The city of iRemember shimmers in the desert haze, watched over by the Bureau, a government agency that maintains control through memory surveillance and little pink pills made from the narcotic plant Tranquelle.
It looks like an oasis under its geodesic dome, but the city is under siege. ‘Off-Gridder’ insurgents are fighting to be forgotten.
Bureau Inspector Icara Swansong is on a mission to neutralise the threat. Her investigation leads her into iRemember’s secret underbelly, where she finds herself a fugitive from the very system she had vowed to protect. She has to learn new rules: trust no one. Behind every purple Tranquelle stalk lurk double-agents.
A sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist, iRemember explores the power the past holds over us and the fragility of everything: what is, what once was, and what will be.
SV Bekvakac and Lightning Books have shared an extract today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Government Inspector Icara Swansong, Bureau Rank 4, has been sent into Desert Ring 2 to collect evidence on a suspected insurgent (Off-Gridder) ring-leader, Lucian Ffogg. She has only just arrived. And already things aren’t adding up. Here she is, trying to connect to the mnemonic surveillance network iRemember to help with her investigation. It’s a network of absolute surveillance. Yet she can’t get through. Which shouldn’t be possible. As she tries and fails to get a connection, we learn more about Icara’s mission and the Bureau’s internal power struggles, as well as discovering what it is that Icara wants. Really wants. More than anything. And it has nothing to do with her mission in the Desert…
…iRemember remembered everything. There couldn’t be nothing on file. Every time she tried to access an engram – the endless spiralling circle. She was getting tired of waiting. She didn’t feel safe out here. Noises were making her feel quite jumpy. She expected an Off-Gridder ambush at any moment. She felt for the tube of Liquid Scream and her service weapon in its holster.
Lucian’s psych-evaluation had not been flagged red by iRemember. If it had, the situation would have been much easier to deal with. She would have landed in the Lot, and, enacting Bureau Code Points 79-100 (Serving Employees whose Mental Processes Make Them Unsuitable for Service) she would have stuck an enormous hypodermic syringe deep into Lucian Ffogg’s neck. The Code outlined exactly what she would do with him then. None of it involved pretending to inspect the guttering or looking at rooms full of ancient computers.
The Lot had been flagged as part of a large interior operation. Nicknamed Project Eraser by the Board, it was an attempt to identify and erase any suspected corruption in the Bureau. It was a pet project of the Temple and was being spearheaded by the Bishop.
Only Inspectors with the highest academy scores and with unimpeachable records of comportment were selected to join Project Eraser. Icara had been among them.
She believed in iRemember. She loved the Bureau, that old concrete block, with a glass dome on top in the shape of a pre-frontal cortex. And as soon as she stepped into the Bureau building, she had known exactly what she wanted. She wanted to be architecturally elevated. Up on the top floors, with the decision makers. And eventually, she wanted to hit the ceiling. By which she meant she wanted to be at the very top. Sitting in Frome’s big green Chesterfield.
Icara was proud to be involved in Project Eraser. Partly because she thought it would get her closer to the top. But also because she really believed in iRemember. She believed that it was possible to make the City a better place. She believed in the rule of law and the importance of working for the greater good. The Bureau had always been beset by corruption. But in the ten years since Icara’s graduation from the Academy, there were increasing whispers that the Bureau was actively covering up criminal activity. Still only whispers. For the moment.
Icara was convinced that the Bureau was ultimately a good place. So it was a little dirty. That could be cleaned up. There was no place in the State for people like Lucian Ffogg. People who did not respect the rule of law. People who put the stability of the City in danger. People who fraternised with insurgents.
With Helena Frome leading it, the Bureau could never really be corruption free.by
Here’s a little about the novel…
Amy Piper is a loser. She’s lost her confidence, her mojo and her way.
But one thing she has never lost is her total love for her thirteen-year-old son Joey, and for his sake she knows it’s time for a change. But first she has to be brave enough to leave the house…
What she needs are friends and an adventure. And when she joins a running group of women who call themselves The Larks, she finds both. Not to mention their inspiring (and rather handsome) coach, Nathan.
