Tomboy Scarlett thought Devon would be her best friend forever. He was the only person in Springhollow who supported her ambitious artist dreams. But then one winter, Devon and his parents disappear without warning to start a new life in NYC and a devastated Scarlett is left alone to face her high-school bullies and overbearing mother.
Fast-forward ten years: Scarlett is playing it safe in her childhood village with a dull PA job and a wardrobe that passes her mother’s old-fashioned standards. Meanwhile, Devon is a Hollywood heartthrob, starring in the latest superhero blockbuster. And he’s finally coming home for Christmas…
Scarlett can’t help blaming her former best friend for the way her life has turned out, but Devon’s cheeky charm and gorgeous smile prove difficult to resist. Devon always did make her feel on top of the world, but Scarlett knows her heart isn’t racing just because she has her friend back – is it mistletoe madness, or is she seeing Devon in a completely new light?
Scarlett hasn’t taken a risk in years… but this Christmas of second chances could finally be her time to shine.
Lucy and Aria have shared an extract today so you know what to do.. grab that drink and that chair and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Springhollow being such a small village, Hope and I had applied to work at the magazine right out of college at the ripe old age of eighteen. Hope had always dreamt of being a journalist and overseeing the magazine one day, whereas I loved spending time with Hope and thought maybe a job at our village’s only magazine would appease my creative aspirations and my mother. I could focus on sophisticated pieces of writing, report the news and leave my silly dreams to professionals more suited to it than me. However, my previous boss didn’t quite take to my writing style, for some reason. I tended to add my own twist and inspiration when it came to facts and what was going on in our small village; that may have included the odd alien or magic power.
Giving me the top stories or putting me out in the field was not on his agenda. I was better suited for making coffee and seeing to it that the photocopier never ran out of toner, is what I was told. I take a deep breath and open up my emails. It’s better these days, I’ve gotten used to organising meetings, scheduling appointments and helping Hope assign writers to their suited articles.
Since landing our jobs here at The Village Gazette, Hope has worked her way up from editing other people’s articles to manager and she is a businesswoman to be reckoned with. I on the other hand have remained the coffee runner, only now I’m getting to do it for Hope and not Alfred, an older man who always wore a grey suit to match his grey hair, and didn’t much care for my creative flair. So really, I could take that as a win, maybe even say it was somewhat of a promotion, right?by
When downtrodden checkout assistant Bonnie Green receives a letter from a mysterious uncle, she can hardly believe her eyes.
Gifted a hundred-year lease on a famous cafe situated in the middle of a mythical theme park, Bonnie sets off with her best friend Debbie on an adventure to a hidden valley in the Lake District where they will find new friendship, love, and happiness, all set against the magic of Christmas … and more marshmallows than they can possibly eat….
CP Ward has shared an extract today. Hot drink? Check. Comfortable chair? Check. Festive Lights? Check. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract *****
Bonnie & Debbie
Bonnie hasn’t had the easiest of lives, as Debbie has a tendency to point out. However, things are about to change …
The DVD had loaded up its start screen, a little dog icon hovering over START MOVIE. Debbie swigged from her can of Guinness and sighed.
‘Honestly, sometimes I’m envious of you,’ she said, swinging her head to look at Bonnie, who hadn’t yet opened her can. ‘I mean, you’re what? Fifty-five, single, a homeowner, your kids leave you alone—’
Bonnie lifted a hand. ‘Just to make a couple of clarifications there … I’m fifty-two. Yes, I’m single, but I’m also divorced, which is like having a medal around your neck with “worthless” written on it. My husband ran off with a hat saleswoman he met when he was buying me a hat for Christmas because he didn’t like my hair and wanted something to cover it on the rare occasions we ever went out. I’m a homeowner only because he took all our savings in the divorce in exchange for letting me keep the house … and the mortgage I can barely pay on my pathetic Morrico salary. And both my kids took his side. Said I should have dressed better. I’m lucky if I get a card for my birthday now.’by
Can a magical Christmas melt a frozen heart?
Join Belle and James as they visit Mickey Mouse for a sparkling holiday season at Disneyland Paris.
Belle has been numb since her mother died, and she can’t face Christmas at home without her. Instead she books a surprise holiday to her “happy place” – the Magic Kingdom. But her boyfriend James has problems of his own. He doesn’t “do Disney” and what will his mother think of him missing their family Christmas to go to Disneyland with Belle?
A festive romance with a sprinkling of Pixie Dust.
Elsa has shared an extract with us today so grab that hot chocolate and that chair by the Christmas Tree and enjoy…
***** beginning of extract*****
Belle has recently lost her mother, and faces her first Christmas without either of her parents. James, her boyfriend, has invited her to his family home for Christmas, but Belle has other ideas and has booked them a surprise holiday to Disneyland Paris. James isn’t sure how his mother will react to the news that they won’t be coming for Christmas, and they travel north to Edinburgh to break the news to her. Mrs. Buchan “upright, uptight, frigidly, rigidly efficient,” listens carefully to their plans before she pronounces judgement.
‘So, where exactly is it that you’re going on holiday?’ she asked politely. ‘James said that you would want to tell me about it. Somewhere that your mother loved, I believe?’
‘To Disneyland Paris,’ Belle told her.
‘Oh! Really! Oh goodness! How … nice …’ Mrs. Buchan said with a tinkling laugh that sounded like teaspoons in china cups. ‘So, you’ll be off to Disneyland, James? To meet Mr. Michael Mouse himself?’
