#BlogTour! #Extract from ‘Sleep’ by C.L.Taylor (@CallyTaylor) @AvonBooksUK

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It’s TWG’s turn to ‘sleep’…or not! I have an extract of C.L.Taylor’s new novel, Sleep, for you all today! Many thanks to Avon Books for the blog tour invite. I have everything crossed that I can get to this soon!!

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All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

Extract.

Maybe I shouldn’t go for the marketing director job. Maybe I should give up work, leave Alex and move to the countryside. I could go freelance, buy a small cottage and a dog, take long walks and fill my lungs with fresh air. There are days at work when I feel I can’t breathe, and not just because of the pollution. The air’s thinner at the top of the ladder and I find myself clinging to it, terrified I might fall. Freddy would love it if I did.
Squeak. Swish. Squeak. Swish.
Get. Home. Get. Home.

The hail is falling heavily now, bouncing off the windscreen and rolling off the bonnet. Someone snorts in their sleep, making me jolt, before they fall silent again. I’ve been driving behind the car in front for a couple of miles now and we’re both keeping to a steady seventy miles an hour. It’s too dangerous to overtake, and besides, there’s something comforting about following their red fog lights at a safe distance.
Squeak. Swish. Squeak. Swish.
Get. Home. Get. Home.

I hear a loud, exaggerated yawn. It’s Freddy, stretching his arms above his head and shifting in his seat. ‘Anna? Can we stop at the services? I need the loo.’ ‘We’re nearly in London.’ ‘Can you turn the heating down?’ he adds as I glance from the rear-view mirror to the road. ‘I’m sweating like a pig.’
‘I can’t. The heater on the windscreen’s not working and it keeps fogging up.’
‘I’m going to open a window then.’
‘Freddy, don’t!’
Anger surges through me as he twists in his seat and reaches for the button.
‘Freddy, LEAVE IT!’

It happens in the blink of an eye. One moment there is a car in front of me, red tail lights a warm, comforting glow, the next the car is gone, there’s a blur of lights and the blare of a horn – frantic and desperate – and then I’m thrown to the left as the car tips to the side and all I can hear is crunching metal, breaking glass, screaming, and then nothing at all.

Buy now from Amazon.

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#BlogTour! #Extract – Envy by Amanda Robson (@AmandaRAuthor) @AvonBooksUK

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Another busy day here at TWG – thank you for joining me! First up is an extract from ‘Envy’ by Amanda Robson. Thank you to Avon Books for the blog tour invite. Before I share the extract with you all, here is a little bit more about the book itself. Enjoy!

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She wants your life – and she’ll do anything to get it…

Erica has always wanted to be exactly like her neighbour, Faye: beautiful, thin, and a mother. But Faye’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems – she has a terrible secret, and slowly but surely, it is threatening to destroy her and everything she holds dear.

When Faye’s daughter Tamsin goes missing after school, the police turn to Erica. But is Erica the only one who has been enviously watching Faye? Or is there another threat hiding in the shadows…?

Buy from Amazon!

Extract.

Saturday morning. On my own for the weekend as Mouse has gone to see his dad. His
dad’s name is Angus. Angus is tall, much taller than Mouse. Handsome, like a grey-haired
Robbie Williams, with a ready smile and a rectangular face. Mouse looks a bit like him but not quite. Everything about Mouse is not quite. His problems really messed him up when he was younger, but now he is thirty, after special schooling and help from his father, he has learnt to cope with living in society. He recognises signs of emotions now. He understands how he needs to respond to comply. He has a raw honesty in his reactions that I find refreshing.

Saturday morning. Up super-early. Yoghurt and fruit for breakfast. Out for my run.
I count to ten, take a deep breath and start. Fifty paces walking slowly, watching my legs
wobble as I move. Fifty paces walking quickly, heart beginning to pound. Running next,
breathing quickly. The running hasn’t killed me yet. Walking again, the fat on my legs
vibrating. Quickly, quickly, heart pulsating. Running again, stabbing pains lacerating my
sternum. A stitch-like pain like an iron staple to the right of my groin making me bend over as I walk. How am I going to make it twice around the park?
Visualise. Visualise. I try to picture my rolls of fat. Visualise. That is what it says in my self-help book. I visualise the rolls of fat that circle my back. The lumps of cellulite nestling on mybuttocks. The loose skin folds on my inner thighs. Visualising.

Forty-nine. Fifty. Walk fast. One, two, three . . . Jogging, jogging around the park.

#BlogTour! #Extract from #TheForgottenVillage by Lorna Cook (@LornaCookAuthor) @AvonBooksUK

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Today is TWG’s turn on ‘The Forgotten Village’ blog tour, and I am super excited to be sharing an extract from Lorna Cook’s novel. Thank you to Avon Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Before that though, here is a little bit more about the book and the all important ‘to buy’ link. Enjoy!

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1943: The world is at war, and the villagers of Tyneham are being asked to make one more sacrifice: to give their homes over to the British army. But on the eve of their departure, a terrible act will cause three of them to disappear forever.

2018: Melissa had hoped a break on the coast of Dorset would rekindle her stagnant relationship, but despite the idyllic scenery, it’s pushing her and Liam to the brink. When Melissa discovers a strange photograph of a woman who once lived in the forgotten local village of Tyneham, she becomes determined to find out more about her story. But Tyneham hides a terrible secret, and Melissa’s search for the truth will change her life in ways she never imagined possible.