Once upon a time Amy was a winner – at life, at sport and in love. Now, with every ounce of strength she has left, she is determined to reclaim the life she had, for herself and for Joey. And who knows, she might just be a winner again – at life, sport, and love, if she looks in the right places…
Beth and Boldwood Books have shared an extract from How Not To Be A Loser today. Cup of tea or coffee? Check. Biscuit? Check. Comfortable chair? Check. Right, all set. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Stop Being a Loser Plan
It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t get woken up by my phone alarm blaring, spring out of bed and decide today was the day. I didn’t open up Facebook and one of those irritating quotes – embrace the rain if you want to dance under the rainbow – actually inspired someone for the first time ever to change something. After cajoling my son, Joey, out of bed, I didn’t gaze at his beautiful face as he poured a second giant bowl of cereal, raving about the school football match coming up, and in a surge of love and regret suddenly experience the pivotal moment in a decade of non-moments.
In fact, apart from the invitation that arrived in the morning post, most of the day went precisely as expected. Which was, in summary, exactly the same as pretty much every other weekday. I waved Joey off to school, reminding him to hand in the form about the meeting that evening and cleared away the breakfast dishes. I worked at my desk in the kitchen, breaking the monotony of writing about corporate social responsibility policies by swanning off to eat lunch in the living room, because that’s the type of wild and crazy woman I am.
I rescued Joey’s football kit from festering on his bedroom floor and stuck it in the wash, because despite telling myself on a daily basis that it’s time he learnt the hard way, circumstances dictate that I also live with an extra-large pile of parental guilt, so I make life easier for him where I can.by
Jo has shared an extract with us but first, here’s a little about the book.
Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.
Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.
All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.
If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.
This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.
Grab that hot drink, biscuit, chair and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
This excerpt features a conversation with my main character, Tom and his best friend, Harry, a doctor. Tom has recently lost his job and is too afraid to tell his wife as she’s desperate to start expensive fertility treatment. They talk about Harry’s new job but then Harry encourages his friend to tell his much younger wife about his predicament. Adam, is his brother-in-law, the other main character.
Harry and I can spend long periods without saying much. Eventually he describes his new job. ‘It’s exciting, Tom. I will actually get to know my patients and the staff.’
‘Explain what’s wrong with them?’
‘A care home?’
‘Not at all; they will be under sixty-five, most younger. The brain injuries are often blokes in their twenties. They will be stable, so not dependent on nursing care, and stay Monday to Friday. I will get weekends off and more evenings.’
‘I haven’t heard you talk about work like this for a while, all fired up with medical-student passion.’
‘I know. I was getting more and more disillusioned, which I didn’t like. This will give me more control and I have the freedom to work as I see fit. I intend to stay for years so no more moving from pillar to post.’by
Here’s a little about the book.
Mallory Johansen has nearly given up on thinking she’ll get her act together – the one where she plays the part of an adult – by the time she hits thirty. As it is she’s desperate and depressed. Her only friend is leaving town, she’s paired to work with a man who can’t stand her, and she finds herself homeless. Definitely hasn’t mastered being a grown-up yet.
Otis Bell wants nothing more than to play his guitar, book acoustic bands to perform at his upcoming music venue, and be in charge of his own life. Instead, he’s working full time in his family’s auto shop. He only owns half the supposed music venue, which stands as an abandoned church and needs more than a little work. When his best friend moves away, he’s paired with an aloof girl he’s never liked as partner, and stretches himself thin working too many hours.
The Chapel is the little music venue that could. Full of potential. Full of ugly carpet, peeling paint, and exhausting work. Mallie and Otis navigate their way through a fledgling partnership, trying their darnedest to get the place up and running, while trying pretty hard not to fall in love in the process.
Jess B. Moore has shared an extract with us today so grab the drink of your choice, that chair and enjoy.
(Warning – strong language.)
***** beginning of extract*****
This scene from The Chapel is taken from the first chapter, introducing Mallie, her cousin Tyler, and setting up the story which will unfold. The book starts with Tyler dropping a bomb on Mallie and throwing her life into a tailspin!
