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Archive for the category “Book Extracts”

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.

 

Links

You can pre-order ‘Felicity at the Cross Hotel’ here – http://mybook.to/FelicityCH

Social Media Links:-

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRQtsT

Website: www.helenafairfax.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HelenaFairfax/

Twitter https://twitter.com/HelenaFairfax

Pinterest https://uk.pinterest.com/helenafairfax/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/helenafairfax/

 

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

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Lighterman’ by Simon Michael

‘The Lighterman’ was published in paperback on the 8th June 2017 by Urbane Publications and is out as an eBook as well.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour.  Having loved ‘the Brief’ I just know that this is bound to be a winning series.  I have an extract for all of you to read and a competition at the end, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne.

Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne. The Lighterman provides more of Charles’ personal history, dating back to the war years when he worked on the River Thames with his cousin Izzy.

When Izzy is accused of murder Charles must dig up the secrets of the past to defend him. But brutal gangland leader Ronnie Kray will stop at nothing to get his revenge on Charles for the events of An Honest Man. Can Charles save his cousin…and his own life?

Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

 

Extract

Prologue
September 1940

Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann releases his bombs at 03:45 hours. His Dornier 215 is in the middle wave of the attack and although several of the escorting Messerschmitt 109s have been shot down, the approach has been easy. The cloud cover as they crossed the Channel had melted away, and the bomber squadron had simply followed the meandering line of the Thames, deviating slightly every now and then to avoid the puffs of smoke from the anti- aircraft fire and then returning to its course. Ahead of Schumann clusters of incendiaries continue to rain onto the city, dropped by the leading bombers in his formation. As each new cluster falls there is a dazzling flash followed by a flame soaring up from a white centre, turning the underside of the barrage balloons silvery yellow and throwing up great boiling eruptions of smoke. And as each burst of black smoke clears in the breeze, the great river reappears, a black snake in a brightly-illuminated landscape of uncontrolled fire.

As he releases his payload, Schumann is able to look down and obtain a perfect view of the U-shaped bend in the river known by the Britishers as The Isle of Dogs. He watches the bombs drop, becoming tiny black dots before they are swallowed up by the great orange and yellow tongues of flame which leap hundreds of feet into the night air, as if making futile attempts to lick the belly of his Dornier. The Port of London is burning to the ground, and to Schumann’s eye it is both terrible and beautiful.

It takes the 1000 kg bombs 42 seconds to hit the ground. This is what happens on the ground during that period of 42 seconds:

Hallsville Junior School, Agate Street, Canning Town is heaving with over 600 East Enders – men, women and children – awaiting evacuation. Almost all of them are homeless, their houses and schools having been destroyed in the first few days of the Blitz. Some have gathered together a few treasured possessions; some have a cardboard suitcase or two; some, recently dug out from collapsed buildings, have nothing but the nightclothes they stand in, their modesty covered by borrowed blankets, soot and building dust. Almost all have lost family members and the majority carries injuries; the walking wounded of working class London.

New dazed families continued to arrive at the already overcrowded building but, despite all, spirits have been reasonable for much of the day. Then, as the hours pass and the promised transports fail to materialise, muttering turns to anger and anger to shouting at the hopelessly overrun authorities. They are sitting ducks, they protest, with no air raid shelter to protect them and another bombing raid inevitable. By early afternoon a blind eye is being turned to the dozens of East End servicemen who desert from nearby postings to slip into the school and spirit their families away.

The unrest turns to barely-contained panic when the air raid starts. Children shriek with terror and cling to their mothers’ legs as the bombs scream down, shaking the ground with each impact, and the drone of the oncoming Luftwaffe planes goes on, and on, and on, wave after wave, dulling the senses, making it impossible to think beyond the thundering engines and the rising hysteria.

40 seconds.

