If #TheLastCrossing by @BrianMcGilloway has you intrigued, here is a snippet to whet your appetite! @DomePress #blogtour

If you’ve spotted Brian McGilloway’s novel on social media and are wondering what it’s all about, I have the next best thing (aside from reading it of course) for my stop on the tour today! Here is an extract of ‘The Last Crossing’ – thank you to Emily for asking me to be on the tour. Enjoy!

Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite – to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future – they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought in to terrible focus – some things are impossible to leave behind.

In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.

Extract.

‘I was younger than you the first time your uncle sent me out to do a job. He was one of ours who joined the cops. Your uncle wanted me to pop him. That’s how he put it, like it was nothing. Not shoot, not kill – pop, like a balloon at a party.’

‘Did you?’ Karen asked.

Duggan nodded. ‘He was coming out of the Rialto with his girl. We’d got word he was there, at The Shootist of all things. Him and her comes out, with the rest of the crowd and starts walking down the Strand towards their car. I was hiding up on the walls opposite the picture house. When he started walking, I comes out and across the street, behind him. I’d a parka on, the hood zipped up around my face so I couldn’t see properly, and my own breathing loud as anything inside the hood. I’d my piece in my coat pocket and a pair of gloves on. Just as I went to pull it out, he turned and looked at me. And he knew. I could see his eyes, he knew what was coming, as if he’d been waiting for it all along. He wasn’t surprised or hurt. It was like he was disappointed, like he’d thought maybe he’d have been given a pass on it.’

He paused, as if he was back there, in that moment, facing the man once more. When he spoke again, his voice was wet and timbrous.

‘He turned and shoved his girlfriend to the ground. I remember that; other fuckers have pulled people in front of them, used them like shields, but not him. He pushed her to the ground just as I shot. The gun bucked a bit when I fired, so the first shot caught him in the stomach and the second on the neck.’

The silence hung in the car. Tony glanced at Karen whose eyes were bright with tears and he suspected that she was spooling the shooting of her father inside her head. He reached across and took her hand in his, clasping it. He felt her open her fingers a little and splaying them, interconnect them with his.

‘He was my first. Cooney, his name was. I always thought the fucker was noble, throwing the girl to the ground. He drowned in his own blood by the time the ambulance arrived.’

He turned and looked over at Barr. ‘That’s the work your uncle sent me out to do for him while he sat in the bar, holding court. I was sixteen at the time.’

‘Do you regret it?’ Karen asked.

‘What? What I did?’

She nodded.

‘Never. Except with Martin,’ he said. ‘But we’ll take care of that today. Isn’t that right, Richard?’

‘Any sign of a shop?’ Tony asked, keen to change the subject.

‘Did you ever see it?’ Duggan asked, as if Tony had not even spoken.

Barr, to whom the question had been addressed, glanced quizzically at him. ‘See it?’

‘The Shootist? It’s a cracker of a film. John Wayne’s the gunslinger or something, aw, what’s this his name is? Not Cogburn, that was the other one. That’ll annoy me all day now, his name. Anyway, he’s got cancer and is dying and does one last job. It was Wayne’s last film. He died of cancer himself a few years later. I was sorry to hear that; his films were always good. “Truly this was the son of God”,’ he drawled.

Karen looked at Tony in disbelief either at the mental gymnastics that Duggan had just performed in the conversation, or the fact that the only sympathy which he’d expressed had been for an actor he’d not known rather than a man he’d gunned down himself in front of his girlfriend.

‘Do you mind that one? Him a Roman centurion talking with a Texas drawl. Like Connery commanding a Russian submarine with a Scottish accent. Those guys weren’t actors; they were stars. Didn’t matter they were always playing themselves.’

‘What happened to Cooney’s girlfriend?’ Karen asked, leaning forward and, in doing so, releasing Tony’s hand. He felt a pang of regret, could still feel the pressure of her skin on his. He’d not held Ann’s hand in such a manner for years before her death and felt a strange disloyalty and simultaneous thrill at having done so now with Karen.

‘Fuck knows,’ Duggan said. ‘The last I saw of her, she was lying on the pavement outside the Rialto.’

Available to purchase now from Amazon

#Extract from #CodeNameLise by Larry Loftis @LarryLoftis @MirrorBooks #spy #WWII

I was planning on reading this book but unfortunately I haven’t been able to get a copy yet so i will be sharing an extract from ‘Code Name: Lise’ instead. Many thanks to Mirror Books for having me on the tour!

The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing.

Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission.

It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill. As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them.

They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and on to concentration camps in Germany, where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Extract.

