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Book Extract – ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’ by D.K. Hood

Bookouture are publishing some amazing books at the moment.  ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’, the first in the Detectives Kane and Alton series was released last month in paperback and as an eBook.  I have an extract from this book for all of you to read, but first here’s what it’s all about.

 

Book Blurb

Small town. Big crimes. Dark secrets.

A wave of panic rushed over her as her heart pounded hard enough to break her ribs. ‘Not a soul knows where I am,’ she thought as she took in the darkness around her.

Sheriff Jenna Alton and her deputy David Kane arrive in the town of Black Rock Falls, each hoping to escape their past for a new beginning. But instead, they find a town living in terror, and a killer on the loose…

Samantha Woodward was last seen driving towards Black Rock Falls to buy a house for her family. They haven’t heard from her since, and they fear for her life.

John Helms headed to town to watch a big game, but nobody knows if he made it or not. He was never seen again.

When a body is found, and Jenna’s life is threatened, she and her deputy become caught in a race against time to find a brutal killer, and to unlock the secret that lies at the dark heart of the town before it is too late…

Don’t Tell a Soul is a tense detective thriller that will have you guessing right up until the end, perfect for readers of Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott.

 

Extract

Prologue

Kill me. One blood-splattered cowboy boot crunched on the chipped cement floor inches away from his cheek. A sick chuckle followed by a nerve-shattering kick to broken ribs brought back the tremors. A lightning bolt of white-hot agony shot down his spine. In a desperate attempt to pull precious air through swollen lips, he spat blood and gasped precious air. Lungs burning with effort, he writhed like a worm in the dirt waiting for the death blow. His vision blurred and pain pierced his eyes. He had lost all sense of direction, and his tormentor’s peals of satanic laughter played tricks with his confused mind. Night had drifted into another day of endless torture. He tried to crawl away and puffed out a spray of red, stirring the straw on the dusty floor.

How long had it been since he walked into the stables? One day? Five days? Time had become the periods between attacks. He had suffered unimaginable torture from a man well skilled at inflicting misery, but he’d somehow survived. At first, he tried to reason with his captor and gave him the information he demanded, but he had fallen into a lunatic’s sadistic fantasy. He had had no time to retaliate, no time to bargain for his life. The first hammer blow knocked him senseless and he came out of oblivion into a world of pain, tied hand and foot at the mercy of a monster.

He hovered between reality and delusion. The mind is a wonderful organ, and his tried to compensate by taking him on trips to the beach with his family. At times, he floated into another dimension on marshmallow clouds but reality came crashing back with each round of torment. He soon discovered crying or begging for mercy made the sessions last longer. Biting back moans and pretending to be unconscious gave the wielder of pain no satisfaction.

Under him, the cold floor acted as a balm to his injuries, numbing the agony, and when darkness came, he could crawl beneath a pile of stinking straw. The fermenting horse dung kept him warm, kept him alive. He had spent the first hours in captivity gnawing at the ropes around his wrists, using his teeth to loosen the knot, but one swing of the lunatic’s hammer put paid to any hope of escape. A shadow passed over him. A boot pressed down on his spine, the heel twisting to part the vertebrae in bone-jarring agony. Sensation left his legs. He has paralyzed me. Determined not to give him the satisfaction of crying out, he remained silent. One more night naked on the freezing ground would finish him, and he would welcome the release.

A car engine hummed in the distance and Cowboy Boots bent over him, grabbed his legs, and dragged him into a stall. Straw tumbled over him, coating his eyelashes with dust. Through the golden strands, he peered out the open door and his heart pounded in anticipation. A police cruiser pulled up in the driveway and two uniformed officers climbed out. A female cop handed his captor a piece of paper. He edged forward on his elbows, dragging his useless legs behind him. Sucking in a deep breath, he screamed though his shredded lips but only a long whine escaped his throat. The woman glanced in his direction and he clawed at the ground, edging inch by inch from the stall. He had to get her attention, and fighting back waves of nausea, he tried again. “Aaaaarh.”

The police officer indicated toward the barn with her chin then moved in his direction, but Cowboy Boots blocked her way and shook his head. A grin spread across his face with the cunning of a gargoyle, evil personified. The cop spoke again but her muffled words dissipated in the wind and his tormentor’s attention moved back to the paper in his hand. Somehow, he had convinced her all was well. I have a chance to escape. He dug for his last ounce of strength and bucked to move forward one painful inch at a time.

I must crawl into the open. Spitting blood, he pushed sound through his shattered mouth. Hear me. Please hear me. “Aaaaarh.”

The woman flicked a look his way, squeezed Cowboy Boots’ arm in a comforting gesture then followed the other officer back to the car. Despair enveloped him, and all hope lost, he allowed the tears stinging his eyes to run down his cheeks. Footsteps came tapping on the cement floor like the ringing of a death knell. His cries for help had enraged the maniac.

“How dare you try to alert the cops? I own you.” Cowboy Boots spat a hot, slimy globule on his cheek. “It’s your fault the bitch scanned my yard. You are so gonna pay.”

