Category Archives: Excerpts

Blog Tour – Nucleus (Tom Wilde #2) by Rory Clements *Excerpt*

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Nucleus by Rory Clements today. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to read the book so instead of my review I am sharing an excerpt. Grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The Blurb

The eve of war: a secret so deadly, nothing and no one is safe

June 1939. England is partying like there is no tomorrow, gas masks at the ready. In Cambridge the May Balls are played out with a frantic intensity – but the good times won’t last… In Europe, the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, and in Germany the persecution of the Jews is now so widespread that desperate Jewish parents send their children to safety in Britain aboard the Kindertransport. Closer to home, the IRA’s S-Plan bombing campaign has resulted in more than 100 terrorist outrages around England.

But perhaps the most far-reaching event of all goes largely unreported: in Germany, Otto Hahn has produced the first man-made fission and an atomic device is now a very real possibility. The Nazis set up the Uranverein group of physicists: its task is to build a superbomb. The German High Command is aware that British and US scientists are working on similar line. Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory is where the atom was split in 1932. Might the Cambridge men now win the race for a nuclear bomb? Hitler’s generals need to be sure they know all the Cavendish’s secrets. Only then will it be safe for Germany to wage war.

When one of the Cavendish’s finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is once more drawn into an intrigue from which there seems no escape. In a conspiracy that stretches from Cambridge to Berlin and from Washington DC to the west coast of Ireland, he faces deadly forces that threaten the fate of the world.

Excerpt

The Cavendish, in the heart of Cambridge, was where men had first split the atom. The lab had long been at the very heart of experimental particle physics and Geoff Lancing was one of its leading lights.
Wilde studied Flood. What he saw was a career man who hadn’t quite made it to the top, but still managed to wield influence. Perhaps he had spent too long on campus, not enough time on the parade ground.
‘We need to know what’s going on there,’ Flood continued. ‘The world of atomic physics is a small place. There are questions to which we would like answers. For instance, do Britain’s top men believe this superbomb is possible? How difficult is it to make? Who are the real brains – the leaders in the field? We’d like to hear what you can find out. And we’d like to hear it in layman’s terms. Simple as that.’
‘Then I’ll keep my eyes and ears open.’
‘Come on, Wilde,’ Flood said. ‘We know your background. You may not call yourself a spy, you may not be part of any agency, but goddamn it, professor, you’re in the thick of it already! You take briefings from Vanderberg at the US embassy, you watch your contemporaries like a bird of prey . . .’
‘Take briefings from Jim Vanderberg? He’s a friend, that’s all, an old college friend. We just talk, shoot the breeze like friends do.’
Flood held up a defensive hand and grinned. ‘No one’s accusing you of anything, professor. You do good work. We’ve got a pretty good idea what you did at the back end of ’36. You’re just the sort of guy we need.’
Did Flood really know Wilde’s role in those events? The foiling of the conspiracy to prevent the abdication of Edward VIII had been a closely guarded secret. Wilde shrugged. ‘I suppose I should be flattered.’
Roosevelt clapped his hands. ‘Good man. We don’t want to be caught off guard. If anyone looks like they’re going to get a superbomb, I want to know about it.’ He glanced at his watch and Wilde began to rise, as did Colonel Flood. The interview was over. Ten short minutes in which they had covered the likelihood of war, the possibility of an atomic superbomb and the pleasures of jazz. All that and good White House coffee. The President put the dying butt of his second cigarette in the ashtray groove, then leant across and shook Wilde’s hand warmly. ‘Good to meet you, professor. Keep in touch. I need a clear, unbiased voice over there in the dark days that lie ahead of us. Missy LeHand is my gatekeeper and she will tell you exactly how to contact me. I’d value your view over those of a dozen diplomats. Just keep everything short and to the point. On the science matter, communicate with Dexter.’
‘Certainly, Mr President.’
‘And perhaps you’d send me a signed copy of your new book.’
‘It would be my pleasure, sir. I think you’ll find that Sir Robert Cecil was every bit as ruthless in his own way as Walsingham.’
‘Power politics! Nothing changes down the ages.’
Flood walked towards the door. ‘I’ll show the professor out, Mr President.’
‘Thank you, Dexter.’

Published on 25 January 2018 by Bonnier Zaffre, you can grab a copy HERE.

My thanks go to Rory Clements and Emily at Bonnier Zaffre for allowing me to share an excerpt.

 

Blog Tour – Twice The Speed Of Dark by Lulu Allison *Excerpt*

Today I am joining the blog tour for Lulu Allison’s Twice The Speed Of Dark and Lulu has kindly allowed me to share an excerpt with you. Firstly, what is the book about?

The Blurb

Caitlin, killed by violent boyfriend Ryan, tells her story from the perplexing realms of death. Ten years on, her mother Anna is still burdened by suppressed grief. Dismayed by the indifference in the news to people who die in distant war and terror, Anna writes portraits of the victims, trying to understand the real impact of their deaths. It is only through these acts of love for strangers that she can allow herself an emotional connection to the world. Anna’s uneasy equilibrium is disrupted when Ryan is released from prison. As her anger rises will Anna act on her desire for revenge, or will she find freedom at last from the terrible weight of grief? And will Caitlin reclaim herself from the brutality that killed her?

Excerpt from chapter one

It began on a morning much like this one, a cold and sunless day six years before and a little deeper into the winter. Christmas, itself a burden, had been passed with relative ease, though the relief of that was tarnished by the anticipation of the greater test to come. The most appalling of anniversaries was looming, a few small squares in the calendar away. Four years since Caitlin’s death, aged just nineteen. On this day, not long before the anniversary, she had not answered the phone or gone out. After cleaning already clean cupboards and shining already clear windows, she sat to read the paper. In her habitual, well-rehearsed way, she acknowledged the dead. There had been a bomb in a distant marketplace, one of several that day. A filament snagged and slowed the story down, her habitual soft focus pulled into unexpected sharpness. Somehow that detail caught her; a marketplace, perhaps the most domestic public space there is. People shopping for food, plastic buckets, scarves, aluminium pans. A place providing easy acquisition of the humbler tools of life: domestic wares, phone parts and gaudy cases, vinyl handbags, eggs, cabbages. Mothers buying an evening meal, teenagers shopping for the excitingly new and obligingly affordable. A man buying a bucket so he could clean his house. These ordinary people doing ordinary things, they would be the dead.

She thought of there being no dinner in some households, because the shopping never came back from the market. A husband whose anxiety makes him fear, as if seeming finally by prophecy rather than grinding habit, that his wife has been killed. A family who wouldn’t know for long hours where their father had gone. Somewhere in a town where death might just as easily come at the hands of a checkpoint soldier, a sniper, a drone. Somewhere in a world where escape from such horror resulted in thousands of drowned bodies day by day, as boats and brutal businessmen cast people to their fate in the deceptive, seductive glint of a blue sea that pretended to show the way to safety.