Purchase now from Amazon

Extract.

Melissa looked around briefly as he cast a spell over his audience.
‘The village was requisitioned in its entirety,’ he looked down at his notes briefly, ‘with a promise to be returned during peacetime. Perhaps there should have been a tad more contractual detail about exactly when in peacetime.’ He gave a smile and the crowd laughed enthusiastically. Melissa pressed her lips together, stifling a smile.

‘Tyneham holds a special place in my heart.’ He was sombre now, and the crowd’s mood changed with him. ‘I was brought up only a few miles from here. My grandmother came from Tyneham, and she was here when the announcement came that she, her friends, family, and employers would all have to leave.
I’ve heard first-hand how she felt, but for everyone involved it was different. I’ve always thought the coming together of a community as it was being ripped apart was tragically ironic.

‘But now we get to see the village once again, not as it was, but as it is now. While you can walk the streets, the buildings are damaged by time. Only the church and school are intact and open to the public and I encourage you inside both, to see photographs of the way the village used to be and other exhibits.
But for now, seventy-five years after it was requisitioned, I’m happy to declare Tyneham Village officially open.’

With the sound of clapping once again, he stepped off the stage and a young woman, visibly overjoyed to be part of the proceedings, handed him an enormous pair of ceremonial scissors. He looked taken aback at the sheer size of them and said something to the woman, which made her roar with laughter and flick her hair. He snipped the ribbon and it fluttered to the ground.

At that, the surge started and visitors were shown through by guides in luminous yellow jackets. Melissa watched the crowd head through the gate, but waited for the bottleneck to disperse before she entered the fray. She watched the TV personality as he chatted affably with a handful of visitors. He posed easily with people for photos and signed copies of books, which Melissa assumed he must have written. He smiled throughout and she thought it must be exhausting being a celebrity: the permanent smile and the
demands on you by the public. As soon as one doting fan left Guy Cameron’s side, another appeared. Melissa cast him a final glance before she slipped past him and through the gates, into the forgotten village.

An hour and a half later, a golf buggy whizzed by Melissa and took a turn ahead past the derelict village square. She was rifling inside her bag looking for a non-existent bottle of mineral water to quell the beginnings of a headache. Her head snapped up to see the historian, whose name she had already forgotten, on the buggy, looking incredibly embarrassed as he overtook the tourists. He gave a few of them a little wave of recognition and Melissa laughed, half wondering why he didn’t just go the whole hog and give them a royal wave.

#BlogTour! #Extract – My Sister’s Lies by S.D.Robertson (@SDRAuthor) @AvonbooksUK

It gives me great pleasure to welcome S.D.Robertson back to TWG today, on day 12 of the blog tour for his new novel, ‘My Sister’s Lies’. Before I share an extract from the book, here is a little bit more about about the story itself:

For a decade, Hannah’s life has been pretty close to perfect – she has a great job, she’s married to Mark, and her child-free existence means she’s free as a bird. The only sadness in her life is a fall-out with her sister Diane, who hasn’t spoken to her in over ten years. But now Diane is on her doorstep – and this time, she’s got her teenage daughter Mia in tow.

When Diane asks if Mia can stay with Hannah and Mark for a few days, Hannah is glad of the chance to get to know her niece. But as the days turn into weeks and Diane doesn’t return, Hannah begins to worry. Why hasn’t her sister been in touch?

Diane is carrying a devastating secret that will destroy Hannah’s carefully constructed life. But how much is she willing to reveal – and when will she pick her moment?

Extract.

Instead, despite everything that had gone before, she’d instinctively hugged them both in one go and proclaimed how wonderful it was to see them. It had felt weird and awkward, so she’d ushered them inside, sat them down in the lounge and rushed to the kitchen to make a pot of tea. Because what the hell else was she supposed to do?

That was exactly the question she’d intended to ask her husband when, while in the kitchen alone, she’d phoned his mobile. Unfortunately, she’d got his voicemail, meaning he was probably in a meeting.

‘Mark,’ she’d said, trying to keep her voice steady as she left a message. ‘Please get home as soon as you can. I’ve got a situation here.’ She’d taken a deep breath before adding: ‘You won’t believe this, but Diane and Mia have turned up. They’re here in the apartment right now. Call me.’

From her seat opposite the visitors in the spacious lounge, Hannah’s eyes moved from Mia’s low-hanging fringe to Diane’s continued nail biting and then on to her mobile, sitting next to her on the right arm of the chair. Come on, Mark, she thought. Phone me back so at least I have a good excuse to leave the room again. She’d already been to the toilet once and returned twice to the kitchen to get sugar and biscuits.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Extract from #BadSeed by Heleyne Hammersley (@hhammersley66) @BloodHoundBook @LifeBookish

Stepping in last minute to take part in the Bloodhound Books blog tour for ‘Bad Seed’ by Heleyne Hammersley. Before I share an extract, here is a little bit more about the and the all important ‘buy’ link:

When the body of a woman is discovered near Doncaster’s red light district, DI Kate Fletcher is called to the scene. 

The victim has an abdominal wound that looks like a Caesarean incision, leading the police to believe she may have been pregnant.

Kate’s team establish the woman’s identity but it soon becomes clear that those close to her have something to hide.

The post-mortem reveals the victim wasn’t pregnant and, when a second body is discovered with similar wounds, the police realise they are hunting for a serial killer with a sinister fixation.

Can Kate solve the case before another woman dies?