THE FOLLOWING DAY, ANXIOUS to see her beloved France and begin
her work, Odette boarded a Whitley bomber. The plane taxied
to the end of the runway and stopped to wait for the landing of an
incoming aircraft. Odette peered through the window and started.
The landing plane was coming straight at them.

There was a violent collision of metal as the plane clipped the
Whitley’s starboard wing. The pilot immediately cut both engines
and the shouting began. Someone opened the door and Odette
tumbled out. Fortunately, the plane didn’t ignite and no one was
injured.

On September 27 a Lysander became available and Odette
again headed to the airfield. As the plane was warming up, however,
Baker Street received a cable stating that the Gestapo had
arrested her contacts; three had been summarily executed, the rest
soon to be.

Odette returned home, and Buckmaster told her to sit tight
while he coordinated other contacts and searched for another plane.
A week later he called and Odette caught a train to Plymouth,
where she was to depart by seaplane for Gibraltar. As she sat in the
Mountbatten Airport, she watched the Catalina bobbing in the water
as high winds jerked its moorings. Sheets of rain followed, and
it appeared that this mission, too, would be jinxed. After several
hours, an officer from the Royal Air Force came in and confirmed
what Odette expected: the weather would not allow departure.

She returned to London.
The War Office scheduled another flight five days later and instructed
Odette to report to Redruth in Cornwall. From there she
was escorted to a hotel and told to get any sleep she could. An attendant
would wake her at 0100, they said, for a 2 a.m. departure
from Newquay Cornwall Airport. Odette drifted off, and promptly
at one someone knocked on her door with a cup of hot tea.
It was raining.

At the airport she was told there was a slight delay: the Whitley’s
starboard engine had a fuel stoppage, someone said, and mechanics
were addressing it while the luggage was stowed. They’d be under
way shortly.

Finally, the craft was cleared and Odette climbed aboard. There
were no seats, she saw, and the fuselage was crammed to the hilt
with cargo. Finding a small spot on the metal floor, she arranged
herself against a wooden crate and tried to stretch her legs. It
wouldn’t be the most comfortable ride, but at least she was finally
leaving.

The engines revved up and they taxied to the runway. Odette sat
back. It had been a long process: the guilt at Somerset, worry about
leaving her children, the training, the injuries, the false starts. Now
at last she could fulfill the duty her grandfather had encouraged so
many years before.

The Whitley lifted off, dipping for a moment and then resuming
its trajectory. Another dip. Odette swung her eyes to the cockpit.
The pilot was trying to gain altitude, but the bomber was responding
by rising and sinking. Up and down, up and down it went, a
sluggish battle with gravity.
The airframe began to shudder.
Cargo creaked as it slid, then a thunderous burst as the starboard
engine went.
Odette braced herself.
They were going to crash.

#MyOneMonthMarriage @sharilow @Boldwoodbooks #boldwoodbloggers #Extract #blogtour

Many thanks to Boldwood Books for inviting me to take part in Shari Low’s blog tour. Today I will be sharing an extract from ‘My One Month Marriage’ – enjoy!

You know that “till death do us part” bit in the wedding vows? Well, Zoe Danton believed it. One month after she said “I do”, the man she loved is gone, given his marching orders after Zoe discovered a devastating secret.
As teenagers facing a crushing loss, Zoe made a pact with her three sisters to stick together no matter what. Now she’s discovered that one of them may have been the reason her husband betrayed her. She’s lost her happy-ever-after, but has she lost a sister too?

Buy now.

Extract.

I hear the sound of the oven door banging shut, before she re-enters with a glass of radiation pink. ‘I took some of this from the cocktail shaker,’ she informs us. ‘It looks suspiciously like something I’d prescribe for acid reflux. Right, what’s the latest? Married anyone else since I saw you yesterday? Divorced yet? Engaged again?’

I refuse to rise to her innocent-faced sarcasm, instead going for dry threats and indignation. ‘If you carry on like that, I’m going in to work.’

‘It’s Sunday,’ Verity points out, always one to insert facts into the equation.

‘And I hate to point out that your job was at the root of this whole debacle in the first place,’ Yvie adds, following it up with, ‘Jesus, my bra straps are killing me. Did I mention I’m going back on the diet tomorrow?’

‘You did. Is it the same one as last week? And the week before?’ Verity teases.

‘Not sure, but right now I’m hoping I lose nine and a half stone of smug older sister,’ Yvie fires back. She takes no cheek from anyone and I love her for it.

‘I thought you were embracing your curves?’ I enquire, confused.

‘That was last week. This week, I want to book a holiday, wear a bikini and I’ve realised that to feel good about that I’ll need to lose the equivalent of a small dinghy in weight in a month and a half. Starting right after that lasagne.’

I don’t argue. Only a fool would get in between Yvie and her ever changing body-confidence issues.