Harry Horowitz, tailor and furrier, lately of British Street, Mile End, and his wife Millie Horowitz, milliner, huddle at the very end of a corridor at the back of the school with their boys, Charles aged 14 and David, 12. Despite the noise of the German planes, the bombs raining down all around them which shake the entire building, and the thick dust-laden air which catches in her throat, Millie’s lifelong debilitating anxiety is focused mostly on David. Her younger son had been running a fever when dragged out of their damaged home two nights earlier, and he now lies in her arms, sweating and shivering uncontrollably. Crouched next to them on the floor of the narrow corridor are four other families, one being that of Millie’s best friend, Sarah, who along with her husband and three girls had arrived earlier that afternoon to claim the last remaining floor space just inside the door leading out to the playground.

30 seconds.

Another bomb – one in fact released by the plane preceding that of Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann – screams down towards Agate Street and for a few seconds every adult in the school building holds their breath and falls silent. It lands with an almighty impact and the entire building shakes violently, but it misses the school, destroying instead the row of buildings on the opposite side of the road. Pieces of masonry and shrapnel ping off the cobbles of Agate Street and several heavy pieces of debris crash into the school roof at the front of the building.

‘That’s it,’ announces Harry. ‘We’re leaving.’

Harry Horovitz is a short, dapper man, always perfectly turned out in a three-piece suit, a watch chain across his slim torso. He works long hard hours in his little East End factory which produces high-quality fur coats, stoles and hats for the carriage trade. When he returns to the family home, invariably late and tired, he speaks little, preferring to sit in his armchair by the coal fire in waistcoat and shirt- sleeves and read the newspaper from start to finish in silence. Everyone knows that Millie, sharp-featured and sharp-tongued, wears the trousers in the Horovitz household. However, few realise that on the rare occasion when Harry put his foot down, Millie always complies without a word. She stands and lifts David to his feet, turning to her friend.

‘You coming, Sal?’

Sarah looks up at her husband, who nods his assent.

The nine East End Jews grab their pathetic suitcases and shoulder their way through their terrified neighbours and friends, shouting their apologies over the drone of the aircraft and the explosions all around them, and emerge through the door into the playground.

15 seconds.

‘Run!’ shouts Harry, as he leads them across the playground.

10 seconds.

Charles hesitates, looking back down the corridor as the rest of his family hurry outside into the orange tinted, dust-filled, cacophony of the air raid. Further down the corridor, into the bowels of the school and just outside its combined gymnasium and hall, is another East End family. The Hoffmanns live only 30 yards from the Horowitz household and their house had, like that of the Horowitz family, been almost completely destroyed in the raid two nights before. The two families often queue together with the same ration books; eat the same sparse food; speak essentially the same language in their respective homes, and have much in common besides. But they never speak beyond an occasional nodded greeting. The Hoffmanns, although refugees from Hitler like many in the surrounding streets, are not Jewish, and Millie and Harry Horowitz’s social circle simply does not include non-Jews. Their lives simply revolve around their home, their business and their synagogue. The Hoffmanns are, simply, “goyim” – of “The Nations” – and accordingly outside the circle. But the Hoffmanns have a daughter, a slim, fair and blue-eyed girl of fourteen, named Adalie. Unknown to either set of parents, while walking back from school every evening Charles Horowitz and Adalie Hoffmann have become friends. They have shared their thoughts on their teachers, their homework and on Hitler. And at Adalie’s instigation, they have shared several sweet, chaste, kisses.

So Charles lingers for a second or two, trying to catch a last glimpse of Adalie, and as a result very nearly loses his life. The rest of his family have stumbled across the rubble- strewn playground and are disappearing through the rear gates of the school. Outside on the street the air glows, backlit by orange flames on all sides; the fires of hell.

The shriek of Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann’s bomb fills the air as Charles, having given up his quest, races across the playground after the shadowy figure of his mother, the last of the party to disappear through the school gates ahead of him. Charles reaches the gate and takes two steps up Agate Street.

Impact.

The 1000 kg bomb scores a direct hit on the school. Charles is blown off his feet and finds himself sailing eight feet into the air, the explosive pressure drop making him feel as if his eyeballs are being sucked out of their sockets. He lands in an adjoining garden, destroying the rhododendron bush which breaks his fall, and suffers a bruised back and a cut to his scalp from a piece of flying masonry from the school wall. Everyone else in the family is unscathed. Although winded, Charles manages to roll back onto his feet in a single movement and continue running.
Harry Horowitz, soft-spoken East End tailor, has saved the lives of his family.