And can a ruthless, methodical killer be brought to justice?

Buy now from Amazon UK

Extract.

DI Kate Fletcher unbuttoned her jacket, breathing heavily in the humid air as she studied the scene in front of her. The body of a woman was lying on her back amid the lush vegetation which bounded much of Doncaster’s Town Fields like the hair around a monk’s tonsure. The body was surrounded by crimescene technicians who continued their work as Kate approached. She kept back beyond the blue-and-white crimescene tape and followed the step plates with her eyes, knowing that she wouldn’t be welcome to approach until she’d donned protective clothing.

She could make out dark hair and pale limbs but little else from where she was standing, as the body had been dumped amongst nettles and cow parsley that were as high as Kate’s waist in full June growth.

‘What have we got?’ she asked the nearest overall-clad figure. He turned to face her and she recognised her colleague, DC Barratt. He took a couple of steps towards her and lowered the hood of his overalls, messing up his hair and revealing patches of pink scalp through the thinning strands.

‘Body of a woman. Looks like she’s about thirty or so. Undressed from the waist down so possible sexual assault, but obviously we won’t know until the test results are back.’

‘Cause of death?’ Kate asked.

Barratt glanced round at the other people attending and then lowered his voice. ‘They haven’t been able to establish that yet but there’s a whacking great wound in her abdomen. They were just debating whether it was pre- or post-mortem when you arrived. There’s also bruising round her neck and throat so strangulation’s another possibility.’

Kate nodded and glanced again at the body. She was tempted to find a set of overalls and get a closer look but she didn’t want to undermine Barratt. She knew that there would be photographs and notes and she also knew that Barratt’s report would be fastidiously detailed.

‘Who found her?’

Barratt gestured to a support van parked on the running track that went around the top section of the field. A man in sports clothes was sitting on the back step, nursing a cardboard cup of something that Kate hoped was hot and sweet. Another of her DCs, Hollis, was standing next to the van but he didn’t appear to be talking to the man.

‘Bloke over there with Hollis. He was setting up a football training session for a team of pre-teens. Does it at weekends and in the school holidays. Thankfully he found the body before the kids arrived.’

Kate thanked Barratt and crossed the grass to the van where the man had stopped studying his drink and was looking up at her expectantly.

‘DI Fletcher,’ Kate introduced herself. ‘I understand that you found the body?’

He nodded and stood up, holding out his hand, which Kate ignored. ‘Duncan Cawthorne.’

‘Okay, Duncan. I want you to tell me what happened this morning. My colleague, DC Hollis, will make notes if that’s all right with you?’

Cawthorne watched as Hollis took a notebook and pencil from the inside breast pocket of his suit jacket. ‘I get down here early on a Sunday,’ he began. ‘Have a bit of a run and then set up for the kids.’

Kate appraised him as she listened to his account of arriving at the car park, jogging for half an hour and then retrieving the cones and balls from his car so he could set up a course for ‘the kids’. He was probably in his early thirties, well built and tall. He was wearing baggy grey tracksuit bottoms and a zip-up red hoody with a Doncaster Rovers badge below the left shoulder. His hair was hidden under a tight-fitting grey beanie hat with DRFC emblazoned across the front. He’d obviously dressed for his role as a football coach. His broad face was clean-shaven and tanned – Kate suspected a sunbed or a spray considering the grey cloud that seemed to have enveloped Doncaster for much of the spring and early summer.

‘And then I saw her,’ Cawthorne was saying. ‘Just lying on her back in the bushes.’

Kate glanced across to the police tape. It was a few hundred yards away from the neat row of miniature traffic cones that had been set up next to the running track. She looked at Hollis. He’d stopped making notes and was looking at where the body lay. He’d also spotted the anomaly.

About the author.

Heleyne Hammersley is a British writer based in Cumbria. She writes psychological suspense thrillers and crime novels.

Heleyne has been writing since junior school – her first work was a collection of poems called ‘Give Them the Works’ when she was ten years old. The poems were carefully handwritten on plain paper and tied together with knitting wool. 

When she’s not writing, Heleyne can often be found wandering on the fells or in the local park with her dog.

 

 

#BlogTour! #Extract from ‘Spiral into Darkness’ by Joseph Lewis (@jrlewisauthor) @rararesources

Today as part of the ‘Spiral into Darkness’ blog tour, I will be sharing an extract from the book. Many thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Before we get to the extract, however, here is a little bit more about the book:

He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spiral-Into-Darkness-Joseph-Lewis-ebook/dp/B07L15328K

US – https://www.amazon.com/Spiral-Into-Darkness-Joseph-Lewis-ebook/dp/B07L15328K

Author Bio 

Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.

Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.

Social Media Links – 

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author

Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /

Extract.

Introduction of a Main Character

Brian is one of my favorite characters because he has heart and depth.

 

 

As he did most often, Brian sat cross-legged on the floor, leaning against both the couch and Jeremy’s leg. As much as Jeremy and Vicky could tell, Brian never strayed too far from either of them in the two months he had lived with them. Yes, he got along just fine with the five other boys. They were best friends. He had known them long before he had moved in after his parents’ death. He would go hunting and fishing with Brett and George, and work the horses and shovel the driveway with George. He started and played on the same basketball team as Brett, Billy, and Randy, and he shared a room with Bobby by mutual choice. Still, where Jeremy or Vicky was, he was not too far away. And where Brian was, Bobby could be found.