Blows rained down on him, searing pain exploded in his head, and his vision blinked. A strange fog surrounded him and he embraced the peace of darkness.

~~~~~

Has this extract left you needing to read more?  If so, you can buy it from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2wESpf4

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vgQtva

 

About D.K. Hood

I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour, and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many wonderful vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.

My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine tingling stories with you. D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

Website – www.dkhood.com

 

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Blog Tour – ‘The Other Daughter’ by Sara Alexi

It’s a brand new month and I am absolutely delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Sara Alexi’s new book, ‘The Other Daughter’ which is out today as an eBook.  Set in Yorkshire this is the first of a series.

I have an exclusive extract for all of you to read.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

The Other Daughter by Sara Alexi is a compelling and gritty tale, set amongst the wild moors and crooked streets of a Yorkshire Village, following one woman who finally untangles herself from the clutches of a painful past and a self-centred mother.

More than a decade after leaving home Dawn finds herself stuck in a dead-end job, in a rundown flat, while her sister has it all – the husband, children and prestigious job in sunny Australia. Their mum’s favouritism is palpable, and even as she has a terrible fall leaving Dawn to pick up the pieces, nothing Dawn does can live up to her perfect, absent sister.

But still Dawn persists with taking care of her aging and fragile mum, until one day it begins to feel like the only thing standing between Dawn and her happiness is her mother’s continued, pitiful existence…

 

Extract

There are more paintings in there, too – ones that Dad collected. It’s strange to remember him when he was alive. Even when he was alive, it was like he wasn’t. Her memory is of a hunched-over man in a drab dressing gown, moping his way from one room to another. Always in that dressing gown. There was another man, too, of whom she only caught brief glimpses – a man who was almost never there. He wore a white shirt, and always a tie and jacket, and he worked long hours. Mum has never been one to talk about the past, or emotions, or say anything worth actually saying, but Dawn has pieced it together, and it came as a bit of a shock that these two men were one and the same. Both were her father: one when he did nothing but work, and the other when he was depressed. He died of lymphatic cancer when she was thirteen, on the day of the school dance, which she had been so excited about, and because he had died she was not allowed to go. She did not need telling she could not go; a death is a shock. She was not very upset, though; he had never been around anyway, and what difference did it make to her? The word ‘father’ meant nothing to her, and surely it was better to live whilst she had the chance. Of course, now she can see why they stopped her going: it was a matter of respect. But at the time it had felt unfair.

 

Links

Hopefully the extract has left you dying to read ‘The Other Daughter’.  If so, it is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://snig.gr/13

Sara Alexi’s Amazon Page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sara-Alexi/e/B008M6D60K/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1503513777&sr=1-2-ent

Website – http://www.saraalexi.com

Twitter – @SaraAlexi

 

Blog Tour – ‘All The Colours In Between’ by Eva Jordan

‘All The Colours In Between’ was published on the 19th October 2017 by Urbane Publications.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour which the lovely Michelle Ryles has organised.  I have an extract for all of you to read and there’s also a fantastic Rafflecopter giveaway being run throughout the tour.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

It’s not a life, it’s an adventure!

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son, is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her. Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem… A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband plus a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made. Gritty but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals, and coming of age. Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.

 

Extract

Connor

The handle to the shed door slowly turns. Thank god I locked it. ‘Who is it?’ I shout. Muffled giggling drifts under the door and I wonder if it’s Cas, only it doesn’t sound like Cas. Maisy, maybe?

‘Can we come in?’ a familiar voice asks.

‘Shit, It’s my bloody nan!’ I exclaim. ‘Robbo, put that dooby out NOW!’ Robbo looks at me, grinning, as smoke escapes from the corner of his mouth. The Rickmeister grabs the spliff from Robbo’s hand, takes another quick drag then stubs it out, placing it in the sacred tin. I grab the deodorant can out of my bag and spray the shed to within an inch of its life, manically wafting my hands around like some demented ballerina. Everyone starts coughing and I realise I’ve sprayed way too much deodorant. Jake unlocks the door and we all fall out of the shed, desperate for some fresh air.

We are greeted by my smiling nan and Aunt Marie. ‘Hello boys,’ Nan says. ‘Ooh, smells very nice in there,’ she continues as she sticks her head inside the shed. To my surprise, Nan asks us for a smoke.

‘But, you don’t smoke?’ I reply.

‘Aunt Marie used to,’ Nan says.’

‘When?’

‘About forty years ago.’

‘What? And she just happens to fancy a smoke now, forty years later?’

Nan explains that Aunt Marie is a little stressed right now. ‘As am I, so I’ll have one, too.’

‘Did you used to smoke as well, when you were younger?’

Nan shakes her head. ‘Nope, but I know I could do with one right now.’

We all follow Nan and Aunt Marie back into the shed. I explain that we only have baccy and Rizlas so they’ll have to wait a minute while we roll them one.

‘Or they could have a drag of the one we’ve already made,’ Jake suggests, tapping the sacred tin.

Panicking, I look at his huge grinning face. ‘No. Jake.’ I reply through gritted teeth, ‘we’ll make them a new one.’

‘Oh, don’t roll a new one just for us,’ Nan replies, ‘we’re not fussy.’

Before I know it, Jake has lifted the spliff from the tin, lit it and passed it to Nan and Aunt Marie.

Aunt Marie takes a drag then pulls a strange face. ‘Tastes different to how I remember,’ she says, expertly blowing smoke from her mouth as if it was something she did all the time.

Aunt Marie passes the dooby to Nan who drags heavily on it and then starts to choke. I pass her my can of fizzy shit, which she greedily drinks then, to my surprise, I watch as Nan takes another huge drag. Jake, Robbo, the Rickmeister, and I all look at one another. We each wear the same look of horror as we watch the spliff get smaller and smaller. I tell Nan that I think I can hear someone calling her and somehow, we manage to push the two very high, very giggly, old ladies out the door.

‘Shit man,’ Robbo says, ‘your nan rocks.’

I can’t help thinking there may be hell to pay for this later but that doesn’t stop me laughing my arse off.

 

Giveaway

There’s a chance to win 2 x signed paperbacks and 2 kindle eBooks of All The Colours In Between (UK only).  To enter click on this link – Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

About Eva Jordan

Eva Jordan, born in Kent but living most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town, describes herself as a lover of words, books, travel and chocolate. She is also partial to the odd glass or two of wine. Providing her with some of the inspiration for her novels, Eva is both a mum and step mum to four grown-up children. Her career has been varied including working within the library service and at a women’s refuge. She writes a monthly column for a local magazine and currently works as a volunteer for a charity based organisation that teaches adults to read. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her passion. All The Colours In Between is Eva’s second novel.

 

Links

‘All The Colours In Between’ can be purchased from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/all-the-colours-in-between/

Amazon UK – http://amzn.eu/3kKSFbb%20

Amazon US – http://a.co/25M1oMD%20

 

If you want to know more you can find Eva at all the usual places. She loves to hear from readers and reviewers so please feel free to contact her.

Website – http://evajordanwriter.com

Twitter – @evajordanwriter

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/EvaJordanWriter/

 

Extract from ‘The Secret Mother’ by Shalini Boland

‘The Secret Mother’ is being published as an eBook on the 9th November 2017 by Bookouture.  As a special treat they are giving readers the chance to read an exclusive extract from the book.  Isn’t that just lovely of them?

I am just one of a number of bloggers who is hosting this extract.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen calling her ‘mummy’. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