‘Anyway, I preferred it when we were revelling in your disaster of a life,’ she tells me. ‘Where were we?’

‘Where were we?’ It’s like an echo, only said in a voice that is sharper than the other three in my living room. Marina, only her head and neck visible round the side of the door, is the oldest of the four of us and the designated grown-up. She’s the kind of woman who makes lists, has a pension plan and who knows the difference between a vintage bottle of plonk and something off the shelf at Lidl.

‘Yvie has just pointed out that my job was to blame for all this.’

‘Yes, well, she’s not wrong. At least at the start. Although, to be fair, you did take an unfortunate situation, handle it badly, then let it descend into a complete roaring balls-up,’ Marina concurs before her head and shoulders disappear and I hear the sound of her clicking heels fading as she heads down the hall to the kitchen. I’d bet my last pound that she is carrying a bag containing sushi and hummus – she considers healthy food to be the only option, even in a crisis.

Yvie gestures to the door. ‘See? Even her Highness agrees. I finally feel validated as an adult.’

I ignore the playful barb. Successfully negotiating life with three sisters is fifty per cent love, thirty per cent tolerance and twenty per cent dodging the ever-changing dynamics between us.

Especially, in this case, as they both have a point. My job, first as sales director, then latterly as partner of Glasgow marketing company, The B Agency, definitely contributed to my current situation. If I hadn’t worked there, I wouldn’t have met Tom. I wouldn’t have fallen in love. He wouldn’t have broken my heart. And then I wouldn’t have gone on to screw up my life so colossally that I’m now contemplating eating dodgy lasagne while wondering what I am going to tell my mother when I return her generous wedding gift of a lavish, smoked glass beaded chandelier.

Granted, it is lovely – in a blingy, wear sunglasses because it’s so bright it could cause eye damage, kind of way. But the fact that I live in a flat with low ceilings transforms it from an ostentatious decorative statement to a concussion risk.

#ARivieraRetreat #blogtour #extract #boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks @jenniewriter

Many thanks to Boldwood Books for inviting me to take part in Jennifer Bohnet’s blog tour for ‘A Riviera Retreat’. To close the tour I have an extract to share with you. Enjoy!

When Retreat owner Amy offers three lucky competition winners a holiday on the Cote d’Azur, she has no idea that this simple act of kindness will have life-changing repercussions on her own life as well as those who join her…

Young entrepreneur Chelsea has just been subjected to a very public relationship break up and needs to get away to lick her wounds.

MP’s wife Victoria is at a crossroads in her life now that the children have left home. She realises she has ambitions of her own and needs some ‘me time’ to figure things out.

Recently widowed Matilda is assessing life without her beloved husband. Can she find the courage to follow their dream on her own?

The four women, despite their differences, bond and support each other, making memories and forming friendships that will last for years.

Buy now.

Extract.

Tasha had run Belle Vue Villa as a successful auberge after Francois, her husband, had died and Amy knew that the villa would have to continue to earn its keep for her in the future. Rather than having holidaymakers turn up willy-nilly looking for a bed, Amy decided to focus on offering short retreats for writers and painters throughout the year. That way she’d always know how busy she’d be – with the added bonus of not having to worry about unexpected or unwanted strangers knocking on the door at all times of the day or night.

Lots of Tasha’s guests had left comments in the visitor’s book over the years, saying how special the house felt; how serene the atmosphere around the place was; several had said the villa was definitely a little French paradise. Amy had vowed to herself that she would do her utmost to keep the lovely ambiance that Tasha had masterfully created in and around the villa, while she endeavoured to put her own stamp on the place.

Five years on, Amy knew she could feel proud of what she’d achieved at Belle Vue. The auberge was now a popular venue as a retreat for artists and writers and it was her guests who left compliments in the visitor’s book and were returning time and time again. One particular writer had returned four times last year, saying she wrote more in a week when staying there than she wrote in a month at home. Amy knew Tasha would be proud and thrilled for her at the way the retreat had found its place in a niche market and taken off so well.

Turning back into the kitchen, Amy picked up the photo of her aunt that stood on the dresser and gently touched it. She owed Tasha so much. Thoughtfully, she replaced the photo. But how to show that gratitude? Tasha had always drummed into her the notion ‘it’s easy to take, but you must always, always give back too’. Amy knew that if Tasha had still been alive, she’d have wholeheartedly endorsed the current ‘do a random act of kindness for a stranger’ memes that seemed to appear every day on social media.

Amy smiled, remembering how Tasha had thoroughly embraced social media, joining groups, signing up for causes and having hundreds of friends on Facebook. Amy also knew her grateful act of ‘paying it back’ was long overdue, but despite thinking about it for weeks, months, not a single idea had surfaced. Nothing she thought of seemed grateful enough.