Later that day the government places a “D Notice” on the event, preventing accurate reports of the number of casualties to avert a collapse of morale in London. Officially 73 people died. Locals know that of the 600 or so men, women and children in the building, over 450 were killed instantly, many more in the hours thereafter, and almost all of the survivors suffered injuries. The Hoffmann family were blown to unrecognisably small pieces.

Four days later the Horowitz family unfolds stiff limbs and climbs down the steep steps of a bus in the centre of Carmarthen, and are introduced to the farmers who are to take them in. Four weeks of regular enforced chapel attendance later, Charles runs away and jumps on a Great Western milk train to London where he spends the next, and best, years of his life, running wild on the rubble-strewn streets of London and the one artery the Luftwaffe never managed to close: the River

 

Competition

Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications is very kindly giving away a paperback copy of ‘The Lighterman’ for each stop on the blog tour.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you thought of the extract.  Has it left you wanting to read more?  Are you totally intrigued?

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. tonight, 13th June 2017.

The winner will be randomly selected and notified by the end of this week and their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prize.

 

‘The Lighterman’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-lighterman/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lighterman-Book-Charles-Holborne-x/dp/191158300X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497331771&sr=1-1&keywords=the+lighterman

Blog Tour – ‘Promised Lies’ by Marguerite Ashton

It’s my turn on this blog tour celebrating ‘Promised Lies’ by Marguerite Ashton which is being published as an eBook on the 8th June 2017.   I have an extract for you all, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Detective Lily Blanchette has a lot on her plate. Her sister, Celine, was murdered, her parents are on the verge of divorce, and after a whirlwind romance, she married a man she barely knows.

When the bodies of two young women are found, it is clear that the killer is the same person who murdered her sister, Lily sets out to find out who that is.

As the investigation comes to life, Lily realises that all is not as it seems in her life, who can she actually trust and who is she?

 

Extract

Chapter 1

October 21, 9:21 p.m.

Tanya O’Neal’s bare feet padded the cold moist earth as she struggled to find a way out of the hole located in her captor’s shed. His real name she didn’t know; just his online profile: CtryGeek23. It had been two days since she’d decided to flee the demeaning abuse from her uncle to be with the man she thought was sweet, kind and wanted to be with her. I’m sorry, Mom.

Now she was going to be the next to die. Did she have a chance in hell of getting out? Why would he kill her friend and keep her alive? She just wanted out before he came back again. Pain vibrated through her body as she dug at the dirt wall, trying to climb out only to keep falling back in.

She stepped away from the wall and wiped her hands on the poodle skirt and oversize sweater CtryGeek23 had given her. Even with the heat from the wood stove, Tanya fought to stay warm. She looked down at the dark stain on the sleeve and wondered if another person had worn the sweater. Like another victim?

Still groggy from being drugged, Tanya rubbed her swollen eyes and lifted her head to try to look out of the dimly lit hole. Not able to see much, she stepped back, stumbling over the lifeless body of her friend. Sam.

Within seconds she was back on her feet, scanning the shed. Dim evening light shined through two windows above, catching the black seat attached to a red tractor in its path. A cluttered workbench sat on the other side of the tractor.

Heavy footsteps moved around outside, coming closer.

Tanya’s breath caught in her throat.

The door to the shed flew open and in walked the older man who’d made her dress up in clothes from the fifties and listen to stories while he worked around in the shed. “Remember my little story I told you about?”

“Yes,” Tanya said in a low whisper.

CtryGeek23 lowered a ladder into the hole and adjusted it to a longer length. “You can come out now,” he said positioning the ladder.

Tanya hesitated. His face resembled stone. It was like looking at a shaped mask, but hidden underneath was the same expression of anger he’d worn as he stabbed her friend over and over.

Her hands trembled as she reached for the ladder, placed her feet on the cold rungs and ascended. If he was going to get rid of her wouldn’t he come down into the hole and do to her what he did to Sam? Maybe he was going to let her go because she’d listened to his story, unlike her friend, who’d refused.