~~~~~

What readers are saying about Shalini Boland:

‘Read in one sitting from 9pm last night until 2:15 am.  I literally could not put it down!!!!  The story line and the twists and the way it’s written just draws you in completely and you have to know where it’s going  I couldn’t read fast enough… absolutely addictive and brilliant  and an end I didn’t see coming.  This is one book you have to read and it gets 5 huge stars from me!!!! ’  Goodreads reviewer , 5 stars

‘What can I say? Just wow. I’m usually never surprised by an ending, but  this one blew me away. I am totally in shock  and think I’ll have a hangover from this book for a while.  A great read that keeps you on your toes until the very last word .’  Stacey Harrell, Goodreads

‘If anyone can have me reading until 2am and finishing a book in less than 48hrs in the school holidays it’s this author…  massive five stars  from me.’  Sarah Mackins, UK Crime Book Club , 5 stars

‘The  ending of this book blew me out of the water, you won’t be able to put this down .’  For the Love of Books , 5 stars

‘The plot is  gripping  and once you’ve started reading,  you have to keep on reading, you need to know how the story will end .’  Bits About Books , 5 Stars

… one of the most chilling reads of the year for me .’ Ajoobacats Blog , 5 Stars

‘This book should come with a warning… make sure you have enough time to read it in one-sitting because as soon as you’ll pick it up,  you won’t be able to put it down! ’  Bookishly Ever After , 5 stars

‘This is a brilliant psychological thriller. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve read. It is full of suspense and has  more twists and turns than a fairground ride .’  Jackie Roche, UK Crime Book Club , 5 Stars

‘I thought I knew the direction this story was going go. Then the  jaw dropping  moment happened!…  unputdownable! ’  Goodreads Reviewer , 5 Stars

‘Once again, Boland has managed to blow my mind with all the  twists and turns … an outstanding  explosive  read!’  Mello and June , 5 Stars

‘Great book. I read it in less than 24 hours. I was unable to put it down. The story was  fast paced and intriguing .’  Goodreads reviewer , 5 stars

 

Extract

Chapter One

The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things.

It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet.

Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before.

Almost home.

My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.

At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead.

Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house?

I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more.

Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe.

Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair.

He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment.

‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.

I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’

‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains.

‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’

‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’

Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears.

‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’

His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks.

‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’

‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter.

‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.

‘The angel.’

I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’

‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’

‘The angel?’

He nods.

I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’

‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’

I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere.

‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes.

Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’

‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’

I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’

‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’

My heart squeezes at his politeness.

‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’

‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate, so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’

He grins and slides off the stool.

What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry.

He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.

‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’

‘Oh, okay.’

‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’

He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice.

‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary.

‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’

‘What? Now?’

‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’

‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’

‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him?

‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making.

‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’

His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’

‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’

My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from?

I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here.

‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes.

‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’

He eagerly does as I ask.

‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’

He stares at the pans in the drawer.

‘Harry?’ I prompt.

‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction.

‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’

No reply.

‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’

‘No.’

‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’

He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.

‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can.

He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’

I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’

‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers.

‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’

He nods vigorously and sniffs.

I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?

And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine.