#BlogTour! #Extract – The Foyles Bookshop Girls at War by Elaine Roberts (@RobertsElaine11) @Aria_fiction

Today I am excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Elaine Roberts’ new release; ‘The Foyles Bookshop Girls at War’ with an extract. Many thanks to Aria for having me involved, and congratulations to Elaine on the publication of her new book. Enjoy!

Swapping books for the bomb factory takes courage – and could be dangerous. 

Working at the Foyles bookshop was Molly Cooper’s dream job. But with the country at war she’s determined to do her bit. So Molly gathers her courage, and sets off for the East End and her first day working at Silvertown munitions factory… 

It’s hard manual labour, and Molly must face the trials and tribulations of being the ‘new girl’ at the munitions factory, as well as the relentless physical work. 

The happy-ever-afters Molly read about in the pages of her beloved books have been lost to the war. And yet the munitions girls unite through their sense of duty and friendships that blossom in the most unlikely of settings…

Buy now from Amazon

Extract.

Molly glanced through the large window, into a small square room. The soft grey walls were bare, apart from the round, oak-framed clock, sitting fairly high up, telling her it was quarter to seven. She breathed a sigh of relief. There were three desks in there, each covered with paperwork. A blue book with a red spine was on one of the desks, next to a pad of lined paper. Glasses sat open, on top of the pad. Molly fleetingly wondered if they were his. A calendar sat on a shelf over one desk, with a family photograph standing proudly next to it. Underneath the shelf, stood three cream bottles, each of them a different size, but the largest was no more than six inches tall.

The man opened the office door, stood aside and indicated for her to walk in.

Molly nodded and stepped past him, making sure no contact was made. She had no desire to get off on the wrong foot. She shook her head. He had barely spoken to her and she didn’t know his name, so how could she do anything to upset him?

‘Is everything all right, Miss Cooper?’

The man’s deep voice broke into her wayward thoughts, startling her back to reality. ‘Yes, yes of course.’

He smiled and immediately his face looked younger. She momentarily wondered how old he was, thirty maybe. There was also the niggling question of why he hadn’t signed up to the Great War.

He pulled out a dark wooden chair from under one of the desks and indicated for her to sit down, before quickly pulling out another for himself. ‘It can be difficult for people when they first arrive, because it’s very noisy, with all the machinery and everything.’

Molly noticed the window for the first time. No sunshine was going to break through the thick dirt that coated it. She tilted her head slightly. Was that a crack that ran down the glass? She squinted as she stared at it. It was hard to tell, but maybe it was the dust locked onto the glass. Her mother immediately jumped into her thoughts and a smile formed on her lips. She would have had a bucket of water and a cloth on it within a blink of an eye. That is, once she got over the fact her daughter was sitting in this dingy office.

‘Right, Miss Cooper.’ The man shuffled some paperwork around the desk, before opening one of the drawers and slamming it shut again. ‘We just have some form-filling to do and then I’ll get someone to take you to the lockers, where you can change into the rather fetching uniform of overalls and cap.’

Molly’s blonde ponytail bobbed, flicking the back of her neck as she nodded. Her hand went up to smooth it down and she caught her fingers in the bright red ribbon tied around it. It had been gifted to her mother as a child, when she had nothing. She treasured it, claiming it brought her and her husband, Jack, together. Molly often borrowed it, under the threat of death if she lost it. She regretted her ponytail, wishing she’d taken the time to put it in a bun. It would have been more elegant, as well as making her look older than her twenty-three years. Molly realised she was worrying unnecessarily, as he didn’t look at her. She sighed. There was a time before the war when she would have enjoyed a little innocent flirting with a man of his calibre, but those days were long gone. They had disappeared with Tony.

The man suddenly looked up at her and gave a little cough. ‘When we’ve finished the paperwork, someone will show where to get changed. It’s what we call the dirty area of the factory. You’ll remove your clothing and let your hair down. There can’t be anything metal about your person, including any material covered buttons or jewellery.’ He held out some forms and a pen. ‘If you can just read and sign these, then we’ll get you settled.’

Molly reached out. Their fingers brushed against each other and she snatched her hand away.

He stared at her for a moment, before dropping the papers on the desk.

Molly picked up the pen and quickly signed the forms.

He coughed again and colour rose in his cheeks as he looked down again at his paperwork. ‘If you’re wearing a corset, I’m afraid that will also have to be removed. You will be allocated a locker to store your things, then you will cross over to the clean area, where you will put on your overall and mob cap. Your hair must be completely covered by the cap.’

Her hand immediately reached for the gold heart around her neck and she swished it back and forth. Colour rose in Molly’s cheeks. Her mind started racing at this unexpected information. Would she have to undress in front of people? Her face was burning at the thought.

About the author.

Elaine Roberts had a dream to write for a living. She completed her first novel in her twenties and received her first very nice rejection. Life then got in the way until circumstances made her re-evaluate her life, and she picked up her dream again in 2010. She joined a creative writing class, The Write Place, in 2012 and shortly afterwards had her first short story published. She was thrilled when many more followed and started to believe in herself.

As a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Women Writers & Journalists, Elaine attends many conferences, workshops, seminars and wonderful parties. Meeting other writers gives her encouragement, finding most face similar problems.

Elaine and her patient husband, Dave, have five children who have flown the nest. Home is in Dartford, Kent and is always busy with their children, grandchildren, grand dogs and cats visiting. Without her wonderful family and supportive friends, she knows the dream would never have been realised.