Over the next days, the people behind the numbers began to materialise when she picked over stories in the news. As she was standing at a supermarket checkout she was hit by a surge of connection to the others in the queue. They were ugly and beautiful, unkempt, elegant, all mixed. Their banal ordinariness for once caught her attention, linked them to those killed by bombs in markets in Iraq or by roadsides in Afghanistan. The young man with a backpack and scraggly beard, buying four hooped-together cans of lager and some broccoli and biscuits, trousers carelessly rolled above bare brown ankles. The woman with tired eyes and pink plastic earrings, grey showing at the roots of her black hair. The old man with beige slacks and an olive cap, a small brown shopping bag ready for his bread rolls and two bananas, a small shakiness in his hands. Anna felt a tender kind of love and sadness for them, those ordinary people caught there in a tiny moment of complex lives, as those killed were caught in what became the last moment of their lives, when a crude bomb exploded near enough to kill them. Any one of them, all of them, could be one of the bodies, a life behind the numbers. She made her way through the queue and looked intently at the young cashier, haunted by a sudden picture of her, dead amidst the rubble of a faraway town, her mouth open, small teeth exposed to the heat and dust of disaster. She felt the upwell of a sob, an echo that pulsed in her chest, an inappropriate urge to shield the unknown girl from a fate that was not hers, from any fate that meant her harm.

Sounds good, right? Twice The Speed Of Dark was published on eBook on 24 November 2017 by Unbound Digital. You can get your copy here.

A huge thank you to Lulu for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and fr allowing me to share this excerpt with you. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour.

Blog Tour – His Guilty Secret by Helene Fermont *Excerpt*

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for His Guilty Secret by Helene Fermont today and have an excerpt to share with you.

The Blurb

Secrets & Lies Are Dangerous

When Jacques’s body is discovered in a hotel room his wife, Patricia, suspects he has been hiding something from her.

Why was he found naked and who is the woman that visited his grave on the day of the funeral? Significantly, who is the unnamed beneficiary Jacques left a large sum of money to in his will and what is the reason her best friend, also Jacques’s sister, Coco, refuses to tell her what he confided to her?

Struggling to find out the truth, Patricia visits Malmö where her twin sister Jasmine lives and is married to her ex boyfriend. But the sisters relationship is toxic and when a family member dies shortly after, an old secret is revealed that shines a light on an event that took place on their tenth birthday.

As one revelation after another is revealed, Patricia is yet to discover her husband’s biggest secret and what ultimately cost him his life.

His Guilty Secret is an unafraid examination of the tangled bonds between siblings, the lengths we go to in protecting our wrongdoings, and the enduring psychological effects this has on the innocent…and the not so innocent.

Excerpt

He joined her at the window, a big white towel around his waist. “I love you just as much as her, you know? Perhaps things would have been different if it was just the two of us, you and me… but I’ve no regrets. Most people never get to meet one person to love and who loves them back. I’m extremely fortunate to have met and fallen in love with two such extraordinary women. If things weren’t as they are, you and Patricia would have enjoyed spending time together as friends. Of that I’m absolutely certain.”

Pushing his comment to the back of her mind, the woman took his hand as they returned to bed and made love a second time.

Much too soon it was time to get up and pack their things. They hadn’t brought much with them; both were acutely aware they never had the opportunity to spend more time than the bare minimum. She’d lied to her husband for years, saying an old school friend wanted to meet up with her at their home in Marseille.

Thank God for Milou, she thought. Without her I’d have no one to confide in and cover for me in case I’m found out or something happens to my preciousour precious gift. Reluctantly, she willed herself to focus on what little time they had left together.

She was in the shower when she heard him shout, “Tom’s arrived with our breakfast, it smells delicious!” She joined him soon after, having applied subtle makeup to hide the sorrow she carried in her eyes each time they parted.

The man reached for her hand. “We’ll find a way to meet again soon, just like we always do. Meanwhile, I rely on you to look after our special gift. Can you do it for us both? I’ve two regrets in life: one is that I’ve caused you much pain by refusing to divorce my wife; the second is that I never got to spend enough time with what matters most to us.”

Together they sat at the small table by the bed, drinking coffee and eating croissants, pretending they were okay and already looking forward to the next time they’d meet, usually in Paris after he finished a shift with Air France or in London before he returned home to his wife.

His Guilty Secret by Hélene Fermont is out on 27th November 2017 and will be available on Amazon.
For more information see helenefermont.com

Follow the rest of the tour…

 

Blog Tour – Anything for Her by G J Minett *Excerpt*

I am delighted to be joining the blog tour for Anything for Her by GJ Minett today. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to read the book but I’m excited to be able to share an excerpt with you today. Let’s face it, an excerpt is probably better than listening to me blah on about my thoughts! I will firstly tell you what the book is about and then on to the excerpt. So, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The Blurb

A devilish psychological thriller from the widely loved GJ Minett, for fans of The Girl Before and Lie with Me.

You’d do anything for the one that got away . . . wouldn’t you?

When Billy Orr returns home to spend time with his dying sister, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Aimi, the love of his life. He might not have seen her in eleven years, but Billy’s never forgotten her. He’d do anything for her then, and he’d do anything for her now.

When Aimi tells him that she wants to escape her abusive husband, Billy agrees to help her fake her own death. But is she still the Aimi that Billy remembers from all those years ago?

Once Aimi disappears, Billy has to face the possibility that perhaps she had different reasons for disappearing – reasons that might be more dangerous than she’s led him to believe . . .

Sometimes trusting the one you love is the wrong thing to do.

Excerpt

Matthew had a golf match scheduled for midday and was happy to leave them to it. He offered to give them a lift to Tenterden, suggesting they could get a taxi home. Mia’s Fiat was sitting there in the driveway and Billy wondered why they didn’t just take that. As if reading his mind, she launched into an obviously pre-rehearsed spiel about the brakes being a little unreliable lately and how she wouldn’t feel comfortable using it until she’d had them checked over. It sounded shaky, her swift glance at Matthew not lending any conviction to it whatsoever and it was difficult to escape the conclusion that the real problem was the prospect of Mia being behind the wheel. He thought of offering to drive instead but didn’t want to make her feel any more uncomfortable than she already was.

He found the Alpen halfway down the aisle, pondered over it for a few seconds and then opted for the Original rather than the No Added Sugar variety. Sod’s law said it would be the wrong one but he’d try to remember to check with her before they got to the checkout – always assuming he could find her in here. She’d gone off to queue at the deli counter ten minutes earlier and he hadn’t seen her since. The place was heaving.

He fetched the list out of the trolley and worked his way down it to see where he needed to go next.