I don’t have a child. Not any more.

~~~~~

Did the extract leave you wanting to read more?  ‘The Secret Mother’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2xrkDu4

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vXeg3W

 

About Shalini Boland

Shalini Boland lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

THE SECRET MOTHER (published by Bookouture) is now available to pre-order!

Shalini’s debut psychological thriller THE GIRL FROM THE SEA reached No 1 in the US Audible charts and No 7 in the UK Kindle charts. Her second thriller THE BEST FRIEND reached no 2 in the US Audible charts and No 10 in the Amazon UK Kindle charts. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories and was a Kindle All Star title for several months in a row. Shalini’s recent release THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE reached No 9 in the Kindle UK charts.

Follow Shalini Boland on:-

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ShaliniBolandAuthor/

Blog Tour – ‘Lost in the Lake’ by A.J. Waines

‘Lost in the Lake’ is the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series. It was published on the 7th September 2017, both in paperback and as an eBook. Having read and enjoyed one of A.J. Waines previous books I was delighted to be asked if I would like to take part in this blog tour. It’s a real pleasure to be the final stop on the tour and today I not only have my review, but there is also an extract from the book and a competition.

When a crash sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake, it seems that Rosie Chandler, an amateur viola player is the only survivor. It looks like it was just a tragic accident but Rosie isn’t convinced. However, she is unable to recall exactly what happened. Rosie decides that she needs help recovering her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

Sam finds herself drawn to Rosie and does her best to help her put the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together. In the meantime the police find some disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? What happened to the violin which was lost in the crash and was worth a lot of money?

When Rosie insists that they return to the lake to relive the fatal accident, the truth finally creeps up on Sam.

Well, what can I say? I totally loved ‘Lost in the Lake’. I haven’t read the first book in the series but this didn’t spoil things for me. I love this author’s writing style. I thought the prologue was fantastic, it left me totally intrigued. A number of the chapters were very short which made things all the more exciting. I needed to know what was going to happen next and I didn’t really want to put the book down.

The story is narrated by Dr Sam Willerby and Rosie Chandler. I liked Sam from the very start and I admired how dedicated she was to her job. Rosie had had a tragic childhood which affected her for life. I felt bad for Rosie at first and could see why Sam wanted to do what she could to help her, but I really didn’t like her. Rosie seemed to be totally obsessed with Sam and struck me as a rather dangerous person.

When Sam agreed to go with Rosie to where the ‘accident’ took place I wanted to scream at her not to go there. Rosie was bad news and I didn’t want Sam to be put in danger. I raced through the last few chapters and was left totally shocked by what she was actually capable of. It made for scary reading.

If you like psychological thrillers then you’ll hopefully love ‘Lost in the Lake’. It’s fast-paced, gripping and makes for extremely addictive reading. I know I’ll be following the rest of this series.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Extract

Prologue

Did I make you jump? Turning up like that in your own kitchen? You have to admit, it must have been a nasty shock.

I bet you thought you’d been ever so smart at covering your tracks. But, be honest, you made a complete hash of things. You made out you were one step ahead of the game all along, but once you scooped the ultimate prize you couldn’t work out what to do next! Face facts, you were too ambitious for your own good and hadn’t thought things through properly.

You took great delight in explaining your cunning scheme to me, even though it was bound to leave you with egg on your face. I could see you thought you’d have the last laugh. I could tell your little brain was ticking over, thinking that once you’d told me the whole story, there was no way I’d be walking out of there. But that’s where you went wrong. You underestimated me. Most people do.

I could feel rage burning up my insides as you brandished that bottle of whisky like we were mates – in it together.

‘Let’s toast our windfall’, you suggested, trying to make me smile. By then, however, my fury with what you’d done had ignited from a niggling spark into a white-hot ball of fire. Every moment I was forced to endure with you, a growing, uncontainable frenzy was building inside me.

You reached over to the draining board to find two glasses and that’s when you made your fatal mistake.

You should never have turned your back.

 

Competition

Now that you’ve read my review and the extract you’ll hopefully be dying to read ‘Lost in the Lake’.  If so, you’re in luck because two very lucky people have the chance to win a paperback copy of this book.  To enter all you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you want to read ‘Lost in the Lake’.

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 25th September 2017.

The winners will be chosen within 7 days of the closing date and their details will be passed to A.J. Waines who will arrange delivery of the books.

 

 

About A.J. Waines

AJ Waines has sold over 400,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Visit her website, blog, on Twitter, Facebook or sign up for her Newsletter.

 

‘Lost in the Lake’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Lake-Samantha-Willerby-Book-ebook/dp/B073W8X17W/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1505673830&sr=1-1&keywords=lost+in+the+lake+by+a.j+waines

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Country Girl’ by Nancy Carson

‘A Country Girl’ was published yesterday the 10th August 2017 in paperback and as an eBook by Avon.  I am one of a few book bloggers taking part in a blog tour to celebrate its publication.  I have an extract for all of you to read but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

A must-read sweeping saga, full of intrigue, romance and page-turning drama . . .