#BlogTour! #Extract from Love at the Northern Lights by Darcie Boleyn (@DarcieBoleyn) @canelo_co

Today I am delighted to be sharing an extract from ‘Love at the Northern Lights’ by Darcie Boleyn. Many thanks to Ellie and Canelo for asking me to be involved in the blog tour. Enjoy!

Climbing out the window in her dress and tiara wasn’t exactly how Frankie imagined her wedding day…’

Runaway bride Frankie Ashford hops a plane to Norway with one goal in mind – find her estranged mother and make peace with the past. But when a slip on the ice in Oslo lands her directly in Jonas Thorsen’s viking-strong arms, her single-minded focus drifts away in the winter winds.

When it comes to romance Jonas knows that anything he and Frankie share has an expiration date – the British heiress has a life to return to in London that’s a world away from his own. But family is everything to Jonas and, as the one man who can help Frankie find the answers she’s seeking, he’ll do whatever it takes to help her reunite with her mother.

Now, as Christmas draws closer and the northern lights work their magic Frankie and Jonas will have to make a choice…play it safe or risk heartbreak to take a chance on love.

Extract

In the airport cafe, Frankie tucked her suitcase under the table then wrapped her hands around the mug of coffee. She could see the entrance to the toilets from here and winced every time someone went in or came out, wondering if she’d see someone emerge carrying the tote bag of treats. The light was fading outside and she realized she had no idea what time it was or how long she’d been sitting there, lost in her thoughts.

Her bones ached and she wished she could curl up under the table and sleep. Instead, she picked up the almond croissant she’d purchased and ate it quickly, washing each mouthful down with coffee, aware that she needed to put something into her empty belly.

Soon, the croissant and coffee raised her blood sugar and the headache she’d blamed the tiara for began to fade. But there was still a question burning inside her: what was she going to do now?

‘What time’s your flight?’ The woman at the next table spoke into her mobile. ‘Uh… aha… right. Well, see you when we get there.’

She cut the call then looked at Frankie.

‘My brother.’ She waved the mobile. ‘He’s getting married in Cuba next week, so we’re heading out there early to take in some of the sights first.’

‘Cuba?’

‘Yes and I’m so excited. It’s my first holiday with my boyfriend too.’ Her eyes sparkled and her cheeks were rosy, presumably with the first flush of love.

‘That’s nice. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time.’

‘Thank you. Where are you going?’ The woman’s eyes flickered over Frankie’s tiara and she touched it self-consciously. It probably did look strange with her casual attire.

Frankie opened her mouth to answer, hoping something would spring to mind, but a tall sandy-haired man arrived at the woman’s table and she jumped up and hugged him, so Frankie was spared the embarrassment of admitting she had no idea. The couple gathered their bags then left the cafe arm in arm, leaving Frankie staring at the table they’d vacated. It must be wonderful to truly love someone. Sure, she’d enjoyed spending time with Rolo in the early days and they’d had some fun – in fact, she’d hoped it was love that she felt for him – but she’d never experienced a burning need to see him, to touch him and to be close to him. In reality, they’d been a lot more like polite acquaintances than lovers about to marry. Perhaps that had been because she’d known she didn’t really love him and had been holding back. And what had been holding her back? Not just a lack of love and desire but her need for independence. Her need to experience freedom, to know what it was like to be happy with who she was and what she was doing. Had she ever really had that sense of personal satisfaction?

No.

Not in her job. Not in her relationship. And certainly not in her home life, where even though her father had tried hard to fill the gap left by her mother, it had been there… a chasm of emptiness and sadness, a constant awareness that the woman who should have loved her more than anyone else had walked away from her and not cared whether she lived or died. It had also, unsurprisingly, been laced with a bitter anger.

Until she dealt with that, Frankie realized, she would never be able to move on and be happy.

She drained her coffee then opened her bag and pulled out her purse. She had a variety of credit cards and some cash, so she could easily book a flight. At the back of her purse, folded over, was something she carried with her. Always. She pulled it out and unfolded it, then pressed it flat on the table and gazed at the image of a snow-covered landscape. It was dark and the trees cast bushy shadows across the ground. It made Frankie shiver just imagining how cold it must be there. But above the snow, brightening the dark sky with swathes of luminous green, blue and purple, were the northern lights.

Every time Frankie had looked at this postcard over the years since she’d turned eighteen, something had tugged at her heart and made her yearn to see these lights in person. They were beautiful, mystical, magical. Even though she’d read about them and knew their true cause, Frankie still believed that there was magic in nature if it could create such beauty. And, of course, she wondered if her mother had seen these lights… if she had thought of her daughter as she watched the shimmering display.

Her mother had sent cards every year on birthdays and at Christmas when she was growing up. They had been pretty cards featuring beautiful paintings but the messages inside had been brief, almost impersonal, as if her mother had either not cared to write more or had been holding back. However, now that she thought about it and tried to rationalize it, perhaps her mother had cared if she was alive and well. She’d noted every changing of the year in her daughter’s life, hadn’t she? And yet… how much did sending a card really prove? Was her mother actually just assuaging her conscience and nothing more?

Frankie wanted to believe that it was more than just that but what proof did she have other than cards?

She turned the card over and ran her eyes over the familiar words, words she knew without needing to read them, but still, looking at them again helped her confirm that they were real and not a figment of her imagination.