The thing about being in your late twenties is that you’re supposed to have it all figured out. The career, the house, the long term relationship, the life plans sprawling out before you. You’re expected to have your shit together.
I don’t have a career. Not really. I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my life. I take photos and I’m good at it, but I don’t enjoy wedding photography or infant photography or running wild toddler photography. I haven’t found a way to make money doing nature or still life or anything else with my camera. I help at my Aunt Violet’s vintage shop that barely brings in enough revenue to keep me on the payroll.
No house. Not one that’s mine. Not one I want to live in for any length of time. The place I rent is small, smells bad, and the landlord is suspect. The neighbors are loud and disrespectful of my desire to sleep during the nighttime hours.
I have never had a long term relationship. I can’t imagine one will crop up before I hit my thirties. The guys I’ve dated have been few and far between and never serious.
My life plans are vague at best. Dismal and depressing at worst.by
Minnie Price married late in life. Now she is widowed. And starving.
No one suspects this respectable church-goer can barely keep body and soul together. Why would they, while she resides in the magnificent home she shared with Peter?
Her friends and neighbours are oblivious to her plight and her adult step-children have their own reasons to make things worse rather than better. But she is thrown a lifeline when an associate of her late husband arrives with news of an investment about which her step-children know nothing.
Can she release the funds before she finds herself homeless and destitute?
Fans of ‘The Hoarder’s Widow’ will enjoy this sequel, but it reads equally well as a standalone.
Allie has shared an extract today. Grab that cuppa, a comfortable chair, a biscuit and enjoy. First, Allie gives us a little introduction.
Allie: Writing a novel about bereavement brought all kinds of issues into the limelight. Apart from exploring the emotional corollaries – what does grief feel like, how and when does it strike? – death brings practical consequences that had to be studied. How does being, suddenly, alone feel and what differences does it entail in day-to-day life? There must be a hundred small divergences that impact everything from the ironing pile to the shopping list, the signing of birthday cards, holiday choices, TV viewing.
Then there are the landmark occasions, previously shared, but that now must be faced alone.
Here, a group of single women discuss their plans for Christmas
***** beginning of extract*****
‘What are you all doing for Christmas?’ Gloria asked, helping herself to the last sausage roll.
‘We always do a Christmas lunch at church,’ Gwen said, gathering the dirty plates and tea cups back onto the tray, ‘for those who find themselves alone. Last year there were twenty or so of us – we barely had enough turkey. The helpers get there early to start the prep, and then there’s the meal and the clearing up afterwards. It was gone four by the time I got home, so the whole day had gone by pretty well.’
Minnie felt the familiar swell of sadness press her throat and behind the eyes. She had not thought about Christmas. Last year she and Peter had spent it at a hotel in the country. Lots of log fires and mulled wine. Artfully decorated trees in every room. A local choir singing carols on Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas day, a big breakfast followed by a brisk walk. An exquisite lunch at a table for two. The chef had dressed up as Santa – she had glimpsed the chequerboard pattern of his kitchen trousers beneath the furred hem of his cloak. Peter had given her a gold watch set with diamonds round the face. Her hand pushed back her cardigan cuff to reveal it. She had not sold it although she was sure it was worth several hundred pounds. She could not believe that this year she would be reduced to lunch in the draughty church hall with the rest of the lonely old souls who were not wanted elsewhere. The very thought of it made her eyes well. In and of itself it was so pitiful, but in comparison to last Christmas it was tragic. Dolly [her dog], always so sensitive to Minnie’s emotional compass, made a whimpering sound. Thankfully Gloria had followed Gwen out of the room to help with the dishes so Minnie was able to wipe her eyes and pull herself together before the others reassembled.by
About the novel…
Three isn’t always a magic number …
There are three reasons Tess Fenton should be happy. One, her job at the Blue Olive deli may be dull, but at least she gets to work with her best friend. Two, she lives in a cosy cottage in the pretty village of Halston. Three, she’s in love with her boyfriend, Blake.
