uncovers a web of deceit where no one can be trusted.

The killer relentlessly continues to strike terror across the community, but without warning, the killing ground changes. Where will the killer strike next …?

Buy Link

https://amzn.to/2NTiNOw

Twitter Handles

@PHarrisonauthor 

@UrbaneBooks

#LoveBooksGroup

I am here to share a snippet of the book….

Mel had taken the kids out shopping to allow Will to catch up on some hard-earned sleep and said she would bring something home for dinner. Will loved the way that, having been in the job herself, she understood the demands of the work. He had barely dropped off to sleep when his mobile rang. He reached out and answered it.

‘Hello, this is DI Scott.’ It was Steve Fletcher. ‘Sir, sorry to bother you, I think you’d better call Detective Superintendent Kilpatrick straight away, he’s asking to speak with you directly. Sounds extremely urgent.’

‘Did he say anything else?’

‘No sir, just that you were to call immediately, he sounded as though he was in a good mood if that means anything? He’s on pager 314.’

Will made the call knowing that the DS would be questioning him about all aspects of the case and reminding him that the first 48 hours are the most important in any investigation.

‘Sir, It’s me, Will Scott.’

‘I gather you’ve got your hands full at the moment with this murder. Are you getting all the support you need from the Divisional Superintendent?’

‘Yes, sir, he’s fine. It’s the Chief Inspector whose acting like a spanner, he’s already tried to pull rank about resource issues and uniform overtime budgets. He doesn’t seem to understand the practicalities of policing, he’s a number cruncher.’

‘Well, that’s easily sorted. With immediate effect, I’m temporarily promoting you to Detective Chief Inspector, that’s backdated pay and pension from yesterday when you took control of this case. I will circulate a memo to all senior officers and staff right away. I’ve spoken with the Chief and he agrees. This is your case Will, I’m off on holiday for three weeks from tomorrow, so the decisions are all yours. Don’t let the bureaucrats grind you down Detective Chief Inspector Scott. Understand?’

Will wasn’t sure what to say but needed some assurance that he would still be allowed to lead the CID team from the front. ‘I don’t want to be one of those desk-bound chief inspectors boss, pushing paper around all day with no real purpose. I’m at my best out on the ground working within the rank and file, catching crooks.’

‘Will, it’s a title only to give you additional authority, it isn’t substantive. I never have liked the rank of Chief Inspector, it’s neither something or nothing. A halfway house which sits uncomfortably on the police landscape. You make the role what you want it to be.’

Will thanked him for the opportunity. After the call ended, his mind went into overdrive, the temporary promotion was great but he still had a murder case to solve. He was certain that somewhere within Roberts’ background there was likely to be something that would help crack the case. The phone buzzed again, this time it was a voicemail message. ‘Sir, it’s Daisy Wright here, sorry to disturb you, but I can’t sleep. I’m heading back into the office now. If anything major comes up I’ll call you on your home number, if you need me to come and pick you up later today, let me know. Bye.’

‘Fuck it,’ Will exclaimed. Daisy wasn’t the only one who couldn’t sleep. He quickly showered and got dressed before making his way downstairs to the kitchen. Making himself an espresso, he felt restless yet excited. He needed a reassuring hug from Mel to help gets things into perspective: temporary promotion and Senior Investigating Officer in a murder case in less than 24 hours, it was too good to believe.

He was pacing, constantly clock watching. The minutes seemed to be dragging by. He recalled a time when a now retired DI had told him that every minute is valuable in a murder investigation, yet here he was, drinking coffee and doing nothing remotely useful to catch Allan Roberts’ killer. He had to go back into work.

He picked up the phone and called Mel. ‘Darling, it’s me, how are you?’

His wife was surprised by the call. ‘I’m fine, so are the kids, why are you up?’ The sound of his wife’s voice gave him a warm feeling inside.

‘I can’t sleep, there is so much going through my head, and … guess what? Detective Superintendent Kilpatrick just rang me, he’s given me temporary promotion to the rank of DCI, and I’m being paid at that rate.’

Mel was thrilled by the news and at the same time she was aware that her husband was pushing himself extremely hard, promotion and to be in charge of a murder investigation was huge kudos. She also knew that Will wouldn’t want to let anyone down and would push himself to the very limits. ‘Will, that’s fantastic news, but listen to me for just a moment. You need to rest, can you remember the man who once told me, I work to live, not live to work? That was you, don’t make yourself ill over this murder, please, promise me. You have a wife and two children who love you very much, you mean everything to us, remember that. I know what’s coming next, you are going back into work aren’t you? Well, listen to me for once, take it steady, don’t damage your health over some filthy dead paedo.’

Thanks once again to Kelly @lovebooksgroup for including me in another fab blog tour.