[display postcard]

Dear Frances,

Happy 18th Birthday. I knew this day would come and yet, I cannot believe how the years have flown. Now that you are an adult, I feel able to give you my address. Please know that you are welcome to come and visit me anytime you wish. I would love to see you. However, I understand if you do not want to come. I will not contact you again unless I hear from you, because I don’t want to trouble you if you would prefer not to hear from me.

Yours truly,

Freya X

[/display]

The postcard had arrived in a sealed envelope, presumably to prevent Grandma from reading the message, and Freya’s address was printed in the top-right corner, leaving her to make the decision. She had not gone when she was eighteen, nor when she was twenty-one, nor when she turned twenty-nine. It had seemed better to leave things as they were, to build her own life and not rake up the past. She didn’t want to hurt her father or upset her grandmother, and knew that visiting her mother could well do both. Her grandmother was a stern, aloof woman, but she had always been around – she had not left Frankie behind – and because of that, Frankie owed her loyalty – although her behaviour earlier today had made Frankie question her grandmother’s motives. Her father had been a kind and caring parent, but he had a haunted quality about him, as if he’d never recovered from losing his wife. Frankie had felt protective of him, even though he had been the adult and she the child.

Buy now from Amazon.

About the author.

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

 

#BlogTour! #Extract – What Happened to Us by Faith Hogan (@GerHogan) @aria_fiction

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Faith Hogan’s new novel today. Unfortunately I couldn’t do my review due to a technical difficulty in getting the book, but I am able to share an extract from the book instead. Do watch this space as I intend to read it ASAP though!!

Carrie Nolan is devastated when she is dumped by Kevin Mulvey after more than a decade without even a backwards glance! On reflection, she has sacrificed her own long term happiness establishing their critically acclaimed Dublin restaurant and pandering to his excessive ego. 

 Meanwhile Kevin can’t believe his luck. Valentina, their new waitress is a stunner, the kind of girl that turns heads when she walks in a room and surprise, surprise she has chosen him! He is living the dream!

 Carrie seeks solace from a circle of mismatched friends who need her as much as she needs them. Jane, who struggles to run the pub on the opposite side of the street, Luke, who has stopped drifting while his father settles in a nearby nursing home and Teddy, a dog who asks for nothing more than the chance to stay by Carrie’s side. 

 With Christmas just around the corner, all is not quite as it seems and a catastrophic sequence of events leads to the unthinkable… 

 How far do you need to fall before you learn the true value of family and friends? And is it ever too late to start again…

 Buy links

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Pv3cCJ 
iBooks: https://apple.co/2BBjSpp

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2o3aMrV 
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2OHDsSO

Extract.

Carrie eyed her stocky frame critically in the mirror. She had washed her hair and attempted to brush it out straight, but of course, as always, it disobediently fell back into a mass of curls. In the end, she pinned it up in a messy bun and pulled a few tendrils free, in case she needed to hide behind them. She had just spent an hour crying about the way things had turned out, so she hoped there were no more tears left. Her shift in the restaurant started in less than forty-five minutes. The last thing she wanted was a replay of the previous evening. She may be an emotional wreck; it didn’t mean that all sense of herself had to be obviously lost.

She pulled out an emerald wrap dress she’d bought in New York a few years earlier. It was made of the softest wool and always garnered a compliment when she wore it. It worked quite well with patent heels and her black lacy bolero. She needed a splash of Manhattan in her life now. The wrap top managed to hold in her ample boobs. The skirt though narrow didn’t make as much of her peasant thighs as some clinging skirts did. It was the best she could do, and she wasn’t sure who she was trying to impress anyway, she could never match Valentina for looks.

‘Right, Teddy, how do I look?’ she quizzed the little dog when she went back into the kitchen. He looked at her curiously, she was not sure if she passed the appearance test, but she had a feeling he saw something in her that went deeper than her figure. She bent down and scratched his head gently. He seemed content to slumber in the same spot in her kitchen, so she left him there.

She was dreading going into The Sea Pear. There, she’d said it. How long had she felt like that? She shook her head, not long, probably only since Kevin made his announcement. God, it was almost a full fifteen minutes since she gave him a thought. Now the dread filled her again. There was no point going through the thoughts that were cramming her mind: What was she supposed to do now? What was Kevin going to do? Was he going to shack up permanently with Valentina? Carrie couldn’t allow her mind to go there, not yet. For now, she had to get through working in the same building as the pair of them. For now, that would be as much as she would demand of herself.

The restaurant felt warm and fresh when she arrived. It wasn’t four hours since she walked through here with Teddy and Luke. Yet, knowing that Kevin was going to be here now, the place felt different. As though its familiarity was jarring with what it should be. She hadn’t been at work since yesterday evening, when she’d run out of here distraught. No one had checked up on her and the business had not come crashing down without her. Actually, the place looked fine. Everything was exactly as it should be.

The smell, familiar, trailing before her was Kevin – a mixture of Calvin Klein and hair products to make his wiry hair appear sleek. They had not spoken, not really, since he had trotted out of her office with Valentina at his side. Oh, they’d exchanged orders from the kitchen to the front of house. They’d worked around each other in careful silence for almost two days, until finally the hollowness inside her had given way last night. He, she knew, was much more cowardly than she. Had she always known that? Was he actually spineless? She thought about it for a moment, then she threw her shoulders back, her ample chest out and marched into the kitchen. She was not afraid. Broken, but not afraid.

‘I can’t believe you left my mother high and dry.’ Kevin’s voice reached a pitch she hadn’t heard in years.