Because, despite their history, Blake continues to be the puzzle piece in Tess’s life that doesn’t quite fit. And when she meets intriguing local artist Daniel Cavanagh, it soon becomes apparent that, for Tess, love isn’t as easy as one, two, three …
Angela has shared an extract today. Grab that cup of coffee, tea or a glass of wine (go on, it’s Sunday,) and enjoy.
***** beginning of novel******
Introduction: My hero, Daniel, has a twin sister. Although Denise is a secondary character, I share a particularly difficult time of her life with my readers. A bizarre happening involving a parrot plays its part in this storyline, but as unbelievable as it appears, it was taken from reality – it happened in my life.
It had taken a shockingly short time since returning from their idyllic day out on Hampstead Heath, for Denise’s happy, organised life, to turn upside down. After the boys had been bathed and their knees had been scrubbed clean of grass stains, she’d taken a long hot shower. She sang beneath the deluge of water as the rose-scented bubbles decorated her skin. Her mind had been full of their day out, her family, the bottle of wine she would shortly share with Simon and the bar of Galaxy chocolate secreted away from her sons.by
Here’s a little about the book…
Her husband says it’s suicide. The police say it’s murder.
Liam Buckley was a married man with two teenage children when he moved out of the family home to start a new life with his lover. His wife Jennifer never forgave him, but now she needs him to come back: she’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the kids can’t cope alone.
One day after Liam moves home, Jennifer is found dead. Liam thinks it’s suicide. But the police, led by DS Louise Kennedy, are convinced it’s murder.
Liam hires a retired detective to help prove his innocence, but it’s no easy task. The children are distraught, and Jennifer’s best friend, Sarah, is waging a campaign against Liam, determined to expose him for a liar and a cheat.
As secrets surface from the complex web of Buckley family life, DS Kennedy must decide. Did Jennifer Buckley end her own life, or did Liam take it from her? The answer, when it comes, will shock them all…
Adele and Aria have shared an extract today. Grab a cup of tea, a comfy chair and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
When I think of my ex-wife Jenny, it’s her smile I see, the roguish way she used to lift the corners of her mouth just enough to suggest that underneath the warmth and kindness, she’s a bundle of fun. Abbie, our fifteen-year-old daughter, is just like her, or I should say, just like how Jenny used to be, before everything changed.
She has the same luscious auburn hair that falls in waves down her slender back, the same porcelain skin that sizzles at the slightest hint of sunshine and the same affinity for random knowledge and clever facts. She puts her older brother and me to shame whenever The Chase or some other quiz programme is on, although I suspect that Josh lets her win sometimes. A shiver runs down my spine now, when I picture the four of us then, how we used to be. Nothing in any of our lives worked out exactly the way we wanted it to.
‘Sorry, Louise, it’s just a little…’ I don’t how to finish the sentence and fill my cheeks with exasperated air. ‘Overwhelming,’ I manage. ‘Hard to get my head around, you know?’ I look at her expectantly, hoping for a modicum of sympathy.by
Here’s a little about the book…
A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.
Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and, indeed, his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.
Jan has not. In his long search he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.
His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…
But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?
Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heart-warming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).
For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.
Without further ado, here’s the extract. I hope you enjoy. Over to you, Tim.
Thank you so much Laura, for letting me share an extract from We Are Animals with everyone at Novel Kicks! In this extract, the protagonist’s parents do not know that their son has stowed away on a stranger’s boat, dreaming of lands afar. I’ve chosen this extract as an example of one of the smaller love stories that pop up along the plot of We Are Animals.
I hope you enjoy it…
*****beginning of extract*****
Jan’s mother, still completely unaware of Jan’s lack of presence in Fishton, and of his unauthorised presence on England man’s boat, was washing the family’s clothes.
