#BlogTour! #Extract – 11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter (@LibbyCPT) @AvonBooksUK

11 Missed Calls Blog Tour FINAL
Today for my stop on the ’11 Missed Calls’ blog tour, I will be sharing an extract from Elisabeth Carpenter’s new book. Enjoy!

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Here are two things I know about my mother:
1. She had dark hair, like mine.
2. She wasn’t very happy at the end.

Anna has always believed that her mother, Debbie, died 30 years ago on the night she disappeared.

But when her father gets a strange note, she realises that she’s never been told the full story of what happened that night on the cliff.

Confused and upset, Anna turns to her husband Jack – but when she finds a love letter from another woman in his wallet, she realises there’s no-one left to help her, least of all her family.

And then a body is found…

Extract.

I grab my laptop and take it into the living room. I still don’t know what to say in my reply to Debbie. It is too important to just fire off a few words when I have a whole lifetime to write about. She won’t be expecting a message from me, but I doubt Monica or Dad have replied yet. They would have told me if they had, though I’m not sure of anything these days.

‘Just ask to meet,’ says Jack, reading my mind. ‘You don’t have to write an essay. If she is who she says she is, then you’ll find out soon enough.’

Perhaps it is as simple as that. There is a tiny part of me – self-preservation, again – that tells me not to give too much away in an email. She must earn the right to hear my news. The least she could do is meet me.

I click on the email forwarded by Dad. I already know her words off by heart, but I still read it. ‘The memories of shells and sweet things …’ No one else could know about that.

I type out the reply before I can think about it, and press send.

Buy now from Amazon

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#BlogTour! #Extract from #TheBookNinja by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus (@thebookninjas) @simonschusteruk


Second day of the blog tour for ‘The Book Ninja’, and the tour bus stops here at TWG! This book is on my TBR and I aim to get to it very soon, but until then I have an extract from the book to share with you all today. Before I do that however, here is a little bit more information about Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus’ new book:


‘Frankie, think about it. Literature is your life. You’ve been trawling Tinder looking for well-read intellectuals, but it’s not working. Let’s shake things up! Just use your favourite books to find a man.’ 

Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person. It’s not that she hasn’t tried – Frankie is the queen of online dating. But she has had enough.

With the help of her best friend and colleague Cat, Frankie decides to embark on the ultimate dating experiment. Inspired by her surroundings at The Little Brunswick Bookshop where she works, Frankie places her hope in her favourite books to find her the perfect man… Secretly planting copies on trains, trams and buses, Frankie hopes to find the man of her dreams through a mutual love of good books. The only flaw to the plan? That she may never get her books back!

But that turns out to be the least of her worries… In between crazy dates and writing them up on her blog, Frankie stumbles upon her perfect man. There’s just one problem…Frankie is strictly a Jane Austen kind of woman and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Seriously, obsessively into it…

Can Frankie overcome her book snobbery for the man of her dreams? Or will she be left searching the trains for her modern-day Mr Darcy forever?

You can purchase ‘The Book Ninja’ now from Amazon

Extract – chapter 1.

If Frankie’s life were a book, she would title it Disappoint- ment, named aptly after the disaster that was her career, her family and, of course, her love life.

Frankie’s alarm blared accusingly, declaring that she was already twenty minutes late to get out of bed. She sighed, rolled over, and buried her face in her shabby copy of Emma, which she had shoved under her pillow the night before. Then she bit her lip, thinking she would never be remarkable enough to have a book named simply after her first name.

But Frankie never judged a book by its title. Nor by its cover. She liked to judge a novel purely by its opening sentence, which she and her best friend Cat dubbed a ‘book birth’. InEmma’s birth, Austen described Miss Woodhouse as ‘hand- some, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition’. By contrast, the opening sentence of Frankie’s birth was her mother proclaiming, ‘She’s bald and has her father’s big nose.’

Frankie pulled her blanket over her head and drank up the words on the page in front of her. She knew she was approaching the proposal scene, and closed her eyes tight. Just like a good chocolate bar, she wasn’t sure whether she should indulge in its goodness right now, or savour it later. And just like that, the jarring ring of her phone solved the dilemma for her. Frankie picked it up and saw her mother’s name flashing on the screen. She rolled her eyes, clicked ‘ignore’ and slowly dragged herself out of bed.

Searching for an outfit that was easy to put together, she SY picked up a loose cotton dress from her floor and flung it on. Scooting through her bedroom door, she walked towards her pride and joy – her precisely colour-coded bookshelf. Filled with 172 of her all-time favourites, the bookshelf lined a full wall of her living room. Beginning with reds on top, the wall shaded into oranges, yellows, pinks, purples, greens, blues, greys and, finally, blacks. A rainbow of books. Her happy place. She dragged her fingers absently across the cloth-bound Austen’s, along the hardcover Fowlers, over the Brontës and then stopped haltingly at the muted green book with ‘Frankie Rose’ embossed on the spine. She picked it up cautiously, as if it were a snake about to bite, and peeled open the first page.

To Mum, Dad, Cat, Ads and, most importantly, pizza. For all the love, support and cheesy goodness.

Frankie slammed the book shut and threw it to the other side of the room. She grabbed her handbag, which lay beside the couch, slipped on a pair of red sneakers and ran out the door of her too-small Richmond apartment.

After digging for the keys in the bottom of her bag, Frankie let herself into The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop; her home away from home for the last year and a half, right about the time her dreams shattered and her life fell apart. Working at the bookstore had saved her, in so many ways. It reminded her of the three months she had spent working at the famous Parisian bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, before she returned to start her Masters of English Lit at the University of Melbourne.