As she reached the top of the ladder, he turned around, retrieved some rags from the workbench and tossed them onto the drop cloth lying near the door. CtryGeek23 faced her and ran his fingers along her cheek. “So pretty. So innocent. You remind me of the woman in my story. The skirt looks good on you don’t you think? Go ahead, twirl around for me.”

Hot tears streaked Tanya’s face as she did what he wanted. When she was done, she stared up at CtryGeek23, trying to look past him at the shed door. She wanted to swoop around him and try to claim her freedom. But she’d seen his quick movements when he went after Sam when she tried to escape. And look what happened to her.

“I’m going to ask you a question.”

“A question?”

“Let’s pretend you’re my girlfriend.” He grabbed her hand and pulled Tanya toward him. “Would you promise to marry me knowing what you do now?”

Marry you? Was he talking about the story he told me? What am I supposed to say? Yes.

Farm machinery sounded in the distance.

“Yes,” Tanya said, trying to pull out of his grasp.

CtryGeek23’s grip tightened.

Tanya’s knees buckled.

Quick breaths escaped from his mouth, filling the space between them with a spicy aroma. “Your eyes tell me something different.”

Without warning, CtryGeek23 hoisted a knife speckled with blood and sliced open Tanya’s sweater.

Shocked, she threw up her hands as he raised the knife again, blocking the strike.

CtryGeek23 cursed, threw Tanya down on the drop cloth. She screamed as she scrambled towards the door.

Running footsteps passed her by as CtryGeek23 lunged for the door, flipped the hasp over and snapped the padlock shut.

 

11:39 p.m.

The pounding in Detective Collin Blanchette’s ears elevated as he closed the folder on the cold case file and looked at the photo of his daughter, Celine, attached to the unsolved case from six months ago.

It had been three weeks since he’d decided to take another crack at it, hoping he’d find another case that resembled his daughter’s murder. Some of the best guys he knew had worked the case, but the leads had dried up. It was as if the cold-hearted bastard had taken extra care to cover his tracks so that he wouldn’t be found.

Usually, a perp will leave something behind, no matter how small but not this one. Now it was time to find him.

Collin’s desk phone rang and he picked it up on the first ring. “Homicide.”

“Do you have anything on that drug dealer that was killed over on Riley Street?”

A late-night call from the assistant district attorney meant she was sniffing around trying to see if the police were doing their job. “I know you’re busy huddled at your desk waiting for the next defendant, but Riley Street isn’t my only case.”

“Do you have anything or not?”

“No one in the neighborhood is talking.”

“I don’t believe that. Everybody talks to you. Or maybe there’s a six-month-old case pulling at your heart strings that’s keeping you from doing your job.”

“Guess I’ve lost my touch, because the tweekers aren’t desperate enough to pass up their fix for a place to sleep,” Collin said.

“What about your informants? I know you have at least two and they aren’t registered to you.”

Silence lingered on the phone. Although Ibee was right about having informants on the side, he had his reasons and she knew it.

“Dammit, I’m due for a comp after what you did to bust up the Surace case a while back. That case was my shot to make me look good to the voters.”

“That Surace case was a long time ago and what you were doing was wrong.” Collin cupped his hand over the receiver and lowered his voice. “Don’t forget, I’ve got enough stuff on you to make that guy you were going to send to prison for a murder he didn’t commit look like a saint.” He slammed the phone down.

“Whoa, buddy,” Kevin said, knocking on Collin’s office door. “Who pissed you off this time?” He stepped in and closed the door.

Collin looked up and forced a smile for his old partner and sergeant. Kevin Owen sported a military-style haircut laced with silver streaks, broad shoulders, and a little paunch that protruded slightly over his belt. “The one person that can fill my tolerance filter in less than ten seconds just by opening her mouth.”

Sarge pulled up a chair and took a seat across from Collin. He leaned back and stared at his friend. “I think there are only two people who can handle our A.D.A. Your daughter and her partner.” A flicker of concern danced in his eyes.