Now, there are three types of clothes washers. There are those who don’t use detergent and don’t sort their socks (the slackers), there are those who do use detergent but don’t sort their socks (the half-a-jobbers), and there are those who do use detergent and do sort their socks (the jobs-worths). Jan’s Mother was of category number three, religiously. It was when she was sorting Jan’s socks that she realised something must be wrong. There were seventeen in total, twelve of which she could match. She sat on her kitchen floor with the other five surrounding her. She’d had the odd odd sock before, and could handle that, but five? Something wasn’t right. ‘What a waste of detergent,’ she thought. Then she worried about the five missing socks. She hadn’t seen them when she’d been cleaning, and she prided herself on her housekeeping. Where were those socks?
Incidentally, you will notice that there are only three types of clothes washers – not four. No one has ever not used detergent but then sorted their socks. These people simply do not exist.
When Jan’s father returned home from the fish shop with their tea he found Jan’s mother sitting on the kitchen floor repeatedly tying the odd socks together and then untying them again.by
When former Olympic Swimmer, Michael Adams—now Canada’s hottest reality TV star— insults his fake showbiz wife on social media, he escapes the ensuing scandal and jumps on the first flight to Australia. Desperate to experience ordinary life again—if only for a few weeks—he becomes “Adam”, just another tourist traveling through the Outback. But with a reward out for his safe return and his fame’s nasty habit of catching up with him when he least expects, he needs a better disguise… and he’s just found it.
Sweet and scruffy British backpacker, Evie Blake, is taking a year out of her busy London life. Tired of lies and liars, she’s looking for adventure to heal her broken heart. So when the hot Canadian she meets at the campground offers to be her travel partner through Western Australia’s wild Kimberley region, she grabs the chance, unaware he’s got the world out looking for him.
He’s just a down-on-his-luck traveler, right?
If you want my opinion, it sounds amazing.
OK, so do you have a cup of tea… biscuits… a comfy chair? Excellent. Keep reading and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Extract intro: When Adam first meets Evie
“Adam” is a Canadian celebrity-sportsman on the run from scandal, pretending to be an ordinary tourist on the Australian backpacker trail. Evie is a British backpacker working as a cleaner at the campground she’s been staying at. Adam has just arrived at the campground, very hot and very dirty after a few days on the road…
He grabbed his gel and towel, and stepped out of the truck. Man, this heat was intense. The air thick and heavy like soup. He wiped the towel over his sweat-slicked face, desperate for cold water on his skin. But when he reached the shower block, a sign stood in his way.
No frickin’ way.
“Hello?” he called, but when no reply came back, he stepped inside, thinking what the hell? He stripped and stood under the shower, turning the dial full blast toward the blue arrow. He’d be thirty seconds, sixty tops—just long enough to feel something cold on his skin and wash away the three-day grime. By the time the cleaning guy returned, he’d be cooled off, semi-dressed and out.
Only the water wasn’t cold and the cleaning guy not a guy at all.
Adam wiped soapy water from his eyes and focused on the figure standing before him. The cleaning guy was a young woman with huge brown eyes and sun-streaked hair scraped back into a tight knot on the top of her head, just like his favorite aunt Florence used to wear. Except Aunt Flo’s hair was gray and looked like wire, and she’d never before stood outside his shower gawping at his naked penis—unlike this bug-eyed stranger.
“The showers are closed,” the woman said to his bare butt as he whipped around. Her accent was flat and clipped—British—like royalty, though looking over his shoulder he saw nothing regal about her. She was dressed in dark green shorts and a dirty light-blue vest, damp with patches of sweat or water, or both. White earphones dangled around her neck. He turned off the shower.
“Didn’t you notice the bright yellow sign? The cleaning bucket? The distinct lack of shower curtain?”
Well, he’d ignored the sign and bucket, obviously, and throughout his career, he’d been in plenty of changing rooms at top sporting venues around the world all boasting a distinct lack of shower curtain. Okay, they were all a lot nicer than this dump, but he’d never been in a place like this before so how would he know?
“If you’d be so kind as to pass me my towel, I’ll get out of your way.”
She handed it to him, finally lifting her gaze to his face. Her eyes narrowed. He narrowed his own back, already picturing the headlines.by
Set in the rolling countryside of Devon, ‘In Too Deep’ is the emotional story of a woman’s determination to win the trust of the man she’s adored since they were thrown together as children, by forcing him to confront the darkness of his long-lost past.