‘Billy?’

He looked up, half-expecting it to be Mia standing there although even as he did so it dawned on him that the voice was wrong – familiar, yes . . . but not quite right. And the moment he realised who was standing there in front of him, this whole morning’s trip down memory lane took on an altogether different perspective. He was dumbstruck for a second or two in a way he’d have been the first to dismiss as a cliché in different circumstances. He stayed rooted to the spot for a moment, uncertain as to what would be the most appropriate way of greeting her, and it was only as she solved the problem for him by stepping forward and giving him a hug that his mouth finally managed to find his voice.

‘Aimi?’ he said.

Mia’s on her way back from the deli counter, trying to track down Billy and the trolley. She’s just rounded the corner at the far end of the aisle when she catches sight of him, locked in an embrace with someone she doesn’t recognise at first. She takes a few steps towards them but when they break apart and she has a chance to see who it is, she promptly turns on her heel and heads back in the opposite direction, hoping they won’t have noticed. All of a sudden, the washing products seem to offer an attractive alternative.

Has that whet your appetite? If so you don’t have long to wait. Anything For Her is published on eBook on 30 November 2017 and paperback on 22 March 2018 by Bonnier Zaffre.

A huge thank you to G J Minett and Emily Burns at Bonnier Zaffre for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for allowing me to share an excerpt. Catch the rest of the tour…

Blog Tour – The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne *excerpt*

Today I am taking part in the blog blitz for The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne and I’m delighted to be able to share with you a tantalising excerpt. First up, here’s what the book is about:

The Blurb

Billie is hiding from the world in fear of a man who nearly destroyed her. But a chance meeting with budding journalist, Adam, sparks a relationship that could free her from her life of isolation and fear.

Unbeknownst to Billie, Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives he believes she has ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him. As an unwanted attraction blossoms between them, Adam comes to realise that all is not as it seems.

Who is really pulling the strings? And are Adam and Billie both being played?

One thing is for sure, The Master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.

And to whet your appetite further, grab a coffee, put your feet up and enjoy this excerpt from the first chapter…

Chapter One Present Day – 2018
Billie

Billie stole down the street avoiding all eye contact and people.

Once a week, on Sunday, she braved the world to visit the bookstore not far from her flat. Once Upon a Time had thousands of books and a quaint little cafe; it was her haven. “Same as usual, love?” asked the elderly lady at the till.
“Err … yes, please,” whispered Billie, blushing bright red. She focused on her tray, the same hot chocolate and sandwich she had each time. She didn’t really like the sandwich but she felt silly just buying a drink.

“That’s five pounds fifty then please, love.” Avoiding her gaze, Billie handed over the money she had already got out in preparation. “Thank you,” Billie said, and scuttled off to the same table by the window that she always had. She liked this table because she could look out of the window at people hurrying down their way through their lives no one stopped or took their time any more. But if she didn’t fancy that, she could people watch in the cafe. It was a small, intimate place with a few tables and lots of quirky signs dotted around. Her favourite was ‘Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup’. Today, she watched two women through the gaps in her long red hair, shielding her gaze. They were at the table next to her, chattering about the possible affair that one of their husbands may or may not be having. She enjoyed these little snippets of society.
Some days she felt a pang of loneliness. No one would ever sit at this table with her. But mostly that was a relief. It wasn’t safe. People were dangerous.

She looked over at the lady who had served her. Her face was wrinkly with laughter lines, her smile wide and welcoming. White hair bounced cheerfully on her head as she moved. But Billie knew that appearances were deceiving. Nearly everyone wore a mask. No one was themselves any more, too afraid at being judged. Everyone had to fit in with what was ‘normal’.

Billie could just make out the lady’s name badge. Martha could easily be hiding something. She could be stealing children and cooking them just like the witch in Hansel and Gretel.

She shook her head trying to dislodge the feeling. It was no good thinking like this. It would only trigger memories of her past.

She went back to eating her food, surreptitiously watching the people around her. She could live through their lives. People watching was much safer than making actual connections.

At another table, a mother was helping her son with a jigsaw. She watched them and allowed herself to become absorbed in their lives. She wondered what the woman did. She was dressed haphazardly and appeared to be a full-time mum. The boy looked happy and content. Billie hoped his mum would keep him safe. That she wouldn’t abandon him when things got tough. That she wouldn’t put herself first.

She was distracted from her thoughts by a man who had entered the cafe. She watched as he made the rookie mistake of ordering his food without checking to see if there was a table free. For a moment, his black-clad body stiffened as he realised his mistake. But then, instead of putting his head down and scurrying away as she would have, he moved over to her table. Billie wanted to look away as he stared down at her with his unusual pale-green eyes, which were in perfect symmetry to his mouth. His stance exuded a sense of restless energy.

For the first time she could remember, she wasn’t scared. He stood there, devilishly handsome, and she was captivated.

A lock of his wavy blond hair fell casually on his forehead as he spoke. “Can I sit here?” Billie knew words weren’t going to come, so she just nodded.

He was calm, as if sitting next to strangers was normal. She couldn’t stop fidgeting, her eyes not knowing where to look.

Why was he sitting here?

He sat down and looked at her intently; his eyes were pale and unreadable. But then, as if she had passed some test, a smile broke across his face.

“So, how are you?” he said.

She didn’t reply straightaway, thrown by his familiar tone as if they knew each other.

“Err … Fine … Do I know you?” Blushing from head to toe she wracked her brain, trying to remember if he worked with her. She made a point of not talking to anyone outside work, and just kept her head down.

“Nope, never seen you before, just thought it would be rude not to talk,” he said. His smile widened and his face changed; a light came into his eyes and her pounding heartbeat lowered. She realised she was staring and quickly lowered her head.

“Okay,” she murmured into her shaking hands. She focused on them to calm herself. She’d always had fat fingers, but her fingernails were nice. Now she was grateful she’d managed to kick the habit of biting them.

“Are you texting someone for help? Is that why you keep looking down?” he said.

She looked up instantly, her face feeling redder still.

“I’m going to have to work on my image. I thought I’d mastered looking sweet and innocent but, from your reaction, I don’t think it’s working.” Despite herself, she smiled. Her stomach was fluttering.

“I don’t have a mobile.”

“How curious, are you also one of those loons that doesn’t have a television?” He visibly shuddered. “I’d rather sit on the floor if that’s the case. I don’t trust people who don’t watch TV; it’s unhealthy.”

She chuckled quietly, still unable to look him in the eye. “I have a TV.”

“Is it black and white?”
“No, it’s a regular TV.”
“Phew, that’s a relief, you had me worried then.”
She laughed as he flopped back in his chair in exaggerated relief. It was strange. Although she was wary and uncomfortable, it wasn’t as bad as it usually was.
She remembered her first week at her current job. She was staring out of the window, grateful to have a window seat, when one of her male colleagues came over to her.