Collin nodded and pondered the real reason why Kevin was here on his day off. It reminded him of the times they used to ride together. Tomorrow they were getting together for coffee so they could plan one more day to play golf before the weather started getting cold. Why couldn’t it wait until then? “What’s wrong, Kev?”

Heavy rain pelted the window overlooking the parking lot.

“One of the guys saw your wife having lunch with You Know Who.”

“Does this person have proof?” Collin asked.

“Several people have proof. The officer was celebrating his birthday at McGinley’s with his family where they took pics and shared them online. I just wanted to tell you before someone else did. And after everything you’ve been through with her…”

Collin stood, yanked his coat of his chair and stormed out of the office. “Damn you, Deena.”

 

Giveaway

Like the sound of this book?  You’re in luck then as there is a giveaway being run throughout this blog tour.  Yes, two lucky people will win 1 of 2 x signed eBook copies of ‘Promised Lies’.  To enter, click on this link Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

About Marguerite Ashton

When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible. She can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Buying Links

Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promised-Lies-Detective-Blanchette-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06XPGYQW4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494873943&sr=8-1&keywords=marguerite+ashton

Amazon.com:-

https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Lies-Detective-Blanchette-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06XPGYQW4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494873943&sr=8-1&keywords=marguerite+ashton

 

Extract from ‘Glass Houses’ by Jackie Buxton

Following on from Jackie Buxton’s guest post, I now have an extract from ‘Glass Houses’.

 

Book Blurb

‘When she sent that text, all our lives changed for ever…’

51 year old Tori Williams’ life implodes when she sends a text while driving on the M62 motorway and allegedly causes the horrific crash in which three people die. Public and press are baying for her blood, but Tori is no wallflower and refuses to buckle under their pressure or be a pariah in society. Instead, she sets about saving the nation. But can she save Etta, the woman who saved her life? Or will Etta’s secret be her downfall?

This incredibly topical and contemporary morality tale appeals across generations and will find favour with fans of authors such as Liane Moriarty, Marian Keyes and Kathryn Croft.

 

Extract

Extract from ‘Glass Houses’

Extract from ‘The Prague Ultimatum’ by James Silvester

It’s time now for a taster from ‘The Prague Ultimatum’.  I hope you all enjoy it.

 

Book Blurb

Fear stalks the newly reunified Czechoslovakia, the terror wrought by international terrorism and violent extremists overshadowing the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary of the Prague Spring, and threatening to burn the country in its wake.

Into this arena steps Captain Lincoln Stone, a disgraced British officer, humiliatingly scapegoated by his government for his role in the disastrous on-going Syrian Conflict. Plucked from his purgatory, Stone is teased with exoneration by British Foreign Secretary Jonathan Greyson, in return for his ‘off the books’ aid of Czechoslovak Prime Minister, Miroslava Svobodova. Stone, resentful of his treatment and determined to prove himself, is driven by deeper motives than the casual platitudes of his superiors, and finds himself at the epicentre as the country descends into chaos.

Cut off from the international community and isolated in the face of an expansionist Russia, and with the sinister Institute for European Harmony ever present behind the scenes, Czechoslovakia’s fate, and that of the world, hangs on the outcome to the Prague Ultimatum.

 

Extract

Extract from ‘The Prague Ultimatum’

 

Extract from ‘The Man Who Played Trains’ by Richard Whittle

Did you enjoy my interview with Richard Whittle?  I’ve now got an extract from ‘The Man Who Played Trains’ for you to read.

 

Book Blurb

Mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies from her injuries. Her home has been ransacked. Determined to track down her killer and discover the truth behind her death, John finds a connection between his late father’s wartime mine and the wreck of a U-Boat. The connection deepens when he discovers the diaries of the U-Boat captain and a wartime mission to spirit Göring to safety along with a fortune in stolen art. When John’s daughter Jez is kidnapped, he is contacted by a mysterious consortium her life hangs in the balance unless he can find the stolen art. What is the link with his father’s abandoned mine? Who was the U-Boat captain? Did he survive and hide Göring’s treasures? John races against time to discover the truth…and in doing so may unearth secrets that were better left buried…

 

Extract

Extract from ‘The Man Who Played Trains’

 

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