One little lie. A guilty secret. And the man she mustn’t love…
It’s been six years since Isy Forrester left home. In that time, she’s strived to forge a new life for herself in London, away from Jack Mancini, her father’s adopted son, and his devastating betrayal of everything she thought they had.
Only now her father’s in hospital, and the house that’s been in her family for generations is at risk. Forced to return to Devon, she finds Jack as infuriating and stubborn as ever, and just as irresistible. Soon she realises the bright lights of London can’t hold a candle to him.
But Jack has a past, one which he refuses to share with her. And until he can trust her with these deepest secrets, how can she risk her heart? How can she even begin to help him, when he won’t tell her what happened all those years ago – before her father brought him home to Hambledon Hall?
Elly has shared an extract from In Too Deep today. Enjoy!
***** beginning of extract*****
Jack is waiting for Isy to return from a brief stay in London to Hambledon Hall
‘You’re quiet tonight, my lad,’ Frank said, as Jack stared down at the iPhone in his hand. ‘And checking that constantly isn’t going to bring her back any sooner.’
Jack knew that. Of course, he knew that and part of him wished the damned thing hadn’t been invented. Only he was waiting for a text that hadn’t come. A WhatsApp message to tell him she’d left and was on her way home.
‘It’s almost seven o’clock,’ Frank said, checking his watch. ‘Why don’t you try to phone her and tell her to wait until tomorrow? Then you can go out with your mates, and I won’t have to worry about her driving back in the dark?’
‘I tried,’ he said, trying to shrug it off, as though it was of no consequence. ‘She didn’t pick up.’
‘You’ve got to stop doing this, you know,’ Frank said, leaning towards him. ‘You’ve got to let her go. You did it before. You can do it again.’
Jack wasn’t so sure. She’d been gone two days now and it seemed like forever. ‘I should have told her everything before she left for London the first time. We should have told her everything when you took me in.’
‘She was too young. She wouldn’t have understood.’by
Kate used to be good at recognising people. So good, she worked for the police, identifying criminals in crowds of thousands. But six months ago, a devastating car accident led to a brain injury. Now the woman who never forgot a face can barely recognise herself in the mirror.
At least she has Rob. Young, rich, handsome and successful, Rob runs a tech company on the idyllic Cornish coast. Kate met him just after her accident, and he nursed her back to health. When she’s with him, in his luxury modernist house, the nightmares of the accident fade, and she feels safe and loved.
Until, one day, she looks at Rob anew. And knows, with absolute certainty, that the man before her has been replaced by an impostor.
Is Rob who he says he is? Or is it all in Kate’s damaged mind?
J.S. Monroe and Head of Zeus have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
Kate glances across at Rob’s smooth, sleeping body and slips quietly out of bed, wrapping a cotton dressing gown around her as she steps out onto the terrace. It’s a warm August evening and no one can see her here. The isolated house, all glass and oak and concrete, is cut deep into the Cornish hillside and faces out to sea, which is empty tonight, apart from the winking lights of tankers moored in the distance off Falmouth.
‘You OK?’ Rob calls out.
She swings around. It’s too dark in the bedroom to see him properly.
‘I couldn’t sleep,’ she says, turning back towards the bay, where a ribbon of moonlight has been laid across the water.
A moment later, his arms are wrapped around her from behind. ‘Come back to bed,’ he whispers in her ear.
She can feel him against her, a familiar swelling. She rests her hand on his smooth forearm and thinks again about the necklace he gave her earlier, his insensitive response to her squeal of pain. It still niggles.
‘Thank you for the present,’ she says. He must have just been tired. Hardly surprising after a long week at work and then the flight down.
‘Not too tight?’ he asks.
Back inside the bedroom, they snuggle up in the darkness. In all other respects, he’s played it well this evening. He ran her a bath with Moroccan rose oil and brought in two glasses of chilled champagne. Her exhaustion of earlier slipped away. Afterwards, he was the one who fell asleep almost instantly, like a laptop closing.
‘Talk to me,’ she says now, quietly. ‘Tell me about your week.’
