Fame, glory and… foul play!
Jessie was a shop worker dreaming of the big time, then YouTube found her. But staying in the limelight requires meticulous management: pop stars are made not born.
With awards night approaching, the pressure’s on for Tito, Jessie’s manager, to whip her into shape. Getting so close wasn’t in the contract, but then neither was him being murdered in Spain.
Alone and scared of the negative publicity, Jessie turns to Mack, her account manager at Eternal Forever, the UK’s first digital legacy management agency. But Mack’s got his own issues: the company’s fast running out of cash, his key developer’s on the turn and a blogger’s suicide looks suspicious.
With the assistance of J-Pop, Mack’s assistant and wannabe reality TV star, Jessie turns sleuth. But in a world where everybody’s watching, it’s hard to escape. Reputation is everything and some people will do anything to protect it.
Syl has shared an extract today. I have to say, this book sounds brilliant. Don’t just take my word for it though. Read on and enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
Context: Duncan, a key developer and co-founder at Eternal Forever, is getting angsty about the upcoming investor meeting. His fellow directors are putting pressure on him to sell more shares and it’s making him feel uncomfortable.
The problem was, he knew five million wasn’t going to cut it long-term, not if they really intended to go big (which he did). Tech cost, and there was a very good reason why Twitter could rake in billions and still not be profitable. Start-ups were ravenous, insatiable beasts akin to a giant black hole. Making money was a long-term goal, not an overnight shopping basket filled to the brim with cash.
Not that he’d admitted as much to Fran or Mack. It was bad enough how much he was having to give up now, without them seizing on this opportunity to rob him of even more shares. But he knew their revenue growth for the foreseeable future looked slim. They might’ve boosted user growth recently, but until people started paying more, it wouldn’t be long before they’d need more money and soon. Unless people started dying, they’d be dead.by
A runaway bride. A handsome stranger. Two pasts to put behind them.
Parker is ready to marry the man of her dreams. But he isn’t ready to marry her. It would be helpful if he didn’t choose their wedding day to tell her this. But as she flees from the travesty behind her, she literally runs into the arms of a handsome stranger. The southern drawl, the dreamy eyes, she can’t fall for another man after being left at the altar – can she?
When Liam agreed to go to go on a date he didn’t expect to leave with the bride. Nor did he expect to take her the emergency room. Immediately he’s drawn to her fiery spirit, her kind heart and beautiful smile. Liam’s got a whole host of problems and a past that keeps coming back, now can’t be the time to fall in love, but Parker might just be the one to break down his barriers and let him live a little – if she’ll let him in.
Will these two strangers allow serendipity to put them together, or will their fears keep them apart?
Aimee and Aria has shared an extract with us today. Enjoy!
*****beginning of extract*****
‘He’s a stranger to me.’ She pleads her case while the nurse adjusts her pants. ‘We just met an hour ago and I don’t even remember his name.’
I raise a single eyebrow as I look over at her.
She pinches her lips together as she rolls her eyes. ‘OK fine, I remember his name, Liam, but I don’t know him. I swearit. We weren’t having sex. I just got dumped for Christ’s sake!’
‘Let’s go to x-ray,’ the nurse says avoiding the subject entirely. Her face is blank and it would appear that she’s tucked her emotions away and they aren’t coming out even for the girl who walked in wearing a wedding dress.
When Parker comes back into the room from having her x-rays, she sits on the bed, her feet now in her incredibly high heels dangling over the side of the bed. I laugh to myself at the ridiculousness of her new outfit.
‘What?’ she asks sharply.by
I am so happy to be welcoming Laura Briggs back to Novel Kicks. Today, I am taking part in the one day blog blitz for her novel, A Stargazy Night Sky, the seventh book in her Little Hotel in Cornwall series.
Starry autumn nights are bringing a rare celestial event and exciting new guests to the shores of the sleepy hotel Penmarrow.
Maisie is happy to be back among its staff, even with the question of its future ownership still in the air and the fate of her unpublished manuscript soon to be in the hands of London acquisitions editors. More than anything else, she’s happy to finally be in a relationship with Sidney Daniels, the sparks between them no longer denied. She’s excited for the future and things couldn’t be better with regards to romance … except for those lingering little questions about Sidney’s uncertain past, that is.