Free of responsibility, Frankie had relished this time spent lost between bookshelves, writing, and eating almond croissants. That same carefree feeling washed over her every time she entered The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop. She loved watching people from the inside out, like a backwards kaleidoscope of literature lovers gazing into their beautiful front windows from vibrant Brunswick Street. She loved being surrounded by powerful women such as Angelou, Atwood and Adichie. And most of all, she loved working with Cat. Cat’s husband Claud had inherited The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop from his grandparents, and when he – an accountant at a small city law firm who maintained long hours and an intense knitting hobby – was unsure how he would juggle a second job, Cat had the genius idea of selling the books in the front, while he, occasionally, managed the books from the back. And when Cat offered Frankie a job, it didn’t take long for her to say yes, yes, yes!

Since the days spent penning love letters to Mr Darcy instead of practising algebra in Year 8 maths, their bond had endured even though Cat, pregnant with her first child, now spent Saturday nights watching reruns of The National Knitting Evening on Netflix with Claud, and Frankie, pregnant with last night’s pizza, spent hers on awful first dates. And now, with their days spent surrounded by, discussing and reading books (and of course appraising everyone else based on their book choices), Cat and Frankie were closer than Horatio and Hamlet.

Frankie wound her way through the shelves and unceremoniously flung her bag beneath the front counter. She cranked on the air conditioning, sank into the seat behind the register, placed her feet up on the counter and returned to her worn copy of Emma. She had just turned the page when the front door chimed open and Cat marched into the store. Her red SY frizzy hair was everywhere, sweat dripped down her face and she wore a hot pink knitted top, black lycra pants and bright orange sneakers.

‘Catherine,’ Frankie nodded from behind her book. ‘Frankston,’ Cat nodded back. She joined Frankie behind

the counter, grabbed her copy of Jasper Jones and propped her feet up next to Frankie’s.

‘What’s with the sweat?’ Frankie asked.

‘I had another K-Pop dance class this morning – which was amazing, by the way – but their showers are broken and I couldn’t be bothered walking home to change and then coming all the way back here, so I thought if I just stood outside for a while I would dry. But I forgot that it’s going to be thirty-two freaking degrees today! Plus, these knits Claud keeps making me do nothing for sweat absorption. Look at me dripping, I’m like an ice cream!’ Cat grabbed Frankie and tried to pull her head into her sweaty chest.

If Frankie was the queen of dating, Cat was the queen of exercise classes. From barre to one very confronting summer of pole dancing, Cat became obsessed and then unobsessed with every sort of exercise and health kick imaginable, before dropping it like Marius drops Eponine. It all started a few summers ago and, at first, Frankie thought the fixation on fitness was simply Cat wanting to be healthier and more toned, but lately she had wondered whether it tapped into a deeper insecurity. Cat used to relish watching heads turn at her overly attractive husband, but was she starting to feel overlooked?

‘What are you up to?’ Cat asked, glancing at Frankie’s battered book.

‘Almost at the proposal,’ Frankie gushed.

‘Aren’t you sick of reading the same books over and over?’

‘You’re reading Jasper Jones for the fourth time,’ Frankie countered.

Cat spread her arms as if to say touché.
‘So, something pretty weird happened at K-Pop today.’ ‘Oh?’ Frankie asked.
The front door opened, halting their conversation. Frankie

and Cat shut their books, dropped their feet to the floor and looked up, alert. A stout, slightly balding man walked in.

‘Sci-fi!’ hissed Cat.
‘War biography!’ spat Frankie.
The man, red in the face, smiled at Frankie and Cat. They smiled back sweetly and asked if he needed any assistance. He shook his head and then proceeded to walk excruciatingly slowly around the bookstore, scratching his head, not touching anything. The women stared at him, examining his every step.

‘Just make your move,’ Cat whispered at him.
‘He’s about to pounce!’ hissed Frankie.
After what seemed an age, the man stopped in the science fiction section and grabbed two Stephen King novels, placing one swiftly under each armpit.

‘Damn it! Shirt but no tie. Dead giveaway,’ Frankie said, disappointed.

‘Pay up, Frankston.’ Cat held her hand out in front of Frankie’s nose, wiggling her fingers in anticipation. Frankie slowly dragged a five-dollar note out of her wallet and slammed it into Cat’s hand.

‘Just these two wonderful sci-fi books, then?’ Cat said to her customer while smiling devilishly at Frankie.

‘Yes, I love a good Stephen King,’ said the man, dropping the books on the counter for Cat to scan. ‘I was actually going to try my hand at that war biog, The Crossroad, by Mark someone-or-other. You know the one I mean? But then ISY thought, why stop at a good thing? And King – well, he’s a very good thing!’ he chuckled.

Frankie stared, and Cat held back a laugh as she slid the two Kings into a paper bag.
‘Have a lovely day. I’m so glad you decided to go with

King over a war biography. King really is such a good thing,’ chirped Cat.

‘He really is! Well, toodaloo!’ the man trumpeted as he walked out the door, the bell ringing behind him.

‘Go you good thing!’ Cat shouted after him, pumping her fist triumphantly.

‘He was going to buy a war biog! Give me my five dollars back!’ Frankie grabbed at the note, but Cat pulled away.

‘He was going to. But alas, he didn’t! The fiver is all mine,’ said Cat smugly.
it.’ Frankie sighed. ‘You don’t have to sound so pleased about

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ Cat said, smiling, and sounding even more delighted with herself.

Frankie frowned. Balancing their legs back on the counter, they reclined in their chairs. The growing heat of the day pressed its way under the gap beneath the front door, only to be stunted by the harsh air conditioning in the store. Beads of cool sweat trickled down Frankie’s neck and into her cleavage.

‘Sorry, I’m in a silly mood,’ Cat said.

Silence. ‘“Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way,”’ Frankie quoted the Austen she was reading, to a tee.

Cat smiled as Frankie gave a little bow of her head.

‘So, why the silly mood, Kitty Cat? What happened at K-Pop? Are you moving to Korea?’ Frankie joked.

‘Oh, it was nothing. I’ll go get the coffees.’ Cat jumped up just a little too quickly and grabbed her bag.