Marigold Bingham, though promised to Algie Stokes, the lock-keeper’s son, reconsiders her dreams of marriage when she wrongly believes he has been two-timing her.

With the sudden death of his father, as well as the loss of Marigold, Algie is consoled by Aurelia Sampson, the charming and beguiling wife of his employer, Benjamin. Yet Aurelia merely muddies the waters, adding to Algie’s worries which weigh heavily on his shoulders as head of his increasingly troubled family.

Marigold Bingham is unaware of Algie’s spiralling burdens, yet she is in for a whole series of life-changing surprises.

So too is Algie, the man she once called her own . . .

 

Extract

Chapter 2 p.33-35

Eli was not entirely comfortable with the thought that his second daughter, easily the most appealing of those of marriageable age, could feasibly end up with the inconsequential son of a lock-keeper. He had hoped she would have set her sights higher, but was wily enough to realise that to forbid the liaison would only serve to launch it into more perilous waters, the consequences of which could be devastating and too painful to contemplate. In time, Harriet’s superior education would reveal itself to both of them, and Algernon Stokes would come to recognise his social and mental inferiority – and so would she. Meanwhile, he tolerated Algernon without actually encouraging him at all. Besides, Algernon’s father, Will, used to be Eli’s regular playmate in those far off days of mutual impoverishment. The lad’s mother, Clara, too . . . Indeed, when Clara was a young filly and Eli was a young buck with a weather eye for a potential mate, she had been a feast to the eye and a definite target. The trouble was, she was too preoccupied with his rivals and would have nothing to do with him. So he had to content himself eventually with Mary, who he’d put in the family way. Mary would never fetch any ducks off water. Her plainness, though, had proved an advantage in one respect, Eli pondered; she was never attractive enough to appeal to anybody else, which ensured her fidelity. On reflection, perhaps he had been too hasty in agreeing to marry her. The acquisition of wealth had made him much more appealing to other women – better-looking women – he’d noticed over the years.

Such were the ruminations, contemporary and nostalgic, of Eli Meese as he supped alone in the saloon of the Bell Hotel sucking at his clay pipe, his head enveloped in an aromatic cloud of blue smoke. Because he was an important citizen and a Justice of the Peace, few of the lesser locals these days considered themselves socially fit to sup in the same room with him. One man, however, walked into the hotel some little time after Eli, greeted him as an equal, and asked if he would allow him to buy him a drink.

Eli grinned in acknowledgement. ‘A pint of India pale, please, Murdoch.’

Murdoch Jeroboam Osborne paid for the drinks and took them over to the table where Eli was sitting. ‘You was deep in thought when I walked in, ha, Eli? Summat up?’

Eli swigged the last inch of beer that remained of his first helping, then sighed as if deeply troubled. ‘What d’yer mek o’ Will Stokes’s lad, Murdoch?’

Murdoch pulled a stick of tobacco from his pocket and began cutting it into workable pieces with his penknife as he pondered the question. ‘Can’t say as I know him that well, but he seems a likeable enough lad. Ain’t he a-courtin’ your Harriet? I’ve seen him a time or two come to meet her from the Drill Hall after our rehearsals, ha?’

‘Between me and thee, Murdoch, that’s what’s troubling me. I ain’t so sure he’s quite up to the mark, if you get me drift.’

Murdoch laughed. ‘I seem to recall as his mother was well up to the mark at one time, ha? Still is, if you want my opinion.’

Eli grinned conspiratorially. ‘Aye, you’m right there and no mistake. Proper little poppet, was Clara Bunn. Many’s the time I’ve wished . . .’

‘And the daughter takes after her,’ Murdoch remarked with a twinkle in his eye.

‘Ain’t set eyes on e’er a daughter so far’s I know,’ Eli replied. ‘But is that right? Another poppet? Like her mother was, eh, Murdoch?’

‘The image.’

‘I ain’t surprised. D’you see anything of Clara these days?’

‘Calls in me shop regular.’ Murdoch began rubbing the pieces of tobacco between the palms of his hands to render it into shreds. ‘If there’s e’er a boiling fowl or a rabbit spare I generally let her have it cheap. She’s grateful for that. I’ve always had a soft spot for Clara.’

 

Links

‘A Country Girl’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Country-Girl-Nancy-Carson/dp/0008173540/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1502389495&sr=1-1

Twitter – @nancycarsonauth

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Darkness Within’ by Lisa Stone

‘The Darkness Within’ was published on the 13th July 2017 in paperback and as an eBook by Avon.  I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour.  I have an extract for all of you to read but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

From global bestseller Cathy Glass comes a gripping new crime novel under the name Lisa Stone.

You know your son better than anyone. Don’t you?

When critically ill Jacob Wilson is given a life-saving heart transplant, his parents are relieved that their loving son has been saved.

However, before long, his family are forced to accept that something has changed in Jacob. Their once loving son is slowly being replaced by a violent man whose mood swings leave them terrified – but is it their fault?

Jacob’s girlfriend, Rosie, is convinced the man she loves is suffering from stress. But when his moods turn on her, she begins to doubt herself – and she can only hide the bruises for so long.

When a terrible crime is committed, Jacob’s family are forced to confront their darkest fears. Has the boy they raised become a monster? Or is someone else to blame?

 

Extract

Chapter 8 pp. 46-47

Continuously examined by doctors who discussed him as though he was theirs, so that he felt his body was no longer his own. Everyone seemed to have a claim on it and knew more about it than he did. And all the advice about his recovery, although necessary and well meant, had become suffocating, as was being constantly fussed over, not only by the nurses but by his parents and Eloise. Some blokes might have enjoyed all the attention but he didn’t; it had reduced him to a childlike dependency, humiliating and degrading. It would be a sharp learning curve before his parents and Eloise saw him as an inde­pendent bloke again, if he’d ever been one, which he was starting to doubt.