Meanwhile, the staff at the Penmarrow is tasked with hosting a special celestial conference where stargazers are gathering for a glimpse of the much-anticipated comet. The ever-timid maid Molly is flustered by the return of charming astronomer George and seems to need a little advice on how to rekindle the spark they shared last autumn. Hotel porters Gomez and Riley vie for the attentions of a mysterious female guest, the eccentric ‘Megs’ Buntly pays another visit, and a dramatic revelation about someone on staff will leave Maisie and everyone else reeling from the unexpected news. Is this the moment for the revelation Maisie has been waiting for since her Cornish journey began?
Laura has shared an extract with us today so get comfortable, grab that hot drink and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Thanks so much to Laura for this opportunity to share an extract from my Cornish romance read A Stargazy Night Sky. It is the seventh book in my series about amateur novelist Maisie Clark, who stumbles into romance, secrets, and adventure while working as a chambermaid at the seaside hotel Penmarrow. The following extract finds Maisie and the rest of the staff preparing for the hotel’s next big event.
Autumn had brought the last busy wave of tourists washing into the Penmarrow’s hilltop harbor, and business continued as usual. Only Brigette, with her usual busy and somewhat bossy powers bestowed by the last chief housekeeper’s departure, had reversed course and was having her autumn leaf garlands and harvest centerpieces stripped from the dining room today.
“Do we have to take them all down?” Molly asked. “It looks so nice. Guests have complimented it.” Her brow wrinkled. A few fake berries fell from the window’s garland strand and she collected them and put them in the pocket of her maid’s apron, where today’s crossword puzzle was also concealed.by
Recovering from a brutal attack where she was savagely raped, university student Sam Smith attempts to rebuild her life and overcome the ongoing effects of her ordeal. Her ultimate goal is to bring her assailant to justice, but before she can do so her life and loves take a series of intriguing turns as she continues her sometimes unconventional education.
Eventually she is able to identify her attacker and decides to exact retribution in her own particular style, but during her preparations Sam becomes aware that her every move is being tracked by a mysterious organisation. To avoid detection by the police and also her hidden watchers, Sam Smith attempts to commit the perfect crime. However in the aftermath of her vigilante action events change rapidly to bring about a most unexpected outcome.
Miss Smith Commits the Perfect Crime? is the first book in the Sam Smith Adventure Series and can be read as a standalone.
I have an extract from Miss Smith Commits the Perfect Crime? for you today with an introduction from the author himself. So, over to you, Guy.
*****beginning of extract*****
Rather oddly for a father, I am following in my daughter’s footsteps. Having given up the day-job, I am now able to spend my life in full-time writing. My daughter, the author Jules Wake, has been doing this rather successfully for years. I may have taught her to write and read, but as she was only four at the time, sadly, I cannot claim to have influenced her writing style or prowess. Never-the-less, she is an excellent role model in that she achieves her two thousand words every single day and publishes around three books every year.
My first book, Miss Smith Commits the Perfect Crime, could be described as “a coming of age” novel, in that it chronicles a girl’s journey during her university years to womanhood. At the same time, since the police are unable the catch the serial murderer that savagely raped her, Sam Smith embarks on a quest to track the man down. Wanting to exact a unique form of retribution, she finds she has to commit the perfect crime.
I suppose one of my main literary influences would be Stig Larsson with his Millenium trilogy. The grungy anti-social heroine, Lisabeth Salander, drives a compelling story. While I greatly admire Larsson’s work, my heroine, Sam Smith, is more clean-cut and socially aware, perhaps influenced by my love of Ian Fleming’s original Bond books. Don’t get the idea that my heroine is without her quirks. I once described her as the literary love-child of Ian Fleming and Janet Ivanovich, which this extract illustrates.
Sam was about to get in the car when Nick stopped her.
‘Hold it, Sam. No way are you getting into my car covered in pig shit.’
‘What am I supposed to do? Walk home?’
‘You can get that filthy tracksuit off and those trainers for a start.’
‘I’ve only got my bra and pants on underneath.’
‘That’s fine, I promise I won’t look.’
‘That’s nice of you,’ Sam said sarcastically peeling off her stinking clothes and dumping them in the ditch, ‘but I’m bloody freezing.’
‘I’ll put the heater on. You’ll be fine.’
‘You really are all heart. At this moment in time, I wish I’d never met you.’
At four o’clock in the morning after a journey where Sam had remained stony silent, they arrived back at Nick’s flat. As they came up in the lift from the underground car park, she was still barefoot and wearing just her disgusting undies. Fortunately, at that early hour, none of the other residents was up and about, so they had not been spotted. On entering the brightly lit entrance hall, Nick couldn’t help but grin when he saw the state of her. The urchin, with her filthy face and splodges of muck plastered in her hair, would be hard to recognize as the attractive woman he had left with earlier.