‘Cat! Seriously? What happened at K-Pop?’ It was unlike Cat to be so evasive. Frankie usually got the lowdown from her about everything, from what she had for breakfast to the romance between the two buskers who sat opposite the bookstore.

‘Nothing. Nothing.’ Cat’s face bloomed even redder, and her eyes darted towards the door.

‘Catherine Adeline Cooper. Tell. Me. Now.’ Frankie squinted suspiciously at Cat.

Cat stared back just as intently, and for a minute – a record for them – they had an ice-cold stare-off.

‘Oh, all right, fine!’ Cat threw her arms in the air, defeated. ‘Yes?’
‘Well, at K-Pop … there’s this really cute dancer. A guy.

Called Jin Soo.’ ‘Jin Soo?’

‘Yes, Jin Soo.’
‘And?’
‘And … Jin Soo.’
‘What about Jin Soo?’
‘Well, I sort of, accidentally, slept with him a few weeks

back,’ Cat covered her mouth with her hand and bolted for the door.

‘WHAT! Cat? Cat, come back!’ Frankie shouted, refusing to believe what she had just heard.

Cat, cheating on Claud? No; Frankie knew it was impossible. Cat would never cheat on him. Cat and Claud’s marriage wasn’t perfect, but whose was? Cat loved Claud. In his stupidly good-looking, knitting-obsessed entirety. And she was four months’ pregnant with his child, for God’s sake.

Frankie jumped up from her seat and raced after her sweaty, SY recently adulterous friend. As she pulled open the front door she stopped. Instead of Cat, before her stood a man. Possibly the best looking man she had ever laid eyes on. He was tall; he was burly. He was, to her mind, the perfect mix of John Knightley, Mr Darcy and Edmund Bertram all rolled into one.

#BlogTour! #Extract – #GirlsNightOutBook by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke (@LizandLisa) @AmazonPub


Today is THE Writing Garnet’s stop on the blog tour for ‘Girls’ Night Out’ by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.  For my post today I have an extract from the book. Enjoy!

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.
Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?

As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

Extract.

Natalie tried to conjure what she could from the night before—their girls’ night out. She
recalled getting ready. Putting on the black dress with the floral embroidery that she’d
purchased from a street vendor in downtown Tulum, the dress that now hung heavy on her.
She recalled going out to dinner—to that beachfront restaurant with the wooden tables—what
was it called? She strained until the thought finally came—Hartwood!

Yes, that was it. She
recalled Ashley ordering Patrón, Natalie protesting weakly before finally giving in. Despite
her policy against doing tequila shots because they would only lead to no good—she could
name a dozen possibilities—Ashley’s big brown eyes had won her over when the small
handblown glasses with salted rims were set on the table next to a plate of limes. Ashley’s
body had been angled just slightly away from Lauren, and her request was clear. Please.

Have fun with me. We need this.

And Ashley had been right. They’d needed it.

Natalie had grabbed the glass and tossed it back, the burn of the tequila in her throat
making her feel both invigorated and a little bit dangerous. As her chest warmed and her eyes
stung, she was struck with a feeling that anything could happen.

But what had happened?

Buy now from Amazon

 

#BlogTour! #Extract – The Lost Sister by Tracy Buchanan (@TracyBuchanan) @AvonBooksUK


It’s TWG’s turn on the blog tour for ‘The Lost Sister’ by Tracy Buchanan. Big thank you to Avon for the blog tour invite. Today I will be sharing an extract from the book, enjoy!

For the first time in your life, she is going to tell you the truth…

Then: A trip to the beach tore Becky’s world apart. It was the day her mother Selma met the mysterious man she went on to fall in love with, and leave her husband and child for.

Now: It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but Selma has just weeks to live. And she has something important to tell Becky – a secret she been hiding for many years. She had another daughter.

With the loss of her mother, Becky aches to find her sister. She knows she cannot move forward in her life without answers, but who can she really trust?

Extract.

Mike caught my eye. He was desperate for another. But I couldn’t think of anything worse, shuddering as I remembered that sticky, confusing, sick-infested time of Becky’s newborn months. The emotions. The tears. I adored Becky, my perfect one. It would be like going back to square one if I had another. Plus, there was the slight problem of Mike and I barely touching any more. Maybe that should have worried me, but the truth was, I didn’t want to touch or be touched. On the rare occasions when we did make love, I flinched then felt nothing, going through the motions as I turned my face away. I used to be so passionate, to love to hold and be held. But not any more.

I sighed, turning back to Julie. ‘We’ve been told we can’t,’ I whispered so Mike couldn’t overhear. The lie sent a thrill through me. ‘We don’t like to talk about it, especially Mike,’ I added with a grimace. Another touch of the arm. ‘You’re one of the only people I’ve told.’
‘I’m so sorry,’ Julie whispered back. I could see it mixed in with the empathy in her eyes, how pleased she was to be one of the privileged few to know.
‘But let’s not talk about that,’ I said, fanning my hand about. ‘Tell me about you.’
As Julie launched into the details of her problems with sore nipples, I slid my sunglasses back up to hide the fact I wasn’t really listening, my mind drifting off to the plot of my latest novel.

E-book is available to buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Excerpt from author of #DortmundHibernate, CJ Sutton (@c_j_sutton) @RaRaResources


I am delighted to be popping C J Sutton’s TWG cherry, as I share an excerpt from the book. Thank you to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite! Before I share the excerpt, here is some more information about C J Sutton’s novel, ‘Dortmund Hibernate’.


Psychologist Dr Magnus Paul is tasked with the patients of Dortmund Asylum – nine criminally
insane souls hidden from the world due to the extremity of their acts.

Magnus has six weeks to prove them sane for transfer to a maximum-security prison, or label them
as incurable and recommend a death sentence under a new government act.

As Magnus delves into the darkness of the incarcerated minds, his own sanity is challenged. Secrets
squeeze through the cracks of the asylum, blurring the line between reality and nightmare, urging
Magnus towards a new life of crime…

The rural western town of Dortmund and its inhabitants are the backdrop to the mayhem on the
hill.