He’d had too much time to think in hospital; indeed there hadn’t been much else to do. He’d spent hours, days thinking about his life – the years before his illness. Gradually he’d come to see that he’d never carved out an identity, a will, a personality of his own. He’d always toed the line, done as he was told and what was expected of him. He’d worked hard at school, learnt to play the organ so he could help out in church, been polite to his father’s parishioners, and had tolerated the down-and-outs and misfits who’d arrived regularly at their door in the city looking for help and a handout. Even as a teenager he hadn’t rebelled. In fact he’d been a bit of a mummy’s boy. And away at university he could only remember one instance of drunk and loutish behaviour, before he’d joined the Christian Union and met Eloise.

Eloise was a nice girl; kind, well-mannered and polite. His parents had taken an immediate liking to her and were soon treating her like the daughter they’d never had.

Jacob was looking forward to seeing her again tonight and hopefully having sex – the first time since he couldn’t remember when – sometime before he’d become really ill. When he stayed the night at her house her parents gave them a double room, but when she stayed with him his mother showed her to the guest room. They then had to wait until his parents were asleep before he could creep along the landing and into Eloise’s room to make love to her. Although he apologized for his parents’ Victorian and prudish attitude, he had to admit that the secret risqué nature of their liaison added to his enjoyment.

Tonight, however, there was an additional hurdle to be overcome. The list of dos and don’ts included post-operative sex with the warning that his breastbone mustn’t be put under any pressure until it was fully healed, which ruled out the missionary position – the one they usually used. After some thought Jacob decided that the best way – perhaps the only way – would be for her to sit astride him as he lay on his bed. And as he pictured this, the conservative, rather prim Eloise bouncing up and down on his erect penis, it caused it to come to life. A very good sign, he thought, for one of the possible side effects of his medication was impotence, which would require more pills and be yet another blow to his manhood.

 

About Lisa Stone

“As a writer of suspense thrillers I often ask myself what if? What if this happened instead of that? Or why a particular person reacted as they did. So often fact is stranger than fiction; these books start with a fact which I develop.”

Lisa Stone lives in England, has 3 children, and 27 books published under the pseudonym Cathy Glass, many of which have become bestsellers.

 

Links

‘The Darkness Within’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkness-Within-Lisa-Stone/dp/0008236690/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501522609&sr=1-1&keywords=the+darkness+within

Twitter – @LisaStoneBooks

 

Book Extract – ‘Pigeon-Blood Red’ by Ed Duncan

‘Pigeon-Blood Red’, the first book of a trilogy, was self-published last year as an eBook and in paperback.  I have an extract for you to read, but first here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

 

Extract

From Chapter 3

Robert sat back and felt something lodged in the crack between the cushions. He reached behind him and pulled it out. It was the pouch Litvak had entrusted to Rico. He slowly removed its contents. The snippets of conversation he’d heard now made sense. Litvak had removed this from his safe. It looked expensive. But how valuable was it? He looked up. Rico was heading back to the car. He returned the necklace to the pouch and slipped it into his sock.

When Rico opened the door, Jerry was still laughing. “You told him?” Rico asked.

Jerry cleared his throat and managed to restrain his laughter. “He said it sounded sick to him.”

“Nobody’s ever said that before,” Rico said.

His tone was a little too serious for Robert. He quickly explained, “I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“Life’s too short,” Rico said. “She has a nice body, doesn’t she?”

“I guess so,” Robert said.

“You guess?” Jerry said.

“Then, yes,” Robert said.

“She works hard to keep it that way,” Rico said. “No reason to hide it.” He turned to look at Robert. “Right?”

“No. No reason.”

Rico turned back around and gave Jerry a wink. “Glad we straightened that out.”

Robert was glad Rico was facing forward again. He couldn’t concentrate with Rico looking at him. His mind raced. Was he being a complete idiot to even consider what he was contemplating? He knew he couldn’t come up with the money he owed Litvak in two short weeks. He didn’t want to think about what Litvak would do then. But he knew what Litvak would do if he actually stole the necklace.

Then there was the whole idea of taking something that didn’t belong to him. He was a lot of things, but he wasn’t a thief—yet. But was he really a thief if he stole from an unsavory character like Litvak, a loan shark and probably worse? He convinced himself that he was not.

Still, it was a gamble. But he was a gambler.

He had time to pack and make it to the airport. If Evelyn’s plane wasn’t full…How long would he be gone? He had no idea. Nor any idea what he would do with the contents of the pouch. But now wasn’t the time to worry about it. He’d have time to think after the plane took off—assuming Rico and Jerry didn’t kill him before he got to the airport. Until now he hadn’t entertained that possibility, but suddenly he could focus on nothing else.

He stared at the bulge in his sock. It wasn’t too late to put it back where he’d found it. They’d never know. He perspired heavily. The resolve he’d felt an instant earlier had melted away, and in its place was indecision rapidly morphing into panic. He froze and as he did, the car stopped in front of the racetrack. He didn’t move.

“Get out of the car,” Jerry said without looking back. Still Robert didn’t budge. Jerry and Rico both turned around and stared at him. “Hey, you going deaf or something?” Jerry asked. “Get out of the car already.”

The decision had been made for him. They looked right at him, close enough to touch him. He couldn’t return the necklace now even if he wanted to. He could explain finding it in the back seat, but he couldn’t explain how it got in his sock.