She glanced at the kitchen clock. A little early, but she’d open the bottle of wine she’d bought especially for today and leave it to breathe for a while. Opening a bottle of wine and silently toasting Tasha while watching the DVD of the film Enchanted April was a ritual that always finished off this particular day for Amy. Tasha had introduced her to the film and together they had watched it countless times.

As the credits rolled at the end of the film, Amy switched off the DVD, poured the last of the wine into her glass and opened her laptop, her head spinning not only from the wine she’d drunk but also with the perfect idea of how to give something back. To finally thank the universe for her good fortune.

Like the film she’d just watched, where an advertisement drew four women together, all strangers to each other, for a holiday in an Italian castle in the 1920s, her random act of kindness would begin with an advertisement too. Not in a newspaper but on twenty-first century social media.

Are you a woman who longs to spend time in retreat? Or simply in need of a holiday?

Answer the following question: Who wrote the book Enchanted April, and in less than one hundred words say which character you identify with most and why you need to win a holiday (June 6–16) at a retreat in the countryside behind the French Riviera. Travel expenses not included but low-cost flights are available to Nice. Transport to and from the airport will be arranged. Please note the date of the holiday on offer is NOT changeable or transferable.

Competition closes midnight the 31st of this month. Three lucky winners will be notified by email within one week of the competition closing.

#MakingWishesatBayView @JessicaRedland @Boldwoodbooks #Boldwoodbloggers #extract

Please forgive me here as my stop on this tour is an extract! I aim to read Jessica’s book as soon as I can though, hopefully the extract will whet your appetite. Before I share it, here is a little bit more about the book and the all important purchase link:

Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after…

Callie Derbyshire has it all: her dream job as a carer at Bay View, finally she has found the love of her life. Everything is perfect. Well, almost. Ex-partners are insistent on stirring up trouble, and Callie’s favourite resident, Ruby, hasn’t been her usual self.

But after discovering the truth about Ruby’s lost love, Callie is determined to give Ruby’s romantic story the happy ending it deserves. After all, it’s never too late to let love in again. Or is it?

Purchase now from Amazon.

Extract.

How was your evening with your sugar daddy?’ Ruby asked the next morning as I called at her room with her medication.

‘Not good. I think I’ve been dumped.’‘How can you think you’ve been dumped. You either have or you haven’t.’I shrugged. ‘I don’t really understand what happened. He accused me of being high-maintenance and stormed out.’

She shook her head. ‘You don’t need him, darling. When I was your age, I had six suitors on the go. One for each day of the week and Sunday off—’

‘To repent your sins?’

Ruby laughed, her eyes twinkling with mischief. ‘Goodness, no! Sunday was for whomever had pleased me best during the week. I wanted to spend my day off pleasurably.’

‘Are you not finished your rounds yet, Carolyn?’ The She-Devil’s pitchy voice bore into me, wiping the smile from my face.

‘Nearly.’

‘Nearly isn’t good enough. You should have finished ten minutes ago.’

‘It was my fault,’ Ruby said. ‘I had a funny turn. Callie had to help me out.’

The She-Devil’s eyes bore into me. ‘Is this true?’

I nodded and crossed my fingers behind my back. ‘Ruby went a bit dizzy.’

She turned to Ruby. ‘You’re fine now?’

‘Yes. Much better. Callie was amazing as always. She’s such a gem.’

I had to look away. The She-Devil would not have appreciated the compliment.

‘Yes, well, finish your rounds, Carolyn, then report to my office. One of the residents has only just advised us that they had an accident in the night. I’ll need you to strip their bed.’

I could imagine the grin on her face as she sashayed down the corridor towards her office, delighted that I had a soggy mattress to deal with. Or worse. I bet she’d been saving that task especially for me, as usual. Cow.

‘Thanks for defending me, Ruby,’ I said.

‘Any time. Couldn’t have you dumped and sacked in the space of twenty-four hours, could we?’

I smiled. ‘Will you be down for dominoes this afternoon?’

‘Of course. I need to beat that Iris Davies this week. I’m sure she’s cheating.’

‘She was the North Yorkshire Pub Dominoes Champion for a decade, Ruby.’

‘Yes. No doubt by cheating. I’m onto her.’ She pointed two fingers at her eyes, then flicked them away, then back again.

‘I’ll see you later.’ I laughed as I kicked the brake off the trolley and started to push it away.

‘Callie!’ she called. ‘If you really have parted company with your sugar daddy, you could always court my grandson, Rhys.’

I turned to face her. The cheeky grin on her face matched her playful tone. ‘Would this be the illusive grandson who never visits?