It’s Silence of the Lambs meets Shutter Island in this tale of loss, fear and diminishing hope.

Buy now!

About the author.

C.J. Sutton is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Master of Communication with
majors in journalism and creative writing, and supports the value of study through correspondence.
His fictional writing delves into the unpredictability of the human mind and the fears that drive us.
As a professional writer C.J. Sutton has worked within the hustle and bustle of newsrooms, the
competitive offices of advertising and the trenches of marketing. But his interest in creating new
characters and worlds has seen a move into fiction, which has always pleaded for complete
attention. Dortmund Hibernate is his debut novel.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/cjsutton.author/
https://twitter.com/c_j_sutton
https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/79517906-c-j-sutton

Excerpt.

In the following excerpt from Dortmund Hibernate, the protagonist Dr Magnus Paul is
discussing his past with lead guard Walter Perch to shed some light on why he chose such a
challenging and dark role. Here we take a glimpse into the lives of his siblings and their
impact on him becoming a renowned psychologist. Magnus’ past is as important as any
character in the path to a conclusion for the nine inmates.

“I was about eleven or twelve, and my brother came home beaming. He’d got this
job, the first of his life, and was waving around a bundle of colourful notes. I’d never
seen so much money. He ran straight up to me, unable to contain his excitement.
‘We are going to celebrate. Pizza, video games, whatever you want, kid.’ Mum
watched, and she was so proud. He handed her fifty dollars, and whispered in her
ear. I’d never seen her so happy. ‘Quick,’ he said, punching my shoulder, ‘grab your
sister and let’s go.’ I didn’t want to get her; her new boyfriend was over – Mitch, a
real slick cocksucker of a guy, arms like metal beams and a haircut that every prick
had at the time. I tried to tell him that it should just be us, two brothers spending
cash, but he insisted she join us. ‘Go get your sister, c’mon!’ I had no choice. Her
room was at the other end of the house, down a long hallway. I creeped, not wanting
to bust in there while they were going at it. But there was silence, so I continue. The
door wasn’t completely closed, just enough for me to peek through. I could only see
her bare legs hanging off the bed, so I pushed…and I wish I hadn’t; she was
slumped against the headboard of the bed, a needle sticking out of her arm, a dazed
look about her, chest rising ever so slightly. Mitch came out of her en suite bathroom,
turned to me and told me to get the fuck out. I’d never seen my sister use before.
She was always the good girl, telling my brother off when he smoked and slapping
my mum on the arm if she had too many champagnes.

Mitch came at me…and
pushed me so hard I put a hole in her dry wall. I ran out of there, but my brother…he
saw the fear on my face, and he reflected it with anger. I followed him back down the
hall, and he kicked the door open so hard I expected it to fly off its hinges. Now,
Mitch was a fair few sizes bigger than my brother, but here it didn’t matter. He
grabbed Mitch by the throat, pinned him against the wall and kneed him in the groin.
The bigger lad went down like a sack of shit. My brother was standing over him,
grinning; not a happy, satisfied or content grin, but a grin that wasn’t him. I knew
nothing of drugs, but I pulled out that needle carefully and tried to slap her into
consciousness. My brother twisted Mitch’s arm and led him out of the house, past
my mum who swore repeatedly at him.

He was gone for hours, and I never did hear what happened to Mitch. All I can say is
that nobody saw him again. My brother never spoke of it, and he returned still
beaming. We went out to see a movie and eat at a fancy restaurant that didn’t suit
the pair of us, and my sister spent the day recovering. They had their faults, bro and
sis, but they would’ve protected me against anyone, anything. This is my way, Walt.
There’s still a chance to do some good, for them.”

#BlogTour! #ChapterExtract – Best Practice by Penny Parkes (@CotswoldPenny) @SimonSchusterUK @TeamBATC


Delighted to be joining the blog tour for Penny Parkes and ‘Best Practice’! For my stop on the tour this evening, I have the pleasure of sharing an extract from Chapter 3 of the book. I hope you enjoy! Big thank you to Hayley from Simon and Schuster for the blog tour invite!

Chapter 3 – Extract

Holly watched in sheer disbelief as the bucolic scene around her dissolved, as though hit by a tsunami of sound. Only those who actually had the presence of mind to look upwards could identify the source of the flattening roar – babies and small children simply burst into wails of confusion and distress. Lizzie’s children and the twins clapped their hands over their ears in mute astonishment at the scene in the sky above them, pressing themselves instinctively against Holly’s legs, mouths open in matching O’s. Coco whimpered pathetically, craving security and comfort. But it was the intensity of the screams from the Main Arena that grabbed everyone’s attention, as beautifully polished ponies scattered in every direction, their riders clinging on for dear life or indeed bailing out onto the soft sawdust of the arena. Even Charlotte Lansing’s commands to her ‘gals’ were drowned out by the chaos.

As quickly as the biplane had arrived, it swooped up into the heavens again, leaving a trail of vapour and an aftermath of pandemonium. Holly instinctively looked around, assessing their immediate environment for casualties and breathing an enormous sigh of relief that everyone was still standing.
Everyone except the Major.