Sam was not amused. ‘Take that smile off your face and don’t speak to me, you bastard. It’s not funny. You told me I could simply stroll through the fields to get to the pig. It was more like a military obstacle course, and I’ve been shot at. I thought being “up to the neck in muck and bullets” was a joke. Well, let me tell you, it bloody well isn’t. Just get me a stiff drink.’by
Arriving in London with £5, Stella rapidly begins hopping from one disastrous job, bedsit and boyfriend to another.
All the time she is trying to paint pictures and write poetry. At last she gets a place in Hampstead but various men distract her from reaching the goal of holding an exhibition. An ever-changing group of friends moves her along from place to place.
After each drawback Stela moves on, disaster after disaster, while the tally of of pictures shrinks to 36. Set in the heady days of 1960s Swinging London, this vividly charts one girl’s track through the untidy years at its height.
Pat has shared an extract today so find that comfortable spot to sit, grab that drink and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract *****
The group of Liverpool friends are excited when someone they knew back home appears as a sculptor, with an exhibition in a proper London gallery. However, he gets drunk and destroys his own show.
Gloria called round. She was excited – Fred was in town.
“He’s having an exhibition, and we’re invited to the private view. Remember him?” This was the life Stella wanted, after all, one private view after another. Harry would meet them at the gallery straight from work, it was not far from St Martin’s College of Art.
Glasses of red and white wine were being offered as if from a fountain and Fred had indulged happily and was obviously already drunk. He was glad to see them and introduced them to his girlfriend, Anna. She was at least half his age, almost as tall and blonde. She assured Stella that she was going to be an art critic, that was her plan.
A beautiful Spanish man with soulful dark eyes and his equally good-looking boyfriend decided to buy one of the sculptures.
“Soldat? It’s German for Soldier. It’s a German helmet! Thought that would be obvious!” Fred said brusquely, dismissing the questioner. However, the man moved away to a crucifixion piece and decided after a confab with his companion to buy it instead. It was a representation of Calvary made from three forks set into a block of wood. The forks’ tines had been pressed apart to form the arms of the crosses and the figures of Christ and the two thieves were made from spilt solder, splashed silver ghostly figures that appeared if the onlooker used their imagination.by
United in grief. Pushed apart by tragedy.
Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance.
Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time.
As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…
Mandy and Aria have shared an extract today so grab that drink, a comfortable chair and chocolate. You could even sneak a couple of Christmas songs and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract *****
‘Duncan, not that awful disco ball of your mother’s again! Please, I beg of you. Last year it gave Lydia Mumford some sort of aura migraine before I’d even served the Waitrose arancini,’ Lizzie Andrews said, raising her eyes and glaring at her husband who was stood precariously at the top of a stepladder. He was about to fix the large revolving silver sphere to a hook above the kitchen island where, on the hob, something containing cranberries was simmering.
Twenty-six-year-old Keeley hid her face in her mug of super-hot, extra-strong coffee and tried to stop a laugh from escaping her lips. Her parents’ conversation over her long-since-passed-away gran’s festive regalia had been treading the same path since the decorations had been left to them in the will. Her mum had always insisted it was because the old lady never liked her.
Joan loathed me. Loathed me, Duncan. Right from the get-go. Ever since the first time I came to your house with peonies for her and she shoved them in an empty tin of Heinz beans as a vase. That was when the die was cast.
But Keeley liked the decorations. None of them matched together – there were vibrant purples and emerald-greens alongside 1980s-style robots swinging on bunting and Chinese paper lanterns that probably should have caught alight long ago. At first glance, they might not seem to correlate, but somehow they worked. Her sister, Bea, had loved them too. Bea would always be fighting their dad for use of the ladder, having somehow actually worked out complicated things about balance, or the optimum angle to enable the globe to spin in a completely symmetrical way that would please Lizzie’s need for order. Bea had always plunged into things with full-on gusto but never without the knowhow to back it up.
Thoughts of her little sister made Keeley’s heart squeeze and she took another sip of the coffee before the toaster popped with the crumpet she was cooking.
Lizzie shook her brown curly hair and sniffed, nose in the air like a prized perfumier. She dropped the pinecones she was painting to the newspaper-covered work surface. ‘What’s that smell?’by
Maddie Meadows adores her family and loves her work. But she has good reason to keep them separate.
For single mum Maddie, home is a flat on a run-down estate. And family consists of an excitable toddler, a lonely Dad and a younger brother mired in a love triangle.