‘It might be.’

‘Are you sure he exists?’

She laughed as she tapped the side of her nose. ‘That’s for me to know and you to find out.’

Kicking off the #AFatalSecret #blogtour with an #extract! @HQStories @FaithMartin_Nov

A Fatal Secret Blog Tour Banner
Many thanks to the HQ team for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Faith Martin and ‘A Fatal Secret’. I have an extract from the book for you all to enjoy, but first here is a little bit more about Faith Martin’s latest read:

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Oxford, 1961

A family day out at Briar’s Hall ends in tragedy when a young boy goes missing – and his body is found at the bottom of a disused well in the orchard.

It looks like a simple case of an eleven-year-old exploring where he shouldn’t: a tragic accident. But Coroner Clement Ryder and Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday aren’t convinced. If Eddie had been climbing and fallen, why were there no cuts or dirt on his hands? Why would a boy terrified of heights be around a well at all?

Clement and Trudy are determined to get to the truth, but the more they dig into Briar’s Hall and the mysterious de Lacey family who live there, the murkier things become.

Could it be that poor Eddie’s death was murder? There are rumours of blackmail in the village, and Clement and Trudy have a horrible feeling that Eddie stumbled on a secret that someone was willing to kill for…

‘A Fatal Secret’ is the fourth book in the ‘Ryder and Loved’ series – buy now from Amazon.

Extract.

Oxford, England. 1st April 1961.

It was a lovely Saturday morning, and less than three miles away as the crow flies
from the city of dreaming spires, someone was contemplating how ironical it was that
it should be April Fool’s Day.

The daffodils were just beginning to bud in the small woods surrounding Briar’s
Hall. Birds were busy building their nests, and a weak and watery sun was promising
that spring really was on its way.

But the person leaning against a still-bare ash tree, moodily observing the fine
Georgian building below, cared little for the promise of bluebells to come.
That person was thinking of only one thing: death, and how best to bring it about.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, that person was feeling not at all happy. Not only was
death on its own something that you would never consider in detail unless given
absolutely no choice, contemplating cold-blooded murder was even more unpleasant.
Not least, of course, because if you were caught at it, you’d be hanged. Which was
terrifying.

And yet death – and murder – there would have to be. The person in the woods
could see no other way out.

Which instilled in that person’s heart yet another, stronger emotion. Rage.
It was simply not fair!

But then, as the person in the woods had already learned very well indeed, life had
no interest in being fair.

A woodpecker struck up its rat-a-tat-tat drumming on an old dead horse chestnut
tree deeper in the woods, its resonance vibrating through the air. But the human
occupant of the wood barely noticed it.

Tomorrow, the silent watcher in the woods thought, would be a good day for it.
With so much happening, there was bound to be confusion, which would almost
certainly provide the best opportunity for action.

Yes. Tomorrow someone would have to die.

Sharing an #extract from #NoFilter! @scribbler_maxi #boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks

For my stop on Maxine Morrey’s blog tour, I am sharing an extract from her new book, #No Filter. Before i do though, here is a little bit more about the book:

Popular lifestyle blogger, Libby Cartwright, is being boggled by business when help shows up in the shape of gorgeous but shy, Charlie Richmond. Libby’s determined to keep it at ‘just good friends’ – she’s dated someone from ‘Corporate Land’ before and it didn’t end well. As she and Charlie begin spending more time together, Libby is starting to waver – until she discovers something which makes her question if she’s ready for love.

Still reeling, she suffers another blow as her blog is attacked in a national newspaper, for promoting unachievable perfection. Libby knows it’s not true – but the only way to prove that is to strip off the armour she’s been wearing for years.

Is she brave enough to show the world she’s far from perfect? And will Charlie be by her side if she does…

Available to purchase now from Amazon.

Extract.

‘That’s it! I am totally going to jail. I’m going to get it wrong, owe thousands, not be able to pay, and go to jail!’ I flung myself backwards with an overly dramatic sigh and lay sprawled on the paperwork I had been looking at. ‘And seriously? Me in an orange jumpsuit? I don’t care how on trend they are; I could never pull that off! Orange is so not my colour.’

Amy topped up her wine glass before reaching a hand down to grab my arm, tugging me in the direction of the sofa. I slid along the floor for a few moments in my prone position, like some sort of beached, four-legged starfish, until I eventually bumped into the furniture.

‘I think that’s more America, hon,’ she said, yanking me upwards. ‘I’m not sure what ours are like. Something much more subtle, I expect. And don’t worry. I’ll hide a file inside the first cake I bring you. You’ll be out in no time.’