Dan was already guiding him towards a chair and loosening that ridiculous bow tie, as the Major’s face turned puce and he struggled for air. ‘He’s fine,’ Dan called over his shoulder to Marion, reaching for the Major’s nitro spray. ‘Just his angina acting up.’
‘That was close,’ Holly said to Alice. ‘That could have been so much worse. What was he even thinking’ It was only
then that the rhythmic hammering of hooves, punctuated by a gasping cry, caught her attention. A small bay-coloured pony, its mane and tail exquisitely plaited and shining with health and vigour, was bolting towards them. Charlotte Lansing was in pursuit, but the wide-eyed fear on little Jessica Hearst’s face was clear to everyone watching as she clung on desperately. Out of control, the pony was picking up speed, the prized rosette for Best Turned-Out flapping on his bridle only serving to escalate his panic.
Mothers grabbed their children, dogs were pulled abruptly to heel on their leads, nobody wanting to be caught in Jessica’s path as she gamely tried to slow their flight. Perhaps she would have succeeded, her petite frame was certainly stronger than it looked, as she managed to regain her balance and sit deep, anchoring her feet into the stirrups to give herself leverage on the reins. Perhaps, thought Holly for a split second, everything really would be okay.
And then the world seemed to blur and refract around them, as a stray string of bunting caught in the light summer breeze and snaked out into the air, a twirling multicoloured rope of flags tipping the balance out of Jessica’s favour. That one second felt never-ending, as the distracted pony’s front hoof folded into a divot in the grass, his whole body crumpling in on itself as it hurtled towards the ground, with Jessica propelled forward by sheer momentum.

The impact of their bodies hitting the ground in tandem was nothing compared to the sickening thud as a flailing hoof caught Jessica’s helmet. Hollow fear followed a heartbeat later, as the terrified pony staggered back to its feet and Jessica remained, motionless, on the ground. Her twins and Lizzie’s brood were all truly sobbing now and Holly froze, utterly conflicted as to where her attention should be focused. But Alice didn’t even hesitate in taking the lead, thrusting Coco’s harness into Holly’s hand and dashing over to Jessica’s side, as others tried to catch the distraught and flailing pony before any more damage could be done. Gently, so gently, Alice reached for Jessica’s wrist, looking to find a pulse.
‘Don’t move her,’ called Holly unnecessarily, torn between trying to soothe the children and keep an eye on Alice at the same time.
The crack in the little girl’s helmet was like a fissure through the resin, as though an axe had struck her, and Holly looked around her for support. Marion Waverly swooped in, gathering all five young children into her ample bosom and allowing Holly to run over towards the poor girl still lying prone and unresponsive. Teddy Kingsley was on his mobile only a few feet away,
calling for an ambulance and trying to convey the severity of their situation. ‘Teddy!’ Holly called in an urgent whisper, trying not to alarm the people around them, who were already panicking. ‘Tell them there’s a GP on site, an obvious head injury, loss of consciousness and we need a direct transfer to Frenchay Hospital. Tell them we need the Air Ambulance.’
She paused, ‘Tell them it’s critical, Teddy.’
She crouched down beside Alice, who was checking  Jessica’s vitals again, keen to ensure that she wasn’t missing anything in the stress of the moment – it had been a long time since her trauma rotation as a medical student, but Holly was impressed to see that Alice’s composure was absolute.

‘You’re doing fine,’ Holly encouraged her. ‘You’ve got this.’ Thank God.
Alice nodded, muttering, ‘ABC,’ over and over under her breath. She looked to Holly for reassurance. ‘Airway’s clear now. I did a modified jaw thrust because of the likelihood of spinal injury?’ It wasn’t really a question, it was a statement of fact, still it was obvious Alice needed Holly’s confirmation that she was doing the right thing. ‘She’s breathing on her
own and there’s decent capillary refill.’ Alice pressed the fingernail bed on Jessica’s tiny hand again and counted until the colour suffused the tissue again. ‘And her heart rate’s pretty
steady at sixty-five, but she’s still unresponsive. Pupils reactive though,’ she added, ever hopeful.
Holly placed a supportive hand on Alice’s arm. ‘You’re doing great, Alice. Keep an eye on her, tell me the minute anything changes, okay? I’ll talk to dispatch to get an ETA and make sure the team at Frenchay know she’s coming.’
Holly stood up and held out her hand for Teddy’s mobile. Holly noticed in her peripheral vision that Cassie Holland was trying, in vain, to corral people away from the scene. Charlotte Lansing had managed to catch the pony, now tiredly lashing out in fear, and Holly could only hope that this gloriously rustic afternoon was not going to end in tragedy for anyone.
She looked up, utterly appalled that the thought hadn’t occurred to her sooner. ‘The parents? Where are Jessica’s parents?’
‘I’m on it,’ said Teddy, gratefully thrusting his phone into
Holly’s hand, relieved of his post as ambulance liaison. He  jogged away across the show ground, heading straight for the VIP hospitality suite. There was no way that Jessica’s family would have been roughing it with the hoi polloi in the beer tent, but surely it wasn’t possible that the carnage outside their silk-lined cocoon had eluded them, thought Holly crossly. The vulnerable figure of their only daughter lying on the grass in such an awkward position would be horrifying either way, Holly realised, shrugging off her jacket and laying it over Jessica despite the warmth of the day. Even though she wasn’t conscious, her slight body would be experiencing all manner of shock reactions. There was a flurry of conversation behind them, as Holly methodically updated the trauma unit in Bristol as to what they might expect and Alice diligently checked Jessica’s vitals again – whispering, shouting, tears and a wailing sob that could only have been Lavinia Hearst. Quite why she was yelling at Teddy and the Major rather than rushing to her daughter’s side was not for her to say, thought Holly, but seriously? There would be plenty of opportunities for blaming and shaming later; herself included, for that awful moment of frozen indecision between her role as parent or doctor. With no helpful information about the Air Ambulance

ETA forthcoming on the phone, time seemed to expand and contract around her. Holly felt swamped. Somebody needed to talk to the parents and Jessica required absolute focus – there was no margin for error here. The slightest slip could mean paralysis or, with a traumatic injury to the head like this, there were any number of complications that Holly didn’t even want to contemplate. But she simply didn’t know whether Alice was up to the job of coping with an hysterical Lavinia Hearst, and Jessica had to be their priority.