How are you Carrie? How are you doing? I was worried about you?’ Carrie said the words sarcastically; after all, they were what she imagined she would say to him if things were reversed.

‘Of course, I was worried about you, we both were, but…’ He ran his long fingers through his thick hair and she noticed it seemed greyer now than it was before. Could he have aged overnight or was it really so long since she’d actually properly looked at him? ‘But still, what was I supposed to do, drag you back to work. Valentina said you probably needed some time to get your head around things. We managed fine, by the way,’ he nodded towards the restaurant.

‘Really,’ Carrie said and she let the hurt of him talking to Valentina about her slide sideward on her consciousness. She couldn’t think about all the times they’d probably spoken about her these last few weeks or maybe months. ‘Well, good news for both of you. But I’m back now, so…’

‘Well, of course,’ Kevin bit his lip, a nervous habit he had worked hard to kick in college. ‘And…’

‘Yes?’ she said. Had he thought about the restaurant, had he thought about the house? She’d bet Valentina had thought of it.

‘Well, it’s just…’ He was too weak to move things forward and for that, perhaps, she was glad; she had enough to cope with for now.

‘You’ll need to tell your mother, Kevin. From now on you’re going to be bringing her to mass every Sunday.’ She grabbed an apple from the top of a newly delivered box and took a satisfying bite. God, but she’d love to be a fly on the wall when he told Maureen Mulvey about Valentina.

Working in the restaurant that evening was hard. There was no point lying to herself. Carrie sidestepped Valentina when she could, but they couldn’t avoid each other. Perhaps she could ask some of their friends to give Valentina work in their restaurant. Jim McGrath ran a little bistro on the north side; she’d make a bomb there in tips. She could suggest it to Kevin, maybe, in a few weeks, when they had time to cool down, all of them.

That was the funny thing though; they were all very cool about this. She hadn’t lost her temper, she hadn’t screamed or shouted, or thrown plates. Today, at least, she didn’t want to hit him or hurt him in any way and, maybe, that meant something. Maybe it meant something more than she’d have realised if this hadn’t happened. Oh, she was hurt. She was hurt beyond description, the kind of pain that goes deep into the core of you. Even when she thought she’d cried herself out, she felt a new current of grief rise within her, bringing waves of tears to her eyes that there was no stopping. Poor Teddy had leant against her leg, lapped up the tears and occasionally rested his head on her lap, as if to offer her his own brand of sympathy. It was a funny thing; there was something in the dog that made her feel he actually got her pain, he, by his very wish to console her, somehow made things better. She was so glad to have him in the house with her.

She looked up at the clock, almost ten p.m. She walked to the door. Across the road, The Marchant Inn was in darkness and its emptiness thrashed like a wave of lonesomeness through Carrie. She thought of Jane, so fragile and alone in the hospital. Through all those tears, Carrie had made a promise of sorts, even if she hadn’t put it into words – she was going to look out for Jane from now on. Somehow, she was going to help that lonely woman get back to a life that meant something. She sighed, perhaps it would do her good to think about someone else for a while and take her mind off Kevin and Valentina.

Sunday night was always quiet, very few bookings this evening and generally, everyone was seated by nine or half past and they managed to clear out by twelve. She was looking forward to getting out of here now. Funny, but she’d never felt like that before.

Carrie slipped upstairs to her office and turned on the computer. She logged into her Facebook account to catch up with what was happening with people she knew who were flung all over the world these days. For one more time, she could pretend that everything was normal. Then she’d call Anna and tomorrow she’d go and see her mother.

About the author.

Faith was born in Ireland and currently lives there with her husband, four children and two fussy cats. She gained an HonorsDegree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate from University College, Galway. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair- an international competition for emerging writers. When she’s not writing, she’s an enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger. 

 Follow Faith

Twitter: @gerhogan

Facebook: @faithhoganauthor

#BlogTour! #Excerpt from ‘Cupid F*cks Up’ by Paula Houseman (@paulahouseman) @RaRaResources

Cupid & Twat Full Tour Banner
Haha oh I love the titles of these books!!!! Me and Cupid aren’t best buds anymore which is pretty ideal when you take a look at what book I am featuring for this blog tour! Yes that’s right, I have the pleasure of hosting an extract from Paula Houseman’s ‘Cupid F*cks Up’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite. Before I share the extract with you all, here is a bit more information about the book and the all important ‘buy’ links. Enjoy!

Cupid Fcks up ebook cover
Ruth Roth is a straight shooter. Pity Cupid’s not.

Smart-mouth Ruth is an inspirational humour columnist for a popular women’s magazine. Recently divorced, she has found the love of her life. Without any help, mind you, from the little fat love god. Ruth has decided she herself is her one and only.
And she’s in a comfy place. Why wouldn’t she be? No need to yell ‘Put the bloody toilet seat down!’ No need to hoover toe-nail clippings off the carpet.

But then a silver-tongued Prince Charming fronts up in his shiny Merc and tickles her discarded, little-girl fantasies. He tells her their love is written in the stars.
It must be a misprint. A romance with this particular PC is not so PC! Still …
Ruth’s life plays out more like ancient myth than fairytale. And what hot-blooded woman can resist forbidden fruit?