“Hi, I’m Andy, you must be Billie?” His hand reached out to shake hers and she froze. She stared at it. The hand loomed over her and began to magnify. She could see every hair on it. His hand was massive and all she could think about was how easily it could crush hers.

Instead of shaking it, she got up and ran to the ladies’ bathroom. She went in a stall and was sick. From then on she never spoke to anyone unless she absolutely had to and no one spoke to her. She heard the muttered rumours that people said about her, but she didn’t listen to them. The only people she talked to regularly were customers on the phone, and they were only perfunctory conversations.

With the shock of this man’s arrival at her table wearing off, she was surprised how little she felt intimidated by him. Alarm bells had begun to ring in her head as soon as he had started talking to her but his relaxed manner and humour had put her at ease. She couldn’t remember the last time she had laughed with someone, let alone spoken comfortably.

Life had kicked Billie down. The only way she could exist safely in this world was to close herself off from the rest of humanity.

People were dangerous.

She had lived alone, with this mantra, for the last five years since leaving university. She had thought that she no longer felt loneliness, but this stranger was stirring feelings she didn’t know still existed.

“Although we still need to discuss the phone thing … I’ve never met someone who doesn’t have a phone. How do people get in touch with you?”

“I have no one that needs to get in touch with me.”
“No one? I don’t believe that. What about your parents?” She sucked in a painful breath and was reminded why she didn’t like to talk. People were nosey. They walked around quizzing people about their personal lives, believing they had the right to ask whatever they wanted. Life felt like one big interview and Billie hated it.

“I don’t have any, and before you ask, no siblings or any other relations; just me.” She hoped her sharp tone would make it clear that she did not want to talk about this anymore.

“Aw. Do you want to talk about it?”
She shook her head and added, “No.”
He was quiet for a moment, brow furrowed. Then his face brightened.
“What about work? They have to be able to contact you …?” “I have a neighbour; she has a phone that my work can call.” “You know you could just get a phone, don’t you?”
“I don’t want one.”
“Why?”
She floundered. How could she explain that such a simple question would require her life history to answer?
This was the most she’d spoken with anyone for a long time. His light tone and handsome smile had her mesmerized. She was considering telling him everything. She’d never told anyone the whole story and, until now, she hadn’t known she wanted to.

She realised she hadn’t answered him and she panicked. He must have seen it on her face because he changed the subject.

“So, can I know your name, or would you prefer crazy, beautiful, anti-phone lady?” The word beautiful echoed in her head. She felt sick. He was just like the rest. She got up quickly, sloshing his coffee on the table.

“I need to go, sorry.” She ran to the door and out of the cafe. Trying hard to beat down the memory of the last time someone had called her beautiful.

The Puppet Master was published on 13 November 2017 by Bloodhound Books. Follow the other bloggers on the blitz for reviews and author guest posts.

Cover Reveal and Prologue – Broken Bones by Angela Marsons

I am beyond excited tonight to be able to reveal to you the cover for the next DI Kim Stone novel by Angela Marsons and … wait for it … I also have a teaser for you as I am able to share the prologue! EEEEEKKKK!!!!!

So, what’s Broken Bones all about?

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

A gripping new crime thriller from the Number One bestseller – you will be hooked until the final jaw-dropping twist.

Oh my God, how good does that sound??? And the cover for Broken Bones looks pretty damn good too…

You can pre-order Broken Bones now and get it sent straight to your Kindle on publication day by following these links:

UK: http://amzn.to/2wwkvci
US: http://amzn.to/2vDLPsP

And if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, here’s a sneaky peek at the prologue…

Black Country
Christmas Day

Elaine Goddard sat on the roof of the thirteen storey block of flats. The winter sun shone a grid on to her bare feet dangling over the edge.

The protective grate had been erected some years ago after a father of seven had thrown himself over.

By the time she was eleven she had stolen a pair of wire cutters and fashioned herself an access point to the narrow ledge that was her place of reflection.

From this vantage point she could look to the beauty of the Clent Hills in the distance, block out the dank, grubby reality of below.

Hollytree was the place you were sent if Hell was having a spring clean.

Problem families from the entire West Midlands were evicted from other estates and placed in Hollytree. It was displacement capital. Communities around the borough breathed sighs of relief as families were evicted. No-one cared where they went. It was enough that they were gone and one more ingredient was added to the melting pot.

There was a clear perimeter around the estate over which the police rarely crossed. It was a place where the rapists, child molesters, thieves and ASBO families were put together in one major arena. And then guarded by police from the outside.

But today a peace settled around the estate giving the illusion that the normal activities of robbing, raping and molesting were on pause because it was Christmas Day. That was bollocks. It was all still going on but to the backdrop of the Queens speech.

Her mother was still slurring her way around the cheerless flat with a bottle of Gin in her hand.

But at least Elaine had this. Her one piece of heaven. Always her safe place. Her escape.

She had disappeared unnoticed up here when she was seven years old and her mother had been falling all over the flat pissed as a fart.

How lucky was she to have been the only one of the four kids her mother had been allowed to keep?

She had escaped up here when her mother’s drinking partner, Roddy, had started pawing at her groin and slobbering into her hair. Her mother had pulled him off, angrily, shouting something about ruining her retirement plan. She hadn’t understood it when she was nine years old but she had come to understand it now.

She had cried up here on her sixteenth birthday when her mother had introduced her to the family business and to their pimp, Kai Lord.

She’d been up here two months earlier when he had finally found her.

And she’d been up here when she’d told him to fuck right off.

She didn’t want to be saved. It was too late.

Sixteen years of age and already it was too damn late.

Many times she had fantasised about how it would feel to lurch forward onto the wind. She had envisioned herself floating to and fro gently making the journey like a stray pigeon feather all the way to the ground. Had imagined the feeling of weightlessness of both her body and her mind.

Elaine took a deep breath and exhaled.

In just a few minutes it would be time to go to work. Heavy rain, sleet, snow, Christmas – nothing kept the punters away. Trade might be slow but it would still be there. It always was.

She didn’t hear the roof door open or the footsteps that slowly strode towards her.

She didn’t see the hand that pushed her forward.

She only saw the ground as it hurtled towards her.

Sounds like it’s going to be another absolute belter!

About Angela Marsons

Angela Marsons is the author of the Amazon Bestselling DI Kim Stone series – Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines, Dead Souls and now Broken Bones. Her books have sold more than 2 million in 2 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Her last two books – Blood Lines and Dead Souls – reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.

https://www.facebook.com/AngelaMarsonsAuthor/
@WriteAngie https://twitter.com/WriteAngie

http://angelamarsons-books.com/

 

Excerpt – Reality Rehab by Lisa Mary London

I am delighted to bring you an exclusive excerpt today of Reality Rehab, the debut novel by former producer Lisa Mary London. Grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy!