She still doesn’t understand exactly what Rob does in London. One of the articles she read about his meteoric career described him as a serial ‘techpreneur’, the youngest ever founder of a British ‘unicorn’ company and a pioneering champion of something called ‘direct neural interface’ technology – the interaction between brain and machine. She likes the sound of unicorns. The ‘disruptive’ tag is less appealing. He also runs a charity on the side that puts on art shows in hospitals, which is how they met.by
Here’s a little about the book:
Romance blossoms under the stars in this feel good love story for fans of Milly Johnson and Heidi Swain.
Lily Harper is an events organiser, but her neat, ordered world has just exploded. First she lost her job, then she lost her fiancé. Her five-year plan is looking increasingly shaky.
Lost and lonely, Lily heads home to her childhood village, and accepts the position of live-in housekeeper at the grand but welcoming Willow Tree Hall. It’s not exactly her dream job – Lily is more used to arranging parties than pantries – but at least she’s working.
Her first task is to arrange the Willow Tree Hall summer fete. Lily is in her element, writing to-do lists and organising bunting and baking – until her old flame Jack Carter turns up in the village. Lily hasn’t seen Jack in over ten years, when he sped off on his motorbike, taking with him the pieces of her broken heart.
Lily vowed she would never forgive him. But as Willow Tree Hall weaves its magic, Lily finds she might just give Jack a second chance after all…
Full of warmth, tears, love and laughter, this is a gripping romance for fans of Heidi Swain and Philippa Ashley.
Alison and Aria have shared an extract today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Lily looked around the room again for Mark but couldn’t see him. Perhaps he was in the gents’, trying out his speech. She wondered what he would say. Would he go down on one knee, even in the middle of the dancefloor? She secretly hoped so. That was how she had always wanted it to be done. And now the time was finally near.
A small frown creased her forehead. In fact, the time was actually a little overdue according to her life plan. She had wanted to get engaged on her birthday, but Mark had given her a lovely necklace instead of a ring. He knew about her plans to be engaged by the time she was thirty, so he only had until her next birthday to propose.
But she could forgive him for the short delay, as it was such a glorious setting that summer evening and would make an amazing story to tell their children. Perhaps they would come back to the Natural History Museum when the kids were old enough to understand.
‘And that’s where Daddy proposed to Mummy. Right by that dinosaur.’
Lily smiled expectantly at her reflection in the hallway mirror. She tucked a stray lock of red hair behind her ear, but her ponytail and simple makeup had remained in place. Her green eyes were framed with just a lick of dark mascara, her lips painted with a natural matte colour. Nice and neat. Nothing too outlandish.by
The grieving widow. The other woman. Which one is which?
When Cameron Swift is shot and killed outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer. Her role is to support the family – and investigate them.
Monika, Cameron’s partner and mother of two sons, had to be prised off his lifeless body after she discovered him. She has no idea why anyone would target Cameron.
Beth can understand Monika’s confusion. To everyone in their affluent community, Monika and her family seemed just like any other. But then Beth gets a call.
Sara is on holiday with her daughters when she sees the news. She calls the police in the UK, outraged that no one has contacted her to let her know or offer support. After all, she and Cameron had been together for the last seven years…
Until Cameron died, Monika and Sara had no idea each other existed.
As the case unfolds, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets. Especially the dead…
Previously published as After He’s Gone.
To celebrate the book’s release, Jane and Aria have shared an extract. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Residents of Collingtree Park were just taking their waking breaths when the roar of a motorbike broke their Sunday morning reverie.
At high speed, the rider took the bends effortlessly, radiating a cool calmness in dark leathers. He passed houses with curtains drawn tightly, manicured lawns, driveways adorned with estate cars and people-carriers screaming out for their weekend wash.
Exhaust fumes dispersed into an air thick from a sun already flexing its muscles, reigning supreme in the clear blue sky. Summer was in full swing, the recent heatwave showing no signs of abating. In a few hours, paddling pools would be refilled in back gardens, the sound of children’s shrieks and laughter filling the area.