I paused in my clambering from the floor onto the sofa, and gave her a look. She made a sawing motion with one hand, accompanied by an over-exaggerated wink as she held out my wine glass. Flopping onto the couch, I took the glass and swigged a large mouthful, before laying my head back onto the soft cushions.

‘Seriously though. I really don’t know what I’m doing with this. I thought I was handling all this business stuff OK until now.’

‘And you are!’ Amy interjected. ‘Your blog is doing amazingly well! I can’t believe the difference in a year – it’s incredible! Seriously, Libs, you should really be proud of yourself.’

I sighed. ‘Thanks, Ames. And I am, and of Tilly. I couldn’t have done it without her. But I’m so frustrated! I’ve taken on this insane learning curve and, for the most part, got the hang of things. I think. But this?’ I kicked a piece of paper with my bare toes. ‘This, I just cannot get my head round! Why does tax have to be so bloody complicated? They send you this stuff so that you are supposedly able to do it yourself, but write it in the most confusing language possible! How is that even remotely helpful?’

Amy just shook her head and took another sip of wine.

‘So, what are you going to do?’

‘I don’t know. I guess I need to start looking for an accountant.’ I twiddled the wine glass stem in my hand.

Amy leant over and bumped her head gently on my shoulder. ‘You know; it is OK to ask people for help sometimes. We can’t all be amazing at everything. Creating all this in such a short space of time is brilliant, Libby. Finding that you need some extra expertise in one area is perfectly acceptable, and perfectly normal.’

‘I guess.’ I put the glass down. ‘Before I forget, I have something for you.’

Immediately, Amy sat up straighter in anticipation and her eyes watched me as I crossed to the other side of the room and picked up a small, but fancy, cardboard bag with intricately twisted rope handles and a swirly script logo on the side. Walking back over to the sofa, I plopped the bag down on Amy’s lap.

‘Did I ever tell you that going for it with this lifestyle blog business is the best thing that you’ve ever done?’

I laughed. ‘You just like the freebies.’

#BlogTour! #Extract from #AShotInTheDark by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello (@neilmustard @katonahprod) @RedDogTweets

ASITD_TourBanner
Today I have the pleasure of hosting an extract from ‘A Shot In The Dark’ by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello. Many thanks to RedDogPress for asking me to be involved with the blog tour. Before I share the extract however, is a little bit more about the book and the authors behind it:

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Sussex, England, 1929.

Mydworth is a sleepy English market town just 50 miles from London. But things are about to liven up there considerably, when young Sir Harry Mortimer returns home from his government posting in Cairo, with his unconventional American wife – Kat Reilly. No sooner have the two arrived, when a jewel robbery occurs at Harry’s aunt’s home – Mydworth Manor – ending in one of the thieves being shot…and killed. The local police are baffled by the case. But Harry and Kat have an edge in the hunt for the second thief: not only do they have certain useful “skills” they’ve both picked up in service of King, President and Country, they also have access to parts of English high society that your average bobby can’t reach. Because this Shot in the Dark…could have come from anywhere.

Buy now from: RedDogPress Shop // Amazon UK

About the authors.

Co-authors Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (based in the US), have been writing together since the mid-90s, creating innovative television, games and best-selling books. Together, they have worked on major projects for the BBC, PBS, Disney Channel, Sony, ABC, Eidos, and Nintendo to name but a few. 

Their transatlantic collaboration led to the globally best-selling mystery series, Cherringham, which has also been a top-seller as audiobooks read by Neil Dudgeon. 

Mydworth Mysteries is their brand new series, set in 1929 Sussex, England, which takes readers back to a world where solving crimes was more difficult — but also sometimes a lot more fun.

Extract.

KAT REILLY WATCHED her husband Harry shield his eyes from the morning sun as he studied the unloading process of the cross-channel ferry at Newhaven dock.
She knew him well enough to see that he was concerned.
The Pride of Sussex had berthed an hour late, and, in the frenzied hurry to turn the ship around, Kat had already seen one precious cargo slip from its net and smash on the quayside.

While the steamer belched smoke into the sky, hordes of trucks, horses and carts, and hand-barrows swarmed around the dock-side, as passengers called instructions, and customs men tried to intervene. So much for all the English politeness and decorum she’d been expecting to see on this, her first trip to Britain!
Though, in truth, Sir Harry Mortimer seemed as ever to typify the calm, unruffled English gentleman. Tall, slim, his black hair longer than she’d ever known it, jacket slung nonchalantly over one shoulder, white cotton shirt sporting a dashing red tie.
All he needed was a tennis racquet to complete the look.
Or should that be – a cricket bat? He turned back to her.