The discussions around her grew more strident as Lavinia ranted.
‘Lavinia? Hi, I’m Dr Graham. Jessica’s vitals are stable at the moment but there’s help on the way to take her to Frenchay. She’s had rather a nasty bash on her head. Can you take a deep breath for me, because Jessica needs you to be calm right now. We need to focus on Jessica. Okay?’ Holly said with gentle but non-negotiable firmness, unwilling to leave Alice unsupported in such a challenging situation for too long, but aware that Lavinia was two ticks away from spiralling into a panic attack.
Dan arrived, slightly out of breath from his exertions with the Major, and knelt down in the grass beside them; it was obvious from his whole demeanour that he didn’t come bearing good news. ‘You’re doing a great job, guys,’ he said softly,‘but now I want you to listen to me and then we’re going to work together, okay? I’ve just spoken to dispatch. There’s no Air Ambulance available today. It’s not coming. This is going to be a longer journey for Jessica than I’d like.’
The commotion of voices and moving equipment broke over them like another wave, jolting Holly out of her focus, as the ambulance pulled up beside them and the doors were flung open. Discussions about the bumpiness of the track across the showground began throwing open a whole new set of problems. Holly and Alice were both swept aside as Dan took over, conferring with the paramedics and taking control. Holly gave Alice a hug. ‘You did such a brilliant job, Alice. But it’s time to let Dan step in. He really is the best person for this job now; the things he learned in the Army .. . ’
Alice nodded, her eyes never once leaving the tiny figure now being transferred to a backboard and swamped by the neck brace that the paramedics and Dan had prioritised before anything else. ‘It’s the right thing to do,’ Alice said awkwardly.
From this point though, as Holly remembered only too well from her years in A&E, ‘time was brain’ – it was a race now to stop any secondary swelling causing yet more irreversible damage. They might not see too many traumatic brain injuries at The Practice, but they all knew that Dan was no stranger to life-changing injuries, and his experience patching together survivors of roadside bombs gave him the obvious advantage. Holly turned her attention back to Lavinia Hearst, outlining in simple terms what would happen next and gently explaining the reality of the situation for her – a filthy concussion was actually a best case scenario for Jessica right now, as she still remained unconscious. Not that Lavinia appeared to be listening – whether from shock or sheer bloody stupidity, she swung from yelling at the Major to trying to reach her daughter ‘ just to hold her’.
Watching the paramedics gently transferring Jessica to a backboard was a lesson in caution all of its own; any benefit from rushing negated by the obvious risks of paralysis. Allowing Lavinia into the mix while she was so overwrought and unpredictable could have devastating consequences. Holly glanced up and saw that Alice’s face was now sheet white and her eyes were wide, as the shock of the whole accident began to catch up with her. ‘You okay?’ Holly said gently, grateful that Mr Hearst had finally turned up in time to comfort his wife in her transition from anger to terrified disbelief.

‘He was right to bench me,’ said Alice quietly, if a little begrudgingly. ‘I’m out of my depth.’ She waved a hand towards Dan, where he was intently discussing and implementing the optimum oxygenation rate for Jessica. It was all a question of balance to avoid the twin extremes of hypoxia and hypocapnea.
‘In all honesty,’ Alice confessed to Holly, ‘I’m not sure I would have remembered that, would I?’
Holly said nothing for a moment – it was a common rookie mistake: when it came to oxygen, the instinctive assumption was that more would be better. It was also much better that
Alice had come to this realisation on her own. ‘Don’t over think this, Alice,’ Holly said quietly. ‘This is why we have paramedics. Obviously we need to know the basics of trauma management, but we’re GPs, not A&E consultants. I can see you beating yourself up about this already, but we can’t all be everything. Or we’d end up being jacks of all trades and masters of none.’
Alice nodded, watching as Dan leapt into the back of the ambulance and the doors swung slowly shut. ‘You’re right, of course, but shouldn’t we have the best emergency training possible?’
Her plaintive question gave Holly the perfect opportunity to bring her back into the moment; whilst Jessica’s injuries were obviously life-threatening, there were still plenty of Larkford’s residents around them that needed their help. From cuts and bruises, to a shock-induced asthma attack, to the Major, who now seemed to be having some sort of nervous breakdown, aghast that his celebratory surprise might yet have such catastrophic consequences. Holly took a deep breath. ‘That’s certainly a conversation we should have. Another day. Right now, our patients need
us. You take the Major and I’ll pop Geoffrey Larch on the portable nebuliser,’ Holly said, surveying the damage.
Taffy had already established a triage system in the Main Arena and now had all the riders dismounted and under control. To Holly’s immense surprise it was Cassie Holland who was in her element. She was walking amongst them with her clipboard and a mobile phone, contacting relatives, handing out hot sweet tea to those in shock. She looked poised and in control – clearly someone who rose to a challenge. Alice nodded and walked over to the Major, Holly watching her closely. It was clear that Alice had always considered herself to be one of those people too. And, as with all high-achievers, she could only focus on her weaknesses, rather than her achievements. Holly was quite convinced that Alice couldn’t see the amazing courage that had propelled her forward to Jessica in those first few minutes; she would, in all likelihood, be focusing instead on the ambulance driving away without her on board. Replaceable, replaced and out of her depth. Alice Walker was a fabulous doctor, no doubt, but she was also her own harshest critic.
Holly sighed deeply, hoping that Alice’s confidence wouldn’t be yet another tragedy of this afternoon’s events.

Buy now from Amazon

About the book.

THE BRAND NEW BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF OUT OF PRACTICE
Love and laughter with the residents of Larkford is exactly what the doctor ordered!

Dr Alice Walker has become accomplished at presenting a façade to the world – to anyone watching, she is the epitome of style, composure and professionalism. But perhaps it was to be expected that the cracks might begin to show at some point. Thankfully Grace is on hand to offer both friendship and support when it’s needed most.

Meanwhile, Dr Holly Graham has her hands full both professionally and personally. Planning a wedding with Taffy Jones is challenging enough, even before some surprising news changes everything. At least beloved Larkford resident, Elsie, still has a few tricks left up her sleeve!

Dr Dan Carter, on the other hand, has decided to throw himself into his career – the best antidote he’s found to unrequited love. When tragedy strikes in the heart of Larkford, Dan makes it his mission to help the community.