Meanwhile, professional Madeleine balances a tricky day job, made worse by a jealous colleague. No one at work knows about her other life, and she needs to keep it this way: one of the bosses has made his feelings very clear about single parents and the people on her estate.
Thank goodness for her fun-loving and loyal friends – although Maddie wishes they’d believe her when she insists she has no time for love. Or so she tells herself as she fights to quell her hidden feelings for her gorgeous colleague, Oliver, who comes from the posh part of town.
When her friends line up their ideal man for her – Sean, more beanstalk than Bean – Maddie wishes she’d told them the truth. It’s hard enough juggling two lives. But, with all the added complications, how long will be it be before Maddie’s carefully created world comes crashing down?
Sharley has shared an extract today so grab that coffee, comfy chair and enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
It’s the first week of Maddie Meadows’ new job working for the Neighbourhood team at a local council, where she is known as Madeleine. She’s trying to make a good impression but the best-laid plans never work out with a young child in tow. Josh, her son, has had an accident at nursery followed by a tantrum when he didn’t want to leave. So, when Madeleine leaves her laptop at work, it is with a sinking heart that she has to return to collect it.
“I thought you’d be back.” Emma swivelled around in her chair and caught sight of Josh. “Hello, little one! That’s a nasty bump.”
Josh rewarded her with a vacant stare.
“Actually, while you’re around, do you mind if I check a few things with you ahead of your meeting tomorrow?”
“If it’s not a problem with Josh being here.”
She shrugged. “He looks a lovely, quiet boy.”
“After you left, I had a phone call. It turns out the group’s chairman won’t be at the meeting. The new person who’s chairing it is one to watch. I’ve tried to shuffle my diary around so I could attend, but I can’t.”
While Emma ran through the list of queries she needed me to raise, I kept a watchful eye on Josh, who seemed subdued after his outburst.by
Five people in a sleepy English coastal town. One year that changes everything.
They seem to have it all. They’re in good health and are financially secure. They live in a pleasant and comfortable town. But as their lives intertwine, cracks emerge and restlessness grows.
For Clive, is retirement the beginning of the end? Can fun-loving Saskia break free from her adulterous husband? Will Andy marry his childhood sweetheart? Is Jamie prepared to change his dishonest ways? Might Ellie’s happy marriage be shattered by temptation?
Heart-warming and heart-breaking collide in this novel about aspirations, expectations and the realities of everyday life.
R J Gould has shared an extract today. Grab that hot drink, find the comfy chair and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
I’m fascinated by perceptions, how a person can acquire a view based on what they see or hear that is completely different to the reality. Of course, in fiction that can lead to a plot ranging from the comic to the tragic. In The bench by Cromer beach I use ironic humour to portray those misunderstandings. An old man sitting on a clifftop bench in this sleepy seaside town completely misinterprets what he sees down on the beach. At the start of the novel these are his thoughts when he spots Ellie. How wrong can he be!
A slither of sand was now visible in front of the protective bank of flint pebbles; the tide had turned. A slender woman, perhaps in her thirties, came into view on the beach, a lone visitor on this inhospitable afternoon. Her pink fleece provided a flamboyant splash of colour, like the sole surviving rose in a winter’s garden. Her trainers were the same garish colour, her trousers skin-tight, leggings I think Rosemary calls them. I expected to see dogs bounding after her, there seemed to be a lot of dogs in Cromer, but there were none.
She walked towards the sea, stopping by the water’s edge. A wave washed over her shoes. When she turned to face the cliff, I saw a face full of distress. She remained rooted to the spot, motionless but for her shoulder-length hair flying in the gathering storm.
It started to rain. I took off my glasses and wiped them dry with my handkerchief. When I looked up the woman was bent low, eyes closed, taking such deep breaths that I could see the swell of her chest.
Somehow what happened next didn’t surprise me. Having turned back to face the sea, she walked on. Her shoes under water. Her calves submerged. Up to her thighs.by
Twin sisters. One scorching summer.
A bucketful of secrets.
Diana’s life is perfect. Her twin sister, Josie’s – not so much.
Diana has a rich and successful husband, two talented youngsters and an adorable dog. She always looks as if she’s stepped from the cover of a magazine. Her immaculate second home by the sea, for idyllic summers with her perfect family, was actually featured in one.
Josie has a messy, compact flat, dates, but not relationships, and she can’t even keep a houseplant alive. She moves from job to job, goes clubbing with her friends and often looks as if she’s fallen through a hedge.
Although Josie loves Diana deeply, each year she declines the invitation to spend the summer with her sister. Or any other family holiday. Because Josie has a secret.