“Hmm… just going to have a quick word with those chaps over there. Make sure
they, er…”
She grinned at that. “And how will that go?”
Harry – with one of his great smiles – nodded.
“You think they won’t welcome my advice?”
“With open arms, I’m sure. That or clenched fists.”
“That is my car they’re about to drop on the quay.”
“Your car?”
“Ah, right. Sorry – old habits. I mean our car. Thing is, she may not be a Bugatti, but that Alvis is damned
precious to me.”

“Good luck. Back in New York nobody argues with the longshoremen.”
“Well, I fancy we’re a tad more civilised over here.”
“Civilised? Nine o’clock and I’m still waiting for that coffee you promised.”
“How about we stop in at a local hostelry en route and celebrate my return to the motherland, and your
first visit, with a slap-up breakfast?”
“Slap-up?”
“Forgot you don’t quite speak the lingo yet. Means ‘large’. The works!”
“Sounds delicious.”

 

#BlogTour! #Extract from ‘A Cruel Deception’ by Kim Booth (@K_B_Author) @BOTBSPublicity

Many thanks to Sarah for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘A Cruel Deception’ by Kim Booth. Here is an extract from the book, as well as the blurb and the all important ‘buy’ link:

For Joan and Ted Warner, an innocent and trusting couple, a chance encounter with Barbara Hendry, a cunning con-woman who turned their settled lives into a living nightmare

The Warners were not victims of a remote scam, carried out over the internet by fraudsters from afar. For six years, faking a friendship face-to-face, this plausible woman carried off the impersonation of a member of the nobility fallen on hard times, manipulating the emotions of her victims, deceitfully draining them of every penny they had set aside for their retirement, and plunging them into debt.

Hendrys intention was to slip away, having sucked the Warners dry of all their hard-earned savings. But for some dogged investigative work by a determined detective she would have succeeded- and remained free to prey on other vulnerable victims.

Follow this journey of fraud and depravity in the company of the one man who knows the full story – the British detective who cracked the case and brought Barbara Hendry to justice.

Buy now from Amazon

Extract.

During the following months and after having spent a large amount away on the fraud enquiry it was time to return to getting on with my local work and wait for justice to take its course. I had left requests for statements to be recorded from witnesses that I had been unable to see and was waiting for any replies. In my absence there had been a number of burglaries at large houses on the patch that needed looking into, I still had the enquiry to pursue where an “additional” grave had been discovered by a gardener in a local graveyard and I had also been given an enquiry to look into about some very suspicious “goings-on” and a very large country house in the north of the patch. Gossip was rife about women being chased around the very large gardens of the premises scantily clad, chauffer driven cars arriving at all hours of the day and night being let into the premises which were guarded by very large metal gates. I decided to go and take a look to see what was going on, and when I approached the gate was met by a very large male with no neck who when I enquired as to who lived there was told in no uncertain terms to “Piss off!” not a good move really by the man on the gate it only served to feed my appetite as to what was going on.

I had not introduced myself for fear of compromising any future enquiries but as it turned out the premises were owned and being used by a multi-national company as a “knocking shop” where executives would no doubt take advantage of the pleasures on offer to ease the process of any business negotiations! The premises later featured in a national corruption enquiry involving a well-known national company.

#BlogTour! #Extract from Honeymoon For One by Frankie Collins (@frankiecollins_) @BoldwoodBooks #Boldwoodblogtour

Frankie Collins Blog Tour (2)
Many thanks to Boldwood Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Honeymoon For One’ by Frankie Collins, it’s a pleasure to be involved! For my stop on the tour, I am delighted to be sharing an extract from the book itself. Before I do that, here is a little bit more about the book, as well as the all important ‘buy’ link. Enjoy!

9781838890773

When disaster strikes, paradise calls…

As a published novelist, Lila Rose has been writing about fictional weddings all her life. But disaster strikes on her own big day when she hears her philandering fiancé, Daniel whispering sweet nothings to someone else.

With her dream day shattered, all Lila wants to do is run and hide, so she decides to fly solo on her own honeymoon.

When Daniel arrives in the resort with his new squeeze, Lila strikes up a ‘showmance’ with hot new movie star, Freddie Bianchi. Freddie is perfect for the part and Lila soon relaxes into her leading lady role.

But as truth starts to merge with fiction, could real love be in the air?

Buy now from Amazon UK

Extract.

Your wedding day is the start of a life-long journey, and, like any other journey, it
requires a lot of planning.
First, and most importantly, you need to know where you’re going and how you’re
going to get there. Are you on a one-track path to growing old together or are you
planning on making stops at pets, babies or house moves?
On a real trip you’re going to want insurance, but on the life-long journey of
marriage, assurance is what you need. Are you doing this with the right person? Will
they stand by you for better, for worse? For richer, for poorer? In sickness and in
health?