Other books in the series:

‘Out of Practice’ – buy now!

‘Practice Makes Perfect’ – buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble (@RachelBrimble) @Aria_Fiction @BrookCottageBks

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Rachel Brimble’s ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’. Big thanks to BrookCottageBooks for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store.
Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her
enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his
daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.
Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the
store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker
Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing
woman’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.

Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove
himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

What does TWG think?

I absolutely adore books like this! I have to say that this reminded me so much of the BBC drama, ‘Mr Selfridge’, and there were times where the storyline was incredibly similar to said drama, I found it difficult to separate the two. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the premise of ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’. I found the entire storyline captivating and enticing, with certain characters personalities making me react in various different ways. Whilst I loved watching ‘Mr Selfridge’ and I did enjoy this book, what let it down for me was just how similar the book was to the drama.

However, I thought that Elizabeth Pennington was such a wonderful character to read about, with her determination becoming the star of the entire novel due to how inspirational it was. I couldn’t help but find myself becoming emotional in regards to her history and the disastrous choices of her father, Edward Pennington. I realise that it took a while before women were allowed to be heard in the work place and at home, but it definitely hit home reading about the differences in gender equality through this storyline. I am incredibly honoured that I now live in a time where equality is nowhere near as bad as it was, yet I cannot forget the history of our female ancestors and the challenges they faced trying to get their voices heard. I really did appreciate just how Rachel Brimble got that historical message across through her characters. Times are changing, but it is very important to keep that history alive.

Overall, ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’ was right up my street due to the historical elements themselves. Rachel Brimble has captured the story brilliantly, and I think that women of the 1900’s would be pleased with how the author made their voices come alive with her words.

Buy now from Amazon UK // Buy now from Amazon US

Extract.

Her gentle study drifted to his mouth and back again. ‘Did you love her? The woman you
once worked with?’
Joseph stared, as disquiet whispered through him. ‘Why do you ask?’
‘I find it implausible that a man who holds women in such high regard has not known
what it means to love one. You have been in love. I see it in your eyes. Unfortunately for you,
they’re very revealing.’
He ran his gaze over her face and hair. Every sound muted. The amber glow of the few lit
candles danced over her skin, turning it pearlescent. ‘I was married. To a wonderful, caring
woman. A woman who worked beside my father and I every day after we were married.’
Her voice softened. ‘What happened to her?’
‘She died.’ He would tell her no more, the shame of his failure burned like acid in his
chest and he quickly stood, wanting the intensity to ease, her justified scrutiny to end. ‘Will
you try on a pair of gloves?’
He brushed past her and breathed deep as he approached a box of his finished gloves.
Lifting a pair of soft kid, perfectly stitched and the exact green of her eyes, the pale cream
stitching the colour of her skin.
When he turned and walked back to his bench, she had sat in his seat. She carefully
watched his approach, her eyes unreadable.

About the author.

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since
2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin
Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set
in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s releases in July 2018.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and
was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest.
When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English
countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

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GIVEAWAY

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#BlogTour! #Extract – A Summer Scandal by Kat French (@KFrenchBooks) @AvonBooksUK

Blog Tour Banner-6
Anyone fancy a scandal this summer? If you are, look no further as Kat French has you all sorted! Why? Because folks, her latest novel is aptly titled, ‘A Summer Scandal’, and I have the pleasure of sharing an extract from the book with you all today as part of the blog tour! Enjoy!

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Summer has never been so scandalous…

When Violet moves to Swallow Beach, she inherits a small Victorian pier with an empty arcade perched on the end of it, and falls in love immediately. She wants nothing more than to rejuvenate it and make it grand again – but how?

When she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes. What if she turned the arcade into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops?

Not everyone in the town is happy with the idea, but Violet loves her arcade and business begins to boom. But as tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, life at Swallow Beach becomes tricky. Is it worth staying to ride out the storm? And can Violet find her own happy ending before the swallows fly south for the winter?

Sexy, sassy and full of heart, Kat French is back in a new summer sizzler.

Extract.

Following Barty through the back door, Violet found herself inside the ground-floor lobby, light and bright thanks to the many stained windows surrounding the front door and the freshly painted white woodwork on the gracefully sweeping staircase and two apartment doors, one either side of the tiled vestibule. Gold numbers on the doors declared them 1 and 2.
‘This is mine,’ Barty said, nodding towards number 1. ‘And that one belongs to Keris, my
granddaughter.’
Vi’s jaw dropped. ‘You live here?’
He threw his hands out. ‘So it would seem. Cup of mint tea?’
Vi narrowed her eyes. ‘That’s my favourite.’
Barty looked at her steadily, half smiling. ‘Who knew?’
You did, Violet felt like saying. ‘I better not,’ she said, instead. Glancing towards the staircase, her nerves kicked back in. ‘I better head on up.’ She stalled, jiggling the keys, excited and terrified at the same time. ‘Has anyone been up there recently, do you know?’
Barty shook his head. ‘Not that I’ve noticed.’ He touched his fingers against his fedora. ‘I’ll let you get on. You know where I am if you need me. Tap the door for mint tea.’
And with that he turned and opened his own door. Looking back at her as he stepped inside, he paused. ‘Do you want me to come up with you?’
Tempted as she was to say yes, Vi shook her head. This was something she needed to do alone.
‘Thanks, I think I’m okay.’
He looked at her for a couple of silent seconds, then nodded and closed his door. Violet stood still for a few moments, fighting the urge to knock on his door and tell him she’d changed her mind, she’d love a cup of mint tea and someone to hold her hand and come with her. All she knew about the apartment on the top floor was that her grandfather had paid a cleaning company to go in once a month, but that aside, no one with any actual connection to her family had set foot near the place in decades. It was empty. Waiting. For her? Suppressing the chill that ran down her spine, Violet put her best foot forward and set off up the wide, shallow stairs.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Extract – The Mum Who’d Had Enough by Fiona Gibson (@FionaGibson) @AvonBooksUK

The mum who'd blog tour
Today I am delighted to be sharing an extract from Fiona Gibson’s new novel, ‘The Mum Who’d Had Enough’! This book IS on my TBR pile, so hopefully I will get to it soon for a review!