The Blurb

Faded soap star Gloria Grayson swaps banoffee pie for humble pie with a stint on reality TV. But her last ditch bid to salvage her celebrity backfires, when the ex-husband from hell is sprung on her in front of 10 million viewers.
Can Gloria win back A-list status, happy ever after and her Rear of the Year title? Reality is stranger than fiction!

Faded TV star Gloria Grayson has hit rock bottom. Sacked from her starring role in a top soap, divorced from hell-raising actor ‘Mad’ Tommy Mack, and obese from binge eating, her days as Britain’s sexiest blonde are well and truly over.

But her luck changes when cruel paparazzi photos relaunch her career, and she and her fat, feisty dog are booked to appear on TV’s Reality Rehab.

Gloria is incarcerated with an American psychotherapist, a rabble of D-list celebrities and umpteen cameras, then put on a starvation diet. But worse is to come, with the shock arrival of her alcoholic ex-husband.

Tears and tantrums ensue as the divorced couple’s therapy sessions take over the show, and ratings soar. The other celebrities are infuriated to be sidelined and Reality Rehab fast becomes The Tommy and Glo Show.

But Gloria and Tommy are hiding explosive secrets from each other and 10 million viewers – Reality is stranger than fiction!

Chapter One

Life’s A Bitch And Then You Diet

The weirdest thing just happened. A woman walked up to my table at Highgate Bistro and said: ‘Excuse me – Didn’t you used to be Gloria Grayson?’

I was reading about Kim Kardashian’s latest diet in a celebrity magazine, a forkful of steak and chips halfway to my mouth. I was taken aback. Used to be Gloria Grayson? What a strange question. Whatever could she mean?

I put down my cutlery, gave her my most dazzling smile and replied, wittily, that I was still Gloria Grayson the last time I looked. She was a dumpy old lump bless her, but the burden of fame weighs heavy on me. I can’t begrudge a fan the chance to bask in my celebrity aura, even a fan as drab as this one. Then I awaited the inevitable selfie request.

But it never came. She just raised a shaggy eyebrow, sniggered and lumbered back to her equally frumpy friend. They’re sat two tables down having coffee and tarte tatin. I hope they didn’t nab the last slices, that’s my favourite dessert. They’re whispering and giggling… People can act strangely in the presence of a star. It’s intimidating for them I suppose, they’re overwhelmed God love ‘em.

Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I was approached by a fan. When I was on TV every week, the lead actress in Britain’s top soap, I was forever being mobbed. Fans chased me down the street pleading for photos and autographs, desperate to cop a feel of a genuine, bona fide star. Well there are so few of us around these days, thanks to reality television and all the ghastly fake celebrities it’s spawned.

To a great extent I blame my agent Belinda. She’s taken loads of these reality TV types on her books, you know the sort. Nonentities who are famous for absolutely no good reason. People without an ounce of talent, whose hitherto biggest life achievement was producing a bowel movement. These no-marks are NOT celebrities, but Belinda’s getting work for them hand over fist and neglecting me, the genuine article!

I wouldn’t mind if they had a talent, could dance, sing, tell a joke or even read autocue without squinting. But they can’t and they’re stealing work off us pros! We’ve earned our fame the hard way, been to drama school, toured the provinces, slept with TV executives. These cretins spend a fortnight in a house with CCTV cameras and walk out of there megastars. The world’s gone mad.

I met that Joey Essex at a showbiz do once. Nice enough lad, but he should be stacking shelves at Homebase, not hosting his own TV shows! He was all over me, horribly star struck. Gushed he was my biggest fan ever, said I was ‘Peng’ and ‘Sick’ and begged me to pose for a selfie. I duly obliged and later found he’d posted it to Instagram with the caption: ‘Me & Barberra Windser – Wot a carry on, LOL!!!’ It got 10,000 Likes and what’s more, NO ONE CORRECTED HIM! And this is what the millennial generation calls a celebrity… Liza Minnelli would be spinning in her grave, if she were dead.

Skimpy pile of French fries today, I’m still peckish. I’m sure these bistro portions are getting smaller you know. Maybe I’ll order myself a baguette basket. Baby-Girl’s fast asleep on the chair beside me in her tutu and tiara, snoring like a tractor. She had bangers and mash with onion gravy and petits pois, licked the plate clean. The vet says she’s obese but she looks fine to me. Though recently I’ve been buying her doggy dresses a size bigger. Last week I had to put my foot in her back to zip up her ra ra skirt… Maybe I won’t order her a dessert today…

Well there’s nothing else for it with no money coming in, I’m going to have to sell my engagement ring. It’s not like it has any sentimental value, I even paid for it myself. Tommy said he’d stump up, but needless to say he never got round to it. Oh I know, I know, the omens were there from the start. Last week I took it to the village jeweller for a valuation and he said the diamond was severely flawed. I said: ‘So was the marriage’.

Sad to say, it’s the only bit of bling I have left that I haven’t sold. Apart from my gold ‘GG’ necklace, but I wouldn’t part with that. Not because Tommy gave it to me you understand, just because… Well it’s my signature piece, my trademark if you will. I was pictured wearing it when I picked up Soap’s Sexiest Female Award, and at my big leaving bash for Jubilee Road. Oh and in those famous tabloid shots of me throwing Tommy’s clothes out of our bedroom window, into the swimming pool. It’s funny really, he’s the only one who’s ever called me GG.

‘Pour me a scotch GG, it’s medicinal – I’m sick of being sober’.

‘Where’s that bacon sarnie GG – My belly thinks my throat’s been cut’.

‘Get me a beer GG – I’ve got a gob like Gandhi’s bum-crack’.

I told him GG made me sound like a horse and he said: ‘Well you are an old nag’.

God I’m so glad to be shot of the vodka-soaked loser! What did I ever see in him? I should have married a millionaire, not a third rate actor and first rate drunk. I had my pick of men. I copped off with Richard Branson at a party once, honestly I could kick myself now. Or was it Richard Bacon? I forget. Either way, I could have done a lot better than Tommy!

Sounds brilliant right? Published in the UK on 12 July 2017 you can order your copy now.

About Lisa Mary London

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Lisa Mary London went from Chief Reporter on a sleepy Cotswold newspaper to become Celebrity Producer on some of Britain’s best-loved TV shows. Her TV credits include An Audience with Ken Dodd, A BAFTA Tribute to Julie Walters, The British Comedy Awards and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! She’s worked with stars from Tony Curtis to Ant and Dec, and her debut novel Reality Rehab features around 200 famous names.

‘There’s never a dull moment when you’re working with the stars’, says Lisa. ‘One minute you’re sipping champagne with Pierce Brosnan, the next you’re standing in the Ladies’ minding Barbara Windsor’s handbag.’