When your plans are all in place and it’s time to set off on this wonderful, wild
adventure, the only thing left to do is pack – but pack light.
Unfortunately, on this non-stop flight to a happy ever after, ex-boyfriends will not
fit in the overhead storage, no matter how much you dissected the relationship. All
baggage must be destroyed before boarding – you absolutely cannot bring your baggage
into a marriage.

Before you tie the knot, customs will confiscate any and all contraband still on
your person, not limited to, but including flirtatious WhatsApp threads and other
miscellaneous weaponry.

I’m travelling light today. All I have with me is my something old (a necklace my
grandma left me in her will), my something new (the sapphire studs in my ears), and my
something borrowed (a handkerchief from my mum, which I’m going to keep in the
pocket of my wedding dress, because you’d better believe I had my wedding dress made
with sneaky pockets). My something blue is (apparently) my best friend, Ali, who is
currently lying on the chaise longue at the bottom of my bed in my hotel room.
‘Oh, Lila,’ she says dramatically. ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’

I smile at myself in the mirror. Most best friends are supportive, attentive maids of
honour. Ali is showing me her love and support by constantly questioning whether or
not this is the right thing to do. I wouldn’t have her any other way though.
‘I’m pretty sure,’ I tell her. ‘I made sure I was sure before I spent thousands of
pounds on a wedding and a honeymoon.’
‘Well, yeah, I figured,’ she replies. ‘But… I don’t know, I don’t think I thought you’d
go through with it.’
I laugh.
‘And yet here we are,’ I say, smiling at her.
‘Daniel is… you know, he’s fine,’ she says.
‘Fine,’ I repeat back to her. Just what a bride wants to hear on her wedding day.
‘Yeah, he’s fine… he’s maybe just fine though?’
My best friend hasn’t waited until my wedding day to say this, she’s been telling
me for years that Daniel was just too boring to settle down with. I think this is a ‘speak
now or forever hold your peace’ type conversation, not that the latter sounds remotely
like something Ali would do.
‘I know you think he’s boring,’ I tell her. ‘But, maybe “boring guys” are the ones
you settle down with? Take that playboy banker you met last weekend – you wouldn’t
marry him, would you?’
‘Well, someone clearly did,’ she points out. ‘There was a wedding ring in his hotel
bathroom.’
‘Was?’ I dare to ask.
‘Yeah, I flushed it down the lav,’ she says casually. ‘I really don’t appreciate being
lied to.’
Ali is a real force to be reckoned with.
‘I know you’re only being semi-serious with the whole talking me out of getting
married thing,’ I start. ‘But honestly, I’ve thought this through. I love him, we’re happy
together – OK, things might not be wild, but I know in my heart that it’s time to put sexy
playboy bankers behind me.’
‘Well, that’s what I do with them,’ Ali says with a wiggle of her eyebrows.
I know that Ali just wants me to be happy, but I did consider all of this before
agreeing to marry my fiancé, Daniel Tyler, and when I say I considered it before
agreeing, I mean I literally asked him for a moment, before I gave him my answer. The reason for this is because marriage is something I take seriously. My parents, both sixty-
five years of age, have been married since they were nineteen. I might be thirty-one, but I want to marry once, and for life. I had a blast in my twenties, Daniel and I moved in
together when I was twenty-nine and now, comfortably accepting of the fact I am in my
thirties, I finally feel ready to tie the knot.

When some women say they have been planning their wedding for years, what
they really mean is they’ve been dressing up in net curtains as kids and trolling
Pinterest for flower arrangements as adults. Well, I really have been planning weddings
for years… sort of. Not my own wedding and I’m certainly not a wedding planner.
I’m a rom-com author and although the weddings I work with may be fictional, I
haven’t just planned a lot of them – I’ve ruined a lot of them too. I’ve written ten books
now, so it’s pretty safe to say I’ve considered every possible triumph, every little hiccup
and every epic fail my romantic yet devious mind can conjure up.
So, yes, while I have researched flowers, cakes and dresses, and tweaked them
accordingly (pockets! Honestly, this is going to be a game changer), I don’t just know
what this wedding needs, I know what it doesn’t need too. Obsessing over what flavour
frosting to have is rather silly – that’s just the icing on the cake. What you should be
worrying about are the things that are out of your control.
I have essentially reverse-engineered every single wedding I’ve ever written, to
make sure that my real wedding is perfect. It’s kind of a genius move.

About the author.

Frankie Collins is the pseudonym of Portia MacIntosh, bestselling romantic comedy author of 12 novels, including It’s Not You, It’s Them and The Accidental Honeymoon. Previously a music journalist, Frankie writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real life experiences.

Follow Frankie on Twitter