But is Diana’s life so perfect? Or is she also hiding something? When secrets are revealed this summer, everything will change. Josie could finally have the life she’s always wanted … if she’s brave enough to take a chance.
To celebrate the release of her new book, Emily has some exciting news to share but first, here is an extract from Summer at my Sister’s. Enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
Thank you so much for allowing me to share a little extract from my new book, Summer at my Sister’s.
This is where Josie Parnell arrives at her twin sister, Diana’s house. Liam Fulbright, who Josie has bumped into after last seeing him on his wedding day when he was nineteen, has helped her with her cases and Diana has just opened the front door of Sea View Cottage.
I wasn’t sure who was the most pleased to see me: Diana, Becca, or Henry the crazy, mixed up dog. I say ‘mixed up’ because Henry isn’t just a cross-breed. I think there must be at least four different breeds in his make-up. He’s brown and white and tan and there’s a big autumn-red shape over one of his eyes. He’s got the face and wiry brows of an Irish Wolfhound, the long fur coat of a Briard, the legs of a Great Dane and the tail of a Golden Retriever. That tail can clear a coffee table in seconds. Judging by the size of him I think there may also be a little bit of horse. He comes up to my waist when he’s got all four paws on the ground. When he’s got two of them on my shoulders, almost knocking me over, he’s about seven feet tall. You’d have thought I would have known that this is how he would greet me. He’s done it every time I’ve seen him, although thankfully, Diana doesn’t always bring him with her when we meet up.
Diana and Becca attempted to pull him off as he started to eat me. They said he was just being friendly and trying to lick my face but I wasn’t completely convinced. I tried to push him off me with both hands and he wasn’t budging an inch.
I shot a look at Liam, who seemed to find it rather amusing.
‘A little help … would … be nice,’ I said between mouthfuls of fur and trying to avoid dog drool.
‘Henry. Down boy.’ My nephew Toby wandered into the hall and with three little words, did what Diana, Becca and I couldn’t, using all our strength.
Henry launched himself off me and trotted over to his master without a backward glance while the force of his retreating paws shoved me backwards, sending me tumbling ungainly towards the floor. Luckily, Liam caught me in his arms before I landed on my arse.
‘Thanks,’ I said, scowling up at him. ‘You were no help at all.’
He was laughing but as he stood me upright, one hand cupped my right breast. I’m not sure who was more surprised but he quickly rectified the situation almost dropping me flat on my back in the process. Somehow he managed to save me – again, and this time was extra careful as he helped me straighten up.
The strange thing was, the feel of his hand on my breast sent all sorts of odd sensations darting through me and I was a bit embarrassed. But whenever I feel like that I overcompensate.
‘Blimey, Liam,’ I said, shaking my head and tutting. ‘I’ve only been back in Seahorse Harbour for an hour or two and you’re already trying it on.’
I swear I could see red beneath that tan. Was the man actually blushing?
‘I … er … sorry. It was an accident. I wouldn’t dream of … er.’
‘I was teasing you, Liam.’ I grinned at him and after giving me another very odd look, he grinned back.
***** end of extract*****
****An exciting update from Emily Harvale****
I apologise if you haven’t seen me on social media very much recently but I’ve been exceptionally busy working on lots of exciting stuff (technical term) 😂🤩 for my new book, my website … and a map for my new series of standalone stories set in the tiny village of Seahorse Harbour.
The map will ‘go live’ on July 31st, publication day for the first in the series, which is … yep, you guessed it, Summer at my sister’s. Let me explain a bit more.
Summer at my sister’s was originally a standalone, but then I had an idea for a Christmas book, so it became a two-book series, with Book 2 featuring a couple of new characters and most of the characters from Summer at my sister’s (with me so far?) ……
Then …. I had an idea for another completely separate story set in the same village (which I’m writing at the mo.) This one has new characters.
So now, each story in this series will be a standalone with new characters … but as each book is set in Seahorse Harbour, you’ll be able to ‘see’ what’s going on with the characters from the previous books, because you can’t help but bump into people in a tiny village, can you?
I have to say, I LOVE THIS SERIES!!!!😍🤩💖🥰 I’ve got so many story ideas, although I’ve only written 2 of the books so far, Summer at my sister’s and the Christmas book, which is called …..
Wait for it……(no, that’s not the title)
Christmas at Aunt Elsie’s
This Christmas book will be available for pre-order from early August. 💖🤩🥰😍
Did I mention that I love this series? And yes – I’m just a little bit over-excited. I can’t wait to share these fabulously feel-good stories with you. I hope you’re a little bit excited too. 🤩💖 xxx
About Emily Harvale…
Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.
Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at www.emilyharvale.com.
Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.
Summer at my Sister’s was released by Crescent Gate Publishing on 31st July 2020. Click to view on Amazon UK.
Ellie Murphy takes a contract teaching English at a school in Venice. There she meets the sexy, enigmatic Professor Piero Contarini, from an ancient Venetian family, and agrees to help him in his work curating a new edition of the memoirs of the famous seducer, Giacomo Casanova. T
aking their task seriously, they start to enact his adventures with each other, ecstatically revealing their own kinks as they do so. But who is watching them from the shadowy alleyways of Venice?
Kate has shared an extract with us today so sit back and enjoy.
(Content warning: adult themes.)
*****beginning of extract*****
Ellie, a young English teacher working in Venice, has agreed to help the enigmatic Professor Contarini curate his definitive edition of the writings of Casanova….
Piero walked her through the maze of alleys and passageways with such confidence that Ellie thought he could probably have done so blindfolded. Shortly after they had crossed the Grand Canal at the Accademia Bridge, she lost her bearings completely. Sometimes they would emerge into a piazza bright with lights and laughter, only to plunge into a dimly lit gap between high, dark buildings, in which all that could be heard was the sound of their footsteps. Often the narrowness of the path meant he was right at her shoulder—he’d indicate where to turn by a hand gently at her elbow guiding her over a little bridge across a darkly-glittering canal. Later, the hand came to rest more proprietorially in the small of her back. I’m completely in his power. If I turned and ran away from him now, all he’d need to do is stand and wait, as I’d be bound to go round in circles and meet him again.
“First stop,” he said, coming to a halt in a little square. He pointed up at a plaque. “Casanova was born right here,” he said, “the son of two actors, but he was brought up by his grandmother, perhaps the only woman he ever really loved.”
“You’ve got him, Ellie. I think he was a lonely man at times, even though there were plenty of women who wanted to love him. He ruined their lives in some ways—who’d be satisfied with another man after he’d had them, the greatest lover of them all? Yet he got close to none of those women. He thought he was in love for a while, and then his head would be turned by someone new.”by
Weeks after boarding a train to Paris in pursuit of her writing dreams, aspiring novelist Maisie Clark is right back where she started: on the idyllic shores of Port Hewer in Cornwall, luggage in hand and heart filled with anticipation for what lies ahead. Except that nothing seems the same as Maisie left it, from her place among the staff at the hotel Penmarrow to her budding romance with groundskeeper Sidney Daniels, who isn’t quite ready to overlook the painful consequences of her sudden departure.
Losing Sidney would be unbearable, but Maisie can’t help fearing it might be true if the rift between them proves too deep to heal. She knows her feelings for him are unchanged, but whether he feels the same remains to be seen—particularly since she stopped him from expressing them in the first place. And to make matters worse, her position at the Penmarrow has been filled by another, there’s nowhere for her to live in the village, and her savings are finally dwindling to a pathetic number – with her book still unpublished after her startling discovery about the author helping guide her towards success.
But one thing which hasn’t changed is the drama and excitement at the hotel Penmarrow, where the staff is awaiting inspection from the dreaded owner Ms. Claypool. Stirring up trouble in the meantime is the owner’s special guest ‘Mad Ludwig’, an eccentric architect whose demands are definitely driving everyone on the staff a little crazy. And then there’s the hotel’s mysterious new desk manager, whose behavior ignites Maisie’s suspicions and causes her to become entangled in yet another form of intrigue—one that could unwittingly jeopardize the future of the Penmarrow and everyone who works there, unless Maisie can find a way to undo the harm.
With everything that matters to her most at stake this time, Maisie faces her biggest challenges yet…and her deepest question of the heart as she confronts the reason she returned to Cornwall and the Penmarrow in the first place.
I’ve got an extract from the novel to share with you today so, without further ado, over to you, Laura.
***** beginning of extract*****
A huge thank you to Laura for this chance to share an extract from my romance read A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss. The sixth book in my current series, it continues the adventures of amateur writer Maisie Clark at the historic hotel by the sea. In the following scene, Maisie learns more about the hotel’s impending sale as she chats with its current owner, Ms. Claypool.
The teapot was still warm and so were the muffins, with thick butter and blueberry preserves, so I helped myself to one last bite. Katy was doing the same in the empty dining room as she texted her current boyfriend, giving me a quick grin before giggling over his latest reply.