“I’m sorry,” Robert said. “I don’t know what I was thinking.” He got out of the car and stood transfixed at it as it sped away. Robotically, he drove home and made his way to his apartment, locked the door behind him, and sank to the floor in a sitting position, his legs stretched outward and his back against the door. Staring at the ceiling like it wasn’t there and clutching his chest with both hands, he inhaled deeply and tried in vain to slow the pace of his galloping heart.

 

About Ed Duncan

Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. To learn more, go to http://eduncan.net/

Connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

‘Pigeon-Blood Red’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pigeon-Blood-Red-Ed-Duncan-ebook/dp/B01KYNYUAI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1501091553&sr=1-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Pigeon-Blood-Red-Ed-Duncan-ebook/dp/B01KYNYUAI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1501091454&sr=1-1

 

Blog Tour – ‘Hunting Angels Diaries’ by Conrad Jones

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour celebrating ‘Hunting Angels’.  Today is the last day of the tour but the excitement hasn’t quite finished yet.  I have an extract for all of you, plus there are several other blogs to visit.  First though here’s what the book is about:-

 

Book Blurb

When an author is asked to help the police with the investigation into a double murder by identifying occult symbols, which had been carved into the victims, he is plunged into a nightmare and forced to go on the run. Hunted by law and a powerful cult, he has to stay one step ahead to survive.

 

Extract

If this woman was a member of the order, then he was in terrible trouble; he thought it wise to tell her something credible without incriminating himself. “Look, I was following a missing-person case and stumbled upon the fact she’d joined a cult, that’s all. Her mother said that she thought her daughter had joined the Hell’s Angels, but she was old and confused.” He laughed nervously and looked around at the faces. “No one here has a Harley do they?” The faces remained blank so he carried on. “Her friends told me she wasn’t involved with any biker gangs, so I looked deeper into other groups and touched upon a website belonging to a group called the Nine ‘Angles’ not Angels.” Malcolm shrugged and licked his lips. “I need a drink, please.”

“You know more than that.”

“Look, my head is cabbaged and my gob feels like the bottom of a parrot’s cage. I need a drink!”

“Let him drink.” She laughed and pushed herself away from the culling chair, and he sighed with relief as a man stepped forwards. Malcolm thought that he looked expressionless as he approached. He was hoping that he’d have a tall glass of cold beer. As the man neared, he realised that everyone in the room was naked. The dark shadows had hidden their forms from his view. The fact that they were naked panicked him further. It added to the eeriness of the whole scenario in which he found himself. “You can drink from him. We have nothing pure down here.”

“Whatever, I’ve had enough of this crap.” Malcolm licked his parched lips, not realising what she meant. The man stood in front of him and held his penis between his forefinger and thumb. “What the fuck is your game?” Malcolm shouted a second before a stream of hot urine hit him in the face. Two pairs of strong hands grabbed his head from behind, pulling his forehead backwards, pinching his nostrils and forcing his jaw downwards. Malcolm gagged as the steaming piss hit the back of his throat, filling his open mouth and dribbling down his chin. The powerful stream seemed endless and he was forced to swallow in order to breathe. The stinking urine filled his nasal cavities and dribbled through his nostrils, stinging as it touched the sensitive tissue. He was desperate not to vomit in case he choked to death. His body jerked, but there was no escape until the man finished urinating.

As his head was released, his stomach expelled its contents and vomit spewed from his mouth. The acidic liquid burnt his nostrils and the back of his throat before splattering down his chest and soaking his thighs. He gagged at the taste of cider and urine. “You’re sick! You’re all fucking sick.” He coughed and spluttered once the deed was done, and he tried to settle his breathing. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. There was no doubt in his mind now that this woman was part of the group he’d investigated. He was intelligent enough to know that his situation was dire. His eyes were watering and tears ran down his cheeks. He began to shiver uncontrollably as his mind raced, searching for a way out.

“Are you still thirsty, fat, mundane man?” She smiled for the first time. Malcolm noticed that there wasn’t a line on her face. It seemed odd to him to be attracted to a woman who was responsible for a stranger pissing in his mouth, but then the entire night had been freaky.

“Fuck you!” Malcolm spat his words and globules of vomit flew from his lips. He was terrified but defiant. “You’re bang out of order and you have no idea who you’re fucking with. I’m connected to some very serious people.”

“That is an interesting choice of words because some of our sinister would be happy to fuck with you.” There were chuckles from the dark corners of the room. Some of the laughter was guttural, almost animal-like. Malcolm couldn’t see who was laughing and he found no humour in her words. The thought of being tied up and buggered by a line of naked nutcases sent another wave of fear through him. Some of the cold cases he’d investigated in the US showed the victims has suffered violent sexual trauma. He gritted his teeth and rocked violently in the chair, but his bindings were too tight to escape.

 

About Conrad Jones

Conrad is the author of seventeen novels, eight author guides and two biographies. He has three series;
The Detective Alec Ramsay Series; seven books Gritty Crime Thrillers
The Soft Target Series; Gritty Thrillers six books (Reacher Style)
The Hunting Angels Diaries; three books Horror Thrillers
You can find out more; www.conradjonesauthor.com  or contact Conrad Jones at jonesconrad5@aol.com

I am Conrad Jones, a fifty-year-old author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manager with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

On March 20th, 1993, I was managing the restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.