There’s a problem, though. Ruth does not have a hot-blooded mum. Ruth has a pain-in-the-arse mum whose squawking disapproval cranks the taboo up a notch.
All the more reason to take up with the stud! But it means taking on the harpy.
Tensions mount, and even Ruth’s man can’t protect her from the trash-talking voices in her head. It looks like he can’t muzzle his own either. When an earth-shattering revelation causes him to give her grief, it makes her feel like she’s dating her mother.
Taking the kind of advice she doles out to her readers is not so easy, and Ruth wonders if this love can survive. More to the point, is it worth the trouble?

Buy: Amazon UK // Amazon US

Extract.

It was a difficult time, compounded by Sylvia’s demands. And her browbeating. Joe was
gone; I was here to wear it. She was ringing three or four times a day, but then for two days, there was nothing. It felt like a holiday. It didn’t last long.
I was at the dining room table late one afternoon working on an article about hypercritical parents, when mine turned up on my doorstep. Sylvia had often worn black when Joe was alive, but now it was her uniform. Today, she had on a black towelling tracksuit.
‘You could have called me,’ she accused. ‘I might have been dead on the floor like your
father was. I could have composted.’
What? As in, like, manure and chicken scraps?
‘You think that’s funny? Oeuf, pest!’
I think it’s hysterical. ‘No, but I think you meant decomposed.’
‘Decomposed, composted … what difference does it make? You wouldn’t have even known I was dead!’ She beat her chest and snivelled.
‘Yes, I would. Myron calls you every day. He would have let me know.’
It was the wrong answer. She turned off the waterworks and threw me a dirty look. I was in no mood for this today. The article had got me all riled. I held her stare and threw her back one of irritation. She shifted uncomfortably and cleared her throat.
‘Well, are you going to invite me in?’
Is there a choice? I held out my hand in mock formality and watched her as she shuffled
into the lounge. With her shrunken posture and slow gait, she seemed to have aged. I felt sorry for her. I also felt guilty that I had little tolerance for my mother, so I willed myself to think positive. Ah yes, this is research for my article. It was the best I could do.
She sat on the sofa, picked at a loose thread on the seam of her trackie dacks and picked up the thread of our conversation. ‘Anyway, I’ve been calling you.’
Her little dig dissolved the pity I felt. I didn’t respond.
‘Where are the children?’
In a lucky place. ‘In their bedrooms. Hannah! Casper!’ I called out. ‘Come say hello to
Nanna.’
Two bedroom doors groaned open. Both kids came out, dutifully kissed their grandmother and said they had to finish their homework.
What the—? I was about to say something but they stared at me with eyes like saucers.
Sylvia was too self-absorbed to remember it was school holidays. I kept quiet, but I fixed my children with a look that implied, You owe me. They nodded relief. It was the closest I’d come to feeling appreciated in a while.

‘There must be something wrong with your phone,’ Sylvia said, as Hannah and Casper
disappeared into their rooms. ‘Like I was saying, I’ve been calling you and I keep getting a wrong number. It’s always the same one that’s got a message telling me about good times coming. I’m not in the mood for a good time. I’m a grieving widow.’ She sounded affronted.
‘Uh, you sure you’re not calling the wrong number?’
‘Of course I’m not! I’m a grieving widow. I haven’t lost my memory!’
Pity. All those accumulated grudges. The slate could have been wiped clean.
I told her I’d look into it.
The grieving widow stayed for another hour of lamentation. When she left, I called my
landline from my mobile. I gasped.
‘Hannah! Casper! Get out here, NOW!’
The automated greeting had been delivered by a smoky female voice, but the message made it pretty clear what the nature of the business was. I’d had a little chuckle before trying to act like a responsible person. And I’d felt confident enough to summon them with a shout—they were beholden to me.
The two of them came into the kitchen. ‘Okay, which one of you call-forwarded to a
brothel?’
Hannah looked at me with a confounded expression. Then, eyes widening, she turned to
Casper and both of them started laughing. They slapped palms.
Oh, just lovely. Great job of mothering you’ve done that your children think it’s okay to do something like that.
I think it’s quite creative. I wanted to palm-slap along with them.
What? Creative? Your children have no respect for you!
‘It’s not funny!’ I yelled, mainly to block out my internal head-to-head than berate my kids.
My disrespectful children stopped laughing. Casper gave me a repentant look. ‘Mum,
Nanna was ringing a hundred times a day and moaning about being a widow eeeevery time I answered the phone. I know she’s your mother, but … she’s a pain in the arse.’
No shit. ‘I know, but it’s not very nice to do that, is it?’ It’s never too late to be pious.
‘Sorry. I’ll call her later to apologise.’
What? No! Not too pious. ‘Uh, best not. If she finds out what you did … well, imagine?’

About the author.

Paula Houseman was once a graphic designer. But when the temptation to include ‘the
finger’ as part of a logo for a forward-moving women’s company proved too much, she knew it was time to give away design. Instead, she took up writing.
She found she was a natural with the double entendres (God knows she’d been in enough trouble as a child for dirty wordplay).

As a published writer of earthy chick lit and romantic comedy, Paula gets to bend, twist, stretch and juice up universal experiences to shape reality the way she wants it, even if it is only in books. But at the same time, she can make it more real, so that her readers feel part of the sisterhood. Or brotherhood (realness has nothing to do with gender).
Through her books, Paula also wants to help the reader escape into life and love’s comic relief. And who doesn’t need to sometimes?

Her style is a tad Monty Pythonesque because she adores satire. It helps defuse all those gaffes and thoughts that no one is too proud of.

Paula lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband. No other creatures. The kids have flown the nest and the dogs are long gone.

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