She glanced up, and quickly disappeared without saying anything, to my surprise. Then Ms. Claypool seated herself at the window table with her assistant, a briefcase, and the long roll of paper that constituted Ludwig’s blueprints. The assistant scurried away to fetch a fresh pot of tea, leaving the hotel mogul to study some reports and glance out the window at the flowers in bloom.
She noticed me as I swept my muffin crumbs onto my plate. “I didn’t realize you were still a guest here,” she said. “You are the young woman I met on the patio a few days ago — the one who was interested in the plans for the new resort?”
“That would be me,” I said. “But today’s my last day, so I’m bidding goodbye to the dining room before I go.”
“Ligeia is quite the culinary artist,” said Ms. Claypool. “If I thought I could steal her away for my personal chef at the new resort, I would. But I’ll have to make to do with a Michelin star culinary genius to please my investors.” To my surprise, she rolled her eyes slightly. “Sometimes I think I’ll defy them and do it anyway. What can they do to stop me from hiring whatever chefs I please?”
“Probably nothing.” Not unless they had more money than the woman in question.
“Exactly what I want them to say, too,” answered Ms. Claypool, with a pleased smile. So maybe Riley wasn’t exactly wrong about her.
“Tell me,” I said, trembling a little inside. “What’s happening to this hotel?” I was afraid what I might hear in reply, but that wouldn’t stop it from being true.by
Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect…
After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.
But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.
So now Sarah’s battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn’t all doom and gloom. They’re at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.
To celebrate the release of The Summer Island Swap, Samantha and Aria have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
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‘Being a veterinary nurse alone is more challenging than I ever imagined,’ she continued, ignoring my comment. ‘Look, Sarah – two other members of the lottery syndicate are also taking holidays. One of the surgeons is going on a cruise… I wish you would trust me on this.’
I opened my mouth to protest but the stiffness that had taken hold of her shoulders stopped me. We shouldn’t argue. It was rare that we both had a Saturday off. Tonight we were going to the cinema. My chest glowed at the prospect of Amy’s usual excitement over a blue slush drink and ketchup slathered hot dog. Sometimes it was hard to believe she was twenty-three.
But then I was twenty-seven and hadn’t even been kissed. Not properly. One-night stands and short relationships didn’t count. I meant proper kissing like you saw in the romantic movies I loved watching, where it was savoured on a bench or under a lamppost. I should have had that with Callum but looking back, the spark wasn’t there; I never got the sense of wanting a kiss with him to last forever.
‘A trip away is exactly what we both need,’ continued Amy as tentative rays of sunshine that had snuck through the blinds retreated behind assembling April clouds. ‘Especially you.’ Her voice sounded thick. ‘You’ve worked your guts out all these years, giving me a roof over my head and so much more – like funding my training to become a nurse at Paws & Claws. Words can’t explain how much it meant to me, having this flat, your home to move into when I turned eighteen and could finally get away from him.’
‘This has always been our home – even when you weren’t here.’
Her eyes shone. ‘Well, this is my small way of paying you back.’
‘There’s no debt.’ I rubbed her arm and crouched down by her side.by
Would you take the second chance you’ve always dreamed of?
It’s been ten years since Emma Stevens last laid eyes on Jake Murray. When he left the small seaside village of South Quay to chase the limelight, Emma’s dreams left with him.
Now Emma is content living a quiet and uneventful life in South Quay. It’s far from the life she imagined, but at least her job at the local hotel has helped heal her broken heart.
But when Jake returns home for the summer to escape the spotlight, Emma’s feelings quickly come flooding back. There’s clearly a connection between them, but Jake has damaged her heart once already – will she ever be able to give him a second chance?
To celebrate the release of The Summer of Taking Chances, Lynne has shared an extract with us today.
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Emma Stevens and Jake Murray grew up in the small seaside village of South Quay, both of them dreaming of glittering careers on the stage. Ten years ago, Jake left the village, and is now a successful actor living in London, while Emma is still living a quiet life in South Quay, renting a room in her best friend Lizzie’s cottage, working in a local hotel, and barely remembering the dreams she and Jake once shared. Then Jake returns to South Quay for the summer…
The day after she learns that Jake is back, Emma goes for a walk along the beach…
Calling out to let Lizzie know where I was going, I left the cottage, turning out of Saltwater Lane onto the appropriately named Shore Road. Heading past the shops selling beach-balls, sunblock, postcards and flip flops, and through the car park – empty now of day-trippers’ cars – at the end of the road, I came to the stones at the top of the beach.