I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their enigmatic leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank` and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’; You can see them here;
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Target-Series-Length-Mystery-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B00JEN607Q

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an eleven-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine McCann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my fifteenth novel, ‘Brick’, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

The Child Taker was the 6th book in the Soft Target Series but it also became the first book in the Detective Alec Ramsay Series when I signed a three-book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The series is now seven books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. The first two books are always free with over 1100 5-star reviews. You can see them here;
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010DWH57K

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch Series.

 

Purchase Links

‘Hunting Angels’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hunting-Angels-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B00GZ0TH7G/ref=la_B002BOBGRE_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498397207&sr=1-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Angels-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B00GZ0TH7G/ref=la_B002BOBGRE_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498397207&sr=1-12

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Felicity at the Cross Hotel’ by Helena Fairfax

I am delighted to be revealing the cover for ‘Felicity at the Cross Hotel’ which is being published as an eBook on the 7th July 2017.  Isn’t it just gorgeous?  It’s so bright and summery.  Read on to find out what this book is about.  There is also an exclusive extract.

 

Book Blurb

A quaint hotel in a romantic landscape. The Lake District is the perfect getaway. Or is it?

Felicity Everdene needs a break from the family business. Driving through the Lake District to the Cross Hotel, past the shining lake and the mountains, everything seems perfect. But Felicity soon discovers all is not well at the Cross Hotel …

Patrick Cross left the village of Emmside years ago never intending to return, but his father has left him the family’s hotel in his will, and now he’s forced to come back. With a missing barmaid, a grumpy chef, and the hotel losing money, the arrival of Felicity Everdene from the notorious Everdene family only adds to Patrick’s troubles.

With so much to overcome, can Felicity and Patrick bring happiness to the Cross Hotel … and find happiness for themselves?

 

Extract

Chapter One

Fliss

At last it had stopped raining. Fliss lowered the window of her old car, letting in the smell of damp asphalt and sodden leaves. A faint whiff of burning mingled with the earthier odours, and she cast an anxious glance at the bonnet.

‘Don’t give up on me here, Agnetha,’ she pleaded. ‘This is no place to break down.’

For the past three miles as she’d climbed the steep incline out of the valley, Fliss hadn’t seen a soul. The village of Emmside, whose high street had provided her with the last latte of civilisation, now lay far below her. Here, high up on the fell, there was nothing but shadows and the dark, brooding branches of trees hanging over her head. It was enough to make a girl feel dismal.

Fliss, never one to remain downcast for long, switched on the radio to banish the silence, and soon the merry sound of her singing streamed down the hillside through her open window. She put the car into its lowest gear to round a sharp curve and slammed on the brakes.

‘Wow. Look at that. This was worth the climb.’

Agnetha, Fliss’s faithful car of many years’ travel, rumbled and spluttered in agreement. The road had surfaced above the trees and far below was Lake Emmswater, shimmering green and silver, like a scene from a fairy tale.

On an impulse, Fliss turned her car into a lay-by on the other side of the road, pulling up beside a dark four-by-four. There was a man standing by the dry stone wall that bounded the steep slope. He was gazing down at the lake, shoulders hunched, hands thrust deep in his jacket pockets. Apart from the light breeze ruffling his hair he could have been carved into the wall himself.

Fliss climbed out of her car and moved to stand beside him. The jagged mountains of the Lake District rose and fell in great dark peaks on the skyline, their sides flecked with splashes of bright, mossy green. Soft fields crept down into the valley, dotted with the fluffy white forms of sheep, and lying at the centre of it all was the gleaming lake.

Fliss took in a deep breath, letting the fresh air fill her lungs.  ‘What a magical place,’ she said to the man standing next to her. ‘All those gloomy trees – and now this.’

Her neighbour turned at the sound of her voice, moving slowly, as though surfacing from a dream. Fliss, who’d been too enthralled by the scene to pay him much attention, was taken aback to confront eyes as sombre as the trees behind them, and as cheerless. His complexion was browned by the sun, and his strong hands, which he’d removed from his pockets to rest on the wall, were weathered. Wherever he’d spent the past few years, it wasn’t under these leaden skies. Something about his bearing made Fliss think of the sea. It was as though here, on dry land, he was lost and out of his element.

Fliss wasn’t often given to fanciful thoughts. If you see someone without a smile, give them one of your own. It worked for Dolly Parton, and so Fliss smiled. The stranger blinked at the full wattage of her beam.

 

About Helena Fairfax


Helena Fairfax is a British author who was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She’s grown used to the cold now which is just as well, since these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in the north of England, right next door to the windswept Yorkshire moors. Helena walks this romantic landscape every day with her rescue dog, finding it the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings. Subscribers to Helena’s newsletter receive news of free stuff, competitions with prizes, gossip, and links to cool websites she’s been looking at when she should have been writing.

 

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The gorgeous cover was designed by Rachel Lawston of Lawston Design http://www.lawstondesign.com/

 

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