Reality Rehab is based on her real life, behind-the-screen experiences as a Celebrity Producer. ‘I’ve met many old school stars like my book’s protagonist Gloria, who curse reality TV and think the cast of TOWIE should be stacking shelves at Tesco, not walking the red carpet.

‘She’s a cross between Diana Dors, Boadicea and Miss Piggy, a glorious, garrulous anti-heroine with bags of fattitude – Gloria puts the real in reality TV!’

Gloria’s petulant pooch Baby-Girl is closely based on the book’s cover star, Lisa’s beloved Maltese Dolly-Dog (says Lisa – ‘You couldn’t make her up’). Dolly-Dog won fame on ITV’s Loose Women when she married Sherrie Hewson’s Westie Charlie, in a ceremony officiated by John Barrowman (available on YouTube). The couple split acrimoniously and are currently fighting for custody of a chew toy.

A journalist by profession, Lisa has written for the Daily Mail and was briefly a News of the World reporter, but made her excuses and left before anyone was imprisoned for phone hacking.

Blog Tour – The Orphan Of India by Sharon Maas *Excerpt*

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Sharon Maas’s The Orphan Of India and doubly delighted to be able to share an extract from this gorgeous book. I reviewed the book earlier this month and loved it. You can read my review HERE.

Here is the excerpt you have been wanting to read…

Prologue
A village in Maharashtra, India, 1977

Jyothi’s slight form wavered a little as Ma placed the small bundle on her head, but she held her head up high and gripped it tightly with both hands, and soon found the point of perfect balance. It was bulky rather than heavy, and far easier to carry than water. A single full bucket dragged from the well was back-breaking, down-pulling, stop-and-start work for a girl of almost five, but she could carry laundry with ease, using her arms as props, following Ma with swinging steps and a straight but pliant back, all the way up to the Great House at the top of the hill.

Ma carried a much larger bundle on her head without the help of hands, and she walked briskly, for they were late. Jyothi quickened her pace to keep up. Every now and then she stumbled on the hem of her too-long skirt, stopped to push a fold of fabric into her sagging waistband and hurried forward to catch up, for Ma would not wait. They reached the top of the hill, turned into the driveway, entered the front courtyard and walked up the three stairs to the great wooden door at the top.

Ma knocked twice with the brass elephant-head knocker. The door swung open silently and Devi Ma let them in, frowning slightly because the sun was already rising above the turrets to the east, and work was waiting.

Jyothi followed Ma, who followed Devi Ma; single file they walked along the coloured tiles of a short passageway of fretwork walls into the inner court. Ma lifted the bundle of laundry from her own head, and then Jyothi’s bundle, and set both side by side on the marble floor of the inner court.

Devi Ma squatted down beside Jyothi’s ma and together the women began the sorting and the counting: saris in one heap, dhotis in another, blouses and underwear in other, smaller heaps; counting and adding up the prices.

Jyothi’s ma could not follow the counting and the calculations but nodded at all of Devi Ma’s sums, trusting her. Only occasionally they squabbled over the price of an item, like the big yellow woven bedspread, which Jyothi’s ma said was so heavy and hard to wash her husband had needed her eldest son’s help in wringing it out, and it was worth fifteen rupees, whereas Devi Ma said it was only worth twelve. But the squabbling was amiable and soon put to rest, and Jyothi’s mother got fourteen rupees for the bedspread. After the clean laundry was checked against Devi Ma’s list and paid for, the pile of dirty laundry in the corner would have to be sorted, counted and listed. It was a good hour’s work, interspersed with good-natured stories of village gossip volunteered by Jyothi’s ma in exchange for Great House gossip.

While they did their business Jyothi sat at the edge of the pool in the middle of the courtyard and played with the water-spitting fish. It was an oval pool of turquoise tiles and shallow water that caught the early morning sunlight and played with it in golden concentric circles rippling backwards from the fish.

Jyothi wore a red ankle-length cotton skirt and a flowered blouse; her hair was neatly plaited and hung down her back in a thick black rope. She swivelled her body around, lifted her skirt to her knees and put her feet in the pool. She leaned forward and lifted cups of water out of the pool and let the water fall back through her fingers into itself with a delicious splash. The gurgle of bubbling water was music.

All of a sudden she stopped playing and cocked her head. She had heard a sound, a sweet sound, sweeter even than the water’s voice; barely perceptible yet strong, insistent, reminding her of something but she knew not what, calling her somewhere but she knew not where.

If you could turn the glow and delight of the first glimpse of the sun rising over the trees at the edge of the village into sound, it would be this. If you could turn the perfume of a rose or the taste of a ripe mango into sound, or the feel of cool water running through your fingers, it would be this.

If you could turn a soul welling with wonder into sound, it would surely be this too…

Jyothi stood up.

The fretwork passageway led back to the front door in one direction. She had never been in the other direction, had never continued up to its end; always they had left the passage at the arch leading into the inner court.

A last glance at her mother told Jyothi the business of sorting, counting and adding was only halfway through. Her mother had forgotten her presence.

She found herself in a wide room with a wooden herringbone floor, polished to such a shine she could see a faint reflection of herself in the deep brown gloss. A series of arched windows set into one wall let in the early sunlight, casting it in long slanting pools of round-topped light. The room was bare except for a few straight-backed chairs against the walls and, near the entrance to the passageway, a hatstand with an oval mirror built into it. Jyothi crossed the room and followed the sound to an open doorway at the far side. She hesitated just one second before passing the doorway.

She found herself in a large hallway, dark, for there were no windows, only several heavy doors of wood, all closed. There was no need to open any of the doors for there was also a staircase, and the sound came from above, from the top of that staircase. Jyothi walked up, her left hand on the banister, looking upwards as if expecting that, any moment now, the glorious sound would take on form and appear as a vision of light before her, a goddess beckoning her on.

Along the upstairs landing there was a wall broken by several more doors, again all closed. As in a trance, Jyothi walked along the landing, arms held out before her as if to feel her way forward, although the landing was not dark like the hallway below, but light, and the light was coming from the far end, as well as the sound. Light and sound merged into a single entity pulling her forward, erasing the memory of Ma and the bundle of clothes downstairs, and even the memory of herself and who she was, wrapping itself around her mind and drawing her into itself.

She felt light-headed, like clear water sparkling with sunlight.

Jyothi arrived at the end of the landing and stood on the threshold of a room that was all light: smooth shining white floor, white bare walls and, at the far end, opposite to where she stood, an open balustrade broken by a row of slender columns joined by scalloped arches. Beyond the balustrade Jyothi’s glance took in the green hills rolling away to the east, and the sun, now well above the hills, brilliant white at its glowing centre, and the entire eastern sky shining white, everywhere a blinding whiteness.