The expanse of sea in front of me was as still as a mill-pond, and the sun was sinking towards the horizon, streaking the sky with red and gold. Two teenage girls were sitting on the stones sharing a portion of chips, while a family, mother, father, and two boys, were playing cricket on the strip of sand between the stones and the incoming tide, which had yet to reach the end of the breakwaters. I went down onto the sand and started walking westwards towards the headland, glancing up occasionally at the large houses, built in a variety of styles that lined this part of the shore. Gradually, the houses became fewer and further apart. I passed a woman walking a dog, and a fisherman in waders casting a line, and then, as I rounded a particularly high breakwater, I saw Jake Murray, standing on the water’s edge, with his back to me, throwing stones into the sea.by
Kelly ran a marathon… and wound up running a house. With a ghost in it.
Kelly Mellios is a stunning, athletic woman, who has learned–the hard way–to value herself. Having just finished her first marathon in the alluring Greek town of Nafplio, she bumps into Alex, a gorgeous widower with three underage children, who is desperately looking for a housekeeper.
The timing seems perfect, seeing that Kelly aches to start a new life, and Nafplio seems like the ideal place to settle down. She accepts the position on the spot, but little does she know that Alex’s house has an extra inhabitant that not even the family knows about…
The house is haunted by Alex’s late wife, who has unfinished business to tend to. By using the family pet, a quirky pug named Charlie, the ghost is able to communicate with Kelly and asks her for help. She claims she wants to ensure her loved ones are happy before she departs, but offers very little information about her plans.
Kelly freaks out at first, but gradually finds herself itching to help. It is evident there’s room for improvement in this family… Plus, her growing attraction towards Alex is overpowering…
Will Kelly do the ghost’s bidding? How will it affect her? And just how strange is this pug?
To celebrate the release of her new book, Effrosyni has shared the first chapter of Running Haunted. Enjoy!
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Kelly gave a luxurious sigh as she took a seat at a seafront café with her best friend, Efi. The girls had a view to the fort of Bourtzi, the magnificent landmark of the historical town of Nafplio. Under the strong sunshine, it looked as if it floated gently in the serene sea like a resting, off-white bird.
Leaning back in her comfortable chair, Kelly felt the pained muscles all over her body sing with relief. Thinking back to her amazing feat, she couldn’t help but give a cheer. ‘I’ve just finished my first marathon! I can’t believe it!’
Efi, who sat beside her, beamed at Kelly for a few moments, then said, ‘You’d better believe it, girl! I’m so proud of you! You’ve come so far to get this medal, and I don’t just mean the forty-two kilometres you just ran.’ She winked and hooked her mouth to the side.
Kelly gave a huge sigh, a shadow crossing her face. Instinctively, to hide it from her friend, she looked the other way and said with regret, ‘I know. Please don’t remind me…’
‘Hey, what’s this? It’s been over a year, Kelly… Let it go. Besides, you just proved you’re not the same girl any more. You’ve left all that misery behind you for good.’
‘You’re so right, Efi. And, from now on, I just want to look ahead, you know?’by
If you could change time to save your first love—even if it meant turning your back on the universe—would you?
It is time for the Vechey youth to earn their place as time-guardians. The near-immortal Vechey protect the universe from the devastating Manipulators—devourers of souls, mindless seekers of chaos. First, the youth must survive a mysterious and deadly ritual created by the all-powerful clan leader Eterili. Having regenerated thousands of times with the birth of each universe, Eterili is taking this one as hers and bending all in it to her grand designs.
Catha’s time-slipping skills are underdeveloped. She is time-blind—unable to see through time, unable to protect herself from the ritual. The Vechey shun her for being different. Her parents ignore her as if she were already dead.
Aithagg loves Catha unconditionally and will do anything to save her. He tries desperately to unlock the ritual’s mysteries and find a way to help Catha survive with him. Or will saving Catha enable the Manipulators to destroy the universe?
Ahead of its publication on 28th May, Tina has shared an extract from When Darkness Begins with us today. It sounds great and I hope you enjoy it.
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The six youths each straightened and in unison, or near it, began to articulate, “I will go forth and find my time, my place, my home. Turning away from my family and my friends, I will dedicate my eternity to keeping the universe whole. Should another adjust my time, my place, my home I will defend it until my last thought, through all eternity.”
Eterili called from her squatted position, “What do you protect?”
“Time.” The answer—cracking adolescent voices. “Why?” An aged croak.
“Lest the sky pull my bones apart as the tribe is lost across all of time.” Whispers.
“Who do you protect time from?”
“The Manipulators who would destroy time, the universe, and all in it.”by