At precisely 7.05 a.m., Cameron Swift emerged from number sixteen Meadowbrook Close, pulling the door to a gentle close behind him.
The bike dropped a gear, rounded the lip of the close, and pulled up the incline.by
They say you should never go back, but glamorous Ronnie Percy did just that, to the home she ran away from with her lover.
But not everyone is finding it easy to forgive and forget.
Daughter Pax, fighting for custody of her small son as her own marriage disintegrates, is furious to have to spend New Year’s Eve waiting for some stranger her mother has invited to help run the family stud farm.
Even more annoyed is the staunchly loyal stud head groom, Lester. Does Ronnie think he’s lost his touch with the horses? And anyway, who is this so-called Horsemaker, Luca O’Brien? Why does he seem to be running away from something? And what is the true story of his relationship with grey stallion Beck, once destined for the Olympics, now broken and unrideable, screaming his anger from the Compton Magna stables.
Passionate, sexy, gripping, laced with her trademark wisdom and humour, this is bestselling Fiona Walker at her dazzling best.
To celebrate the release of Country Lovers, Fiona has shared an extract today. I hope you love it as much as I did.
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Convinced the stud’s revival would bring her family closer together, Ronnie refused to be daunted by the hard work needed to make it profitable by the trustees’ deadline. She just had to attract owners, generate stud fees and sell horses fast. Horse-trading was in her blood.
In the room behind her, Ronnie’s two small dogs were rooting round the skirting boards on the hunt for mice, sneezing at the dust. Tough, low-slung black and tans – mother and daughter Lancashire Heelers – their tails gyrated at fresh scent.
‘Catch ’em, girls,’ she urged. ‘Got to make this place habitable.’ She glanced round the room, part of a long-neglected staff flat. Blast the housekeeper for going AWOL just when they needed her most, a handwritten note delivered last week to say she was fed up working for nothing.
Well, she couldn’t afford to buy Pip back when she had a new work rider to pay.
Hired before she’d changed her mind about staying on, Luca O’Brien was an added expense Ronnie knew she must justify. Having poached him from a big Canadian showjumping yard, she’d vetoed both daughters’ demands to withdraw the job offer at the last-minute. No rider could make a horse look as good as Luca; added to which he wasn’t afraid to muck in and get his hands dirty, could manage a yard, and never stopped smiling. Lester had his teeth gritted too tightly in disapproval to muster much joy these days.
She watched the small, bowed figure in the distance, throwing open the gate to the winter turn-out then limping back to the broad-span barn to let out a stampede of yak-like woolly beasts, kicking and squealing as they charged into the field to shake off the straw, playfight and roll. Somewhere beneath all the matted hair and mud were some decent youngsters, she hoped. And whinnying furiously from his stallion box in the yard, trumpeting his superiority, her beautiful grey powerhouse would wow fellow breeders just as soon as she figured out how to defuse the bomb in his head.
Her phone face lit up on the windowsill, notifications pinging. ‘At last!’by
Coming home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days. So, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing never to look back.
Seeking solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.
In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.
Barbara has shared an extract today. Enjoy.
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Behind us a car’s radio blares “Born in the USA.” Curious, I turn and watch a black convertible pull into the driveway next door. The sandy-haired man in the driver’s seat sings at the top of his lungs and bangs his hands on the steering wheel. He alternates his drumming with a little air guitar. He does neither well.
Mr. Air Guitar gives off an aura of happiness and an appearance that says “I’m carefree” that annoys me. I dislike him, even if he’s a fellow Springsteen fan. He makes me think about the huge pack of trouble I’m trying to unload, the one named Jerome, the one who routinely porks his trainer. Still, nothing requires me to be friends with the neighbors.
Terri opens her door and climbs out. She waves at Mr. Air Guitar, but the man remains engrossed in his playing and fails to notice. He strums a muscled arm again to the blast of the radio, and my ears grow hot. The guy probably knows nothing about the meaning of the song he sings. The mantra “Born in the USA” isn’t a rallying cry for overzealous patriots no matter how many times they try to claim it.by