White, too, were the clothes of the two people in the room. It was these two who claimed Jyothi’s attention. One of them, she saw at first glance, was the source of the sound. It was a man, sitting cross-legged on a small red carpet that provided the only spot of colour in the entire room. Across his legs rested a sitar; his fingers caressed the strings, and it was the music thus produced that had drawn Jyothi.

Music! This was music! Nothing she had ever heard before was worthy of the name. Sometimes musicians came to the village and there was singing and dancing in the main street, and of course at every festival there was music. She had seen a sitar before; she had even heard one played.

But never before like this. She stood in the doorway, transfixed, staring.

The Blurb

A lost child. A childless couple. Can they save each other?

Living on the streets of Bombay, Jyothi has no-one to turn to after her mother is involved in a tragic accident.
Monika and Jack Kingsley are desperate for a child of their own. On a trip to India, they fall in love with Jyothi and decide to adopt the orphan child.
The new family return to England, but Jyothi finds it difficult to adapt. As Monika and Jack’s relationship fractures, Jyothi is more alone than ever and music becomes her solace. But even when her extraordinary musical talent transforms into a promising career, Jyothi still doesn’t feel like she belongs.
Then a turbulent love affair causes her to question everything. And Jyothi realises that before she can embrace her future, she must confront her past…
The Orphan of India is an utterly evocative and heart-wrenching novel that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Perfect for fans of Dinah Jefferies, Santa Montefiore and Diane Chamberlain.

Sounds gorgeous right? You can purchase your copy in the UK HERE and in the US HERE.

A huge thank you to Sharon Maas and Kim Nash at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for allowing me to share this excerpt. Follow the rest of the tour…

 

 

Author Guest Post by Susan Gandar ‘Absent Father’ and Excerpt

It is Father’s Day on Sunday and as a celebration of that I have a gorgeous guest post from the lovely Susan Gandar. Susan is the author of the beautiful We’ve Come To Take You Home and along with her guest post you can read an excerpt of her debut novel. I’m delighted to have Susan vising the blog today as We’ve Come To Take You Home was one of my favourite books of 2016. I will now hand you over to Susan…

 

Absent Father

What was it like to grow up, the daughter of a 4 Oscar winning father? Yes, it had its moments, very exciting and very different. One of my birthdays was spent, with a group of friends, visiting Shepperton Studios where Carol Reed’s musical ‘Oliver!’ was being shot. We watched as Mark Lester, playing Oliver, crept up to Harry Secombe’s Mr. Bumble, held out his bowl – and whispered, ‘Please, Sir, can I have some more?!

With my father working away so much of the time, most of my school holidays were spent visiting him on location. One of those summer holidays was spent in Spain, in Madrid, where ‘Doctor Zhivago’ was being filmed. Early one blazingly hot morning, heat already shimmering off the pavements, we set off from the cool, dark apartment my parents were renting to visit the unit filming on the other side of the city.

An hour later, I was standing, up to my ankles in snow, in ‘Kropotkin Street’ in Moscow. And it was still over 100 F! And there wasn’t just one street but several, with trams clanking up and down, even a cathedral and in the far distance the crenellated walls of the Kremlin – the Magician, as my father was known, and his team had been at work again.

Those are the positive memories. But there are many that are less so: the number of birthdays that were missed, my very unhappy and frustrated mother, the bullying at school because I was so ‘different’.

Things came to a head when my father was offered and accepted the role of production designer on David Lean’s epic ‘Laurence of Arabia’. He packed his bags and walked out of the front door – not to return for two years. I remember so well the puzzlement, the heartache, the tearful phone calls, the feeling that we all, my mother, my sister and I, the rest of the family, had been deserted.

And then it was Christmas – and he was coming home, just for a couple of days, but that had to be better than nothing. I stood there, five years old, trembling with excitement, staring out of the window, watching out for my father. And there he was, walking down the street, towards our house. I ran out of the sitting room into the hallway, wrenched open the front door, flew down the steps, down onto the street – and threw myself into his arms saying those lines which Jenny Agutter made so famous in the film The Railway Children, ‘Daddy, my Daddy!’.

But the magic moment I’d been dreaming about, better than any Christmas present, being hugged, kissed, burying myself in my father’s arms, didn’t happen. My father just stood there, shuffling his feet, saying nothing, doing nothing. And then my mother was there, pulling at me, apologising, saying she was really sorry, and I was being led back up the steps, through the front door, into our flat. This man wasn’t my father, he was a stranger, just a man walking down the street, my real father would be coming later. And he did, tall and suntanned, and rather glamorous, but rather aloof, mentally and emotionally- still out in Jordan, in the desert, drawing a line through the sand, for Omar Sharif to follow when riding into the well on his camel.

My mother threatened by father with divorce – and the films abroad stopped, at least for a while. And I had a father who was at home, not all of the time, but at least some of the time. And we did what other families did, going for walks together in the local park on a Sunday. To me, even now, the memory of my father’s hand gripping mine, him being there, with us, fills me with a mix of huge happiness – but also huge sadness. Not because of all the time he spent away, not being there when we were growing up. But because, when I was older, when I could spend more time with him and really appreciate who he was, he became the most supportive and most wonderful father – and my dearest friend.

A huge thank you Susan for such a wonderful and moving article.