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After sixteen years of marriage, Nate and Sinead Turner have a nice life. They like their jobs, they like their house and they love their son Flynn. Yes, it’s a very nice life.

Or, at least Nate thinks so. Until, one morning, he wakes to find Sinead gone and a note lying on the kitchen table listing all the things he does wrong or doesn’t do at all.

Nate needs to show Sinead he can be a better husband – fast. But as he works through Sinead’s list, his life changes in unexpected ways. And he starts to wonder whether he wants them to go back to normal after all. Could there be more to life than nice?

Extract.

Your bloody record collection …

What the hell!? Okay, I have a lot, probably something like a thousand or more, I don’t know – I haven’t counted them since about 1992 – with a definite bias towards Bruce Springsteen, his influencers and contemporaries. However, they are neatly stored in alphabetical order. Is that it? Is she sick of being married to ‘the kind of man who alphabetises his albums’ (as I once heard her remark to her friend Michelle in a somewhat scathing tone, followed by gales of derisive laughter)? No – it can’t be that. No one could object to a superb collection housed on custom-built shelves …

Your terrible attempts at DIY …

… If I say so myself, I’m pretty handy with my Black and Decker Combi cordless drill! … and your blank refusal to get the professionals in.
Yes, to save us a fortune!
Handing me a wodge of tenners to buy my own Christmas present …

… I had no idea she was mad about that. I’d just assumed it was the most practical solution, given that I’d apparently ballsed it up on her last birthday with what she termed ‘that terrible skirt’ (i.e., the leopard print one I’d thought she’d look wonderful in).

Woolly boundaries re Flynn …

Ah, so now we’re getting to the nub of things: my ineffectiveness as a father. Clearly, I am a disaster as a human being— ‘Dad.’
I mean, what kind of boundaries is she talking about?
‘DAD!’

My head flicks round. ‘Flynn! Hi.’ I scrunch the note in my fist, like a teenager caught in class with an obscene drawing of his naked French teacher.

(c)FionaGibson2018

Buy now from Amazon!

 

#BlogTour! #Extract from #FirstTODie by Alex Caan (@alexcaanwriter) @BonnierZaffre

ftd
Told you it was a busy day on the blog today! Blog post number FIVE and I have the pleasure of sharing an extract from Alex Caan’s novel, ‘First To Die’. Big thank you to Bonnier Zaffre for the blog tour invite! This book is another one on my radar. I’m sure I will get round to it….I hope!

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SOMEWHERE IN THE CROWD IS A KILLER

Bonfire Night and St James’s Park is filled with thousands of Anonymous protesters in a stand-off with the police. When a cloaked, Guido Fawkes mask-wearing body is discovered the following morning, Kate Riley and Zain Harris from the Police Crime Commissioner’s office are called in.

The corpse has been eaten away by a potentially lethal and highly contagious virus. The autopsy reveals the victim was a senior civil servant, whose work in international development involved saving lives. Why would anyone want him dead?

THEY WILL STRIKE AGAIN

As the research team looking into the origins of the deadly virus scramble to discover an antidote, first one, then another pharmacist goes missing. Meanwhile, a dark truth starts to emerge about the murder victim: he was an aggressive man, whose bullying behaviour resulted in the suicide attempt of one of his former staff members.

AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT . . .

With thirty lives potentially at stake, Kate and Zain have their work cut out for them. Can they find the two missing pharmacists in time, or will they too end up dead?

Purchase now from Amazon!

Extract.

The day was cold, but there was no rain, just a light fog. Zain was waiting by the entrance to Westminster Cathedral, watching throngs of tourists go in and out of the building. It was a different time of day to the last time this meeting had taken place.
DCI Raymond Cross loped across the courtyard leading to the cathedral in easy
strides, covering the distance quickly. He had his panama hat on and his coat was hanging open. Zain walked towards him when he spotted him, and they shook hands, before moving past the cathedral into the heart of Belgravia.

‘How have you been, Zain?’
‘Great.’
‘That good?’
‘I’m fine. Sir.’
‘You don’t look it.’
‘It’s been a tough few days. You know what’s it like when you’re on the front line.
You get burned, quite literally in my case, tired, battered and function on adrenaline. I’m
under pressure.’
‘I get it. You’re wondering why I didn’t just tell you this by email?’
‘The thought had crossed my mind, sir.’
Zain had sent the directory link to Cross. He had the resources that would crack it a
lot more quickly than Zain or Michelle could. But he’d insisted on meeting in person to
deliver the results.
‘I wanted to see you,’ said Cross. ‘Is that so bad? After all we’ve been through
together?’
‘You make us sound like lovers, sir.’
‘The bonds we share are stronger, don’t you think? We really did risk life and death
for each other.’

‘Possibly. More for the country though.’
‘I don’t believe that, neither do you.’

He was right. When Zain had been a teenager on the brink of carrying out a suicide
mission, Cross had saved him. He had asked him to betray the cell he was part of, and instead work for the British government. What had followed was years of being bankrolled by the state. His Arabic studies at SOAS, his training in cyber-security, joining up with GCHQ and then ending up where Raymond Cross had always wanted him. In counter-terrorism, SO15, he put everything he had learned to its most effective use.
Until it all went horribly wrong. Zain had got back on track with Cross there to
support him. Those bonds were indelible, bonds that even family members couldn’t share.

Zain still hadn’t recovered fully. His time with Kate Riley was meant to be a form of
rehab, or some sort of golden goodbye: he wasn’t sure which. It hadn’t worked out like
either. He was convinced he would get hurt no matter who he worked for.