We’ve Come To Take You Home Excerpt

The accident and emergency waiting room was full, every seat taken, with bonfire night casualties.
‘Your address?’
‘7 Seaview Road.’
‘Your friend’s name?’
‘Friend?’
‘The girl you came in with? In the ambulance?’
‘Amy Roberts.’
‘Address?’
‘Tudor Close.’
‘Number?’
A tall figure, dressed in pilot’s uniform, gold braid on his sleeves, cap perched at just the right angle on top of his head, was striding towards the entrance doors of the accident and emergency department.
‘I’m sorry…’
The automatic doors slid open.
‘The house number? In Tudor Close?’
‘Twenty-four, I think. I’m not sure…’
The figure disappeared outside.
‘No problem. We can check. If you’d like to take a seat I’ll get…’
She couldn’t wait. She’d done all she could. There was a police car sitting outside the girl’s house. When her parents arrived home they would be driven straight to the hospital.
She pushed her way past a family, a little boy his head buried in his father’s shoulder, his right hand tightly bound in a wet towel, the mother sobbing into her phone. Behind were two girls, the same age as herself, supporting a third, the side of her face streaked a livid red. The doors slid open. And there he was. Head held high, arms and legs pumping, on his way to somewhere else.
‘Dad…’
An ambulance, blue lights flashing, sirens blaring, turned off the main road. It accelerated up the ramp directly towards her father.
‘Dad, look out.’
There was no slamming of brakes. No thump of hard metal crunching into soft flesh. The ambulance continued up the ramp. It screeched to a stop outside the accident and emergency department. The driver got out, walked round to the back and threw open first one door, and then the other. An elderly couple looked Sam up and down, shook their heads, muttered something to each other, and continued walking down the ramp towards the main road.
She stood there, trembling, staring at the spot where her father had just been. There had been no slam of brakes, no thump of metal, no screaming or calling out for a doctor, because there had been nothing to scream or call out about. Instead of shattered bone and blood and guts there was empty space. Her father had vanished – if he had ever been there at all.
She ran back into the accident and emergency department, through the waiting area, and down the corridor to the lift. She punched the button. She stepped inside. The doors closed, the doors opened, people got in, people got out; sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and, at last, the tenth floor.
‘Stand clear… oxygen away…VF… shock.’
A trolley, laden with equipment, stood at the end of her father’s bed. She recognised it.
‘Asystole. Flat line.’
It was the same trolley the doctors had used to shoot electricity through the old man’s body. The old man with the grey face thick with stubble, locked away in his coma, who had suddenly sat upright, straight backed in his bed, his arms outstretched, his eyes staring, his mouth opening and closing as if he was trying to say something. That bed was now empty.
‘There’s no heartbeat. It’s been too long.’
A nurse started to remove an intravenous tube from her father’s right arm. A second nurse started to remove an intravenous tube from his left arm. A third nurse unplugged a monitor.
Her father was being tidied up, packed away, like he was nothing more than a head, and a chest, with two arms and two legs which had never felt pain, had never felt anger – had never known love.
She pushed past the trolley, with its plugs and its wires, its paddles and its cables, which had produced the electric shocks that had shot through her father’s body, sending him convulsing off the bed. None of which had worked.
‘Dad, it’s me, Sam.’
She grabbed hold of his hand.
‘Please come back.’
Someone was trying to pull her away from the bed.
‘Sam, come with me now. Your dad can’t hear you…’
It was Mac. Standing next to him was Dr. Brownlow.
‘We did everything we could.’
And now Mac was putting his hand on her hand, and he was uncurling it, finger by finger, out of her father’s. She kicked out, hitting him hard on the shin. He jumped back. She held on to her father’s hand even tighter.
‘We love you…’
Her whole body was screaming.
‘Please come back…’
She had to make him hear.
‘We love you, we love you. Please come back.’
‘Sam, stop now, Dad can’t hear you…’
She had a special gift. That’s what the old lady in the church had said. She could see and hear things other people couldn’t see or hear, go to places other people couldn’t reach. So where would her father be now? Where would he go, inside his head, if he was in a coma?
She closed her eyes. Sometimes her father would be away for just a couple of days, sometimes a full week, often even longer, but, wherever he was, even if it was on the other side of the world, they had always been able to talk to each other. She had always been able to reach him.

You can purchase a copy of We’ve Come To Take You Home HERE.

Read my review HERE and Susan’s Author Influences HERE.

Blog Tour – My Mourning Year by Andrew Marshall *Excerpt*

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Andrew Marshall’s My Mourning Year: A Memoir of Bereavement, Discovery and Hope and am able to share with you an excerpt from this very special book.  But first here is what the book is about –

The Blurb

In 1997 Andrew Marshall’s partner, and the only person to whom he had ever truly opened his heart, died after a gruelling and debilitating illness. Unmoored from his old life, and feeling let down by his family, Marshall struggled not only to make sense of his loss but to even imagine what a future without Thom might look like. In his diary, he wrote about what set him back – like a rebound relationship – some weird and wonderful encounters with psychics and gurus and how his job as a journalist gave him the chance to talk about death with a range of famous people, a forensic anthologist and a holocaust survivor. Slowly but surely with the help of friends, a badly behaved dog and a renewed relationship with his parents, he began to piece his life back together. Although his diary was never meant for publication, Marshall did share it with friends and colleagues dealing with bereavement, who found it immensely helpful, so to mark the twentieth anniversary of Thom’s death, he has decided to open it for everybody to read. My Mourning Year is a frank and unflinching account of one man’s life for a year after the death of his lover. In turn heartbreaking, frustrating and even sweetly funny, this is no step-by-step guide to dealing with bereavement but a shoulder to lean on when facing the unknowns of death and a resource for those left behind.

And now for the excerpt…

Thursday 16 October – Germany

Strange unidentifiable feelings ran through my stomach as I checked in at Gatwick airport. I was shattered, both physically and emotionally. I might need a holiday but for some reason that I cannot explain, I’ve chosen to return to Germany and confront the past. The couple ahead of me in the queue were speaking German. There was something very reassuring about the familiarity of Thom’s mother tongue. I’d forgotten what a central part of my life Germany has been. For five and a half years, I flew there at least once a month to visit Thom. Even after he moved to England, we would return together several times a year. It was only in the last few months that it became tied up with sickness, disease and death. So I’m returning for the right reasons, aren’t I?

The bustling terminal was not the place for self-examination. It was only after I sat on the plane and looked out of the window, that I came face to face with my true feelings. As usual, I’d bought a copy of Vanity Fair to read during the journey. It was just another flight to Germany. Except my other purchase was a packet of tissues. It has been months since I had always carried an emergency supply.

Waiting for my baggage at Dortmund airport, I found myself looking for Thom the other side of the barrier. How many times had he collected me from that airport? How many times had I left customs and thrown myself into his arms?

I dug deep for some consolation. At least this time I would not be hiring a car and driving to that hospital – the heart of my hell. Instead, I took a taxi to my friend Martin’s flat (where I had stayed during Thom’s final weeks).

Dortmund was full of nostalgia but it was a gentle pain and the tears I’d expected were sweet rather than bitter. I was amazed at how easily I fell back into sync with Thom’s friends. It was wonderful to talk about him and hear them recount their favourite stories. Back in England, it always seemed to be me who brought up his name. Even if I couldn’t have Thom, I could spend time with his friends and walk the streets that he walked.

You don’t stop loving someone just because they’re dead. In fact, the love grows greater, as it’s easier to forget their faults.

My Mourning Year is published by RedDoor Publishing and is available on eBook now and paperback on 20 April 2017. You can purchase a copy HERE.

About the Author

Andrew has been a marital therapist for almost thirty years. He trained with RELATE the UK’s leading couple counselling charity. He now has a private practice in London and Sussex (England), gives workshops on relationship and inspirational talks. His books have been translated into twenty languages (including French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Italian). He also writes for UK newspapers Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday. These articles are collected on his Facebook page. As well as being a writer, Andrew is a keen reader and is always looking for suggestions of great books to read (either about relationships or novels).

A huge thank you to Anna at RedDoor Publishing for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and share with you this extract. Be sure to catch the other bloggers on the rest of the blog tour.