‘Belle likes it there,’ he said through a mouthful of biscuit crumbs.
‘It was my mum’s happy place. And mine too.’ Belle said warmly. ‘To go at Christmas would have been a dream come true for Mum and me. She’d saved for it for years. That’s why I want to go.’
‘But, aren’t you both rather grown up for roundabouts and giant mice?’ Mrs. Buchan said, in that tone; her mouth forming her own unique moue of disdain. ‘Isn’t that kind of thing best left for children? Wouldn’t you rather go somewhere more authentic? I understand that you’ve hardly travelled at all, dear, so wouldn’t you prefer to broaden your horizons? Morocco is amazing, or even South America? Wouldn’t you rather experience a wee slice of culture? See the real world rather than a child’s theme park?’
Belle shook her head. ‘It not only for children; honestly it isn’t, it’s for the young at heart. Imagination is for everyone, isn’t it? That’s what Walt Disney thought, after all. Mum thought so too.’ Mrs. Buchan set her lips tightly together as she often did when Belle mentioned her mum.by
I am very happy to be welcoming Laura Marchant to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her book, Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter
Hilarious and heart warming true stories of a Pet Sitter.
Laura takes us on her journey describing the immense joy that the animals have brought into her life. But it’s not all fun and games. With sometimes as many as ten dogs around her home, things can get a tad hectic. Not to forget the every day challenges faced in keeping the pets happy and safe when out walking. Luckily she is not alone in her quest; her unusually dominant Golden Retriever ‘Brece’ is always by her side. Brece earns her keep by convincingly playing the part of the alpha female, ensuring harmony amongst the pack.
At times, the responsibility that Laura faces becomes overwhelming. She may think she has everything covered but that hand of fate could quite easily swoop down, creating havoc for her and the dogs. Laura has endured many close calls and teetered on the precipice of disaster may a time. The longer she continues with her pet sitting enterprise, the more likely hood that total disaster will actually strike. Is she tempting fate?
Laura Marchant is the Bridget Jones of the pet sitting world!
Laura has shared an extract from her book today so find that comfy seat, grab that cup of tea, and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
This is an extract from a third of the way into the book. Here I start to write about ‘the gang’, a selection of my daily regulars that I walk. I pick 5 dogs to talk about in detail. (some of whom are pictured on the front page). This section is about Rocky, a young, crazy out of control English Pointer, but never the less, a dog that I love.
Picking up Rocky was an arduous task and that was just the prelude to the walk. Putting the leash on him did not abate his excitement, in fact, it exacerbated it, as he knew he was one step closer to his walk and freedom. Once trussed up we made our way to the front door. Trying to lock it behind me whilst keeping hold of the uncontrollable animal was an incredibly difficult task, but with gritted determination, I just about managed it. Outside the house, door successfully locked he then hoicked me all the way down the drive to where his chariot awaited. He pulled with such force that I literally thought that my arms would be wrenched out of their sockets. It took every ounce of strength in my body to hang onto that dog. If he managed to escape from his lead, it was a given that he would run onto the busy road, that would be it, we were dicing with death.
By now I had managed to get him leashed, out of the house, locked the door, before being whisked all the way down the driveway. God! I must have been completely mad in those early days. All I had to do now was get him in the boot of the car; this part was a breeze. He was more than happy to jump into the dog-mobile, he knew next stop was the beach. Whilst I sat in the driver’s seat I usually took a couple of minutes to compose myself. After checking out my new cuts, bruises and jarred joints I was ready to drive off to our destination. It was always a stressful journey. Having Rocky in the boot of my car was like having a wild Gazelle travelling with us. He remained on his perpetual trampoline but added a touch of strident hollering and squealing to help us along on our way. Once finally at our destination, the beast was unleashed. This was what he had been waiting for: now his fun could begin.
Hurling himself out of the boot, he charged off to do his own thing. There was no way I could keep him on the lead, anything I did to try to hang on to him was ineffectual, as was berating him. With no choice in the matter, I just had to let him go and wait with the other dogs by the sea wall while he charged around.by
Eight months ago, Gray Langtry’s mother became prime minister… now someone wants her dead
Gray’s life has been in turmoil ever since her mother was chosen to lead the country. They had to leave their home and move into the prime minister’s official residence at Number 10 Downing Street. Everywhere she goes, she must be accompanied by bodyguards. The media won’t leave her alone — she’s on the cover of every tabloid, and her behaviour, her appearance, the length of her skirts… everything is constantly judged.
Worse, the scars from her parents’ divorce and her mother’s abrupt remarriage are still raw. She doesn’t like her stepfather. She doesn’t like this life. None of it was her decision.
When she’s photographed drunk outside a London nightclub, it makes headlines. Gray is grounded and given new bodyguards – younger, cooler, and harder to fool than the last batch.
It’s Julia, the new bodyguard, who tells her that a new terrorist organisation issued a threat, and the threat is credible. They say they’re going to kill her mother and Gray. When Gray tries to find out more though, no one will tell her. Her mother never mentions it and her bodyguard is forbidden to say more. Locked up in Number 10 night after night, Gray decides to find answers. If someone wants to kill her, she deserves to know why.
One of the few people who understands what’s happening is Jake McIntyre — the son of her mother’s political enemy. Convinced he’s working for his father, her mother forbids her to spend time with him. But Gray believes he might be able to help her learn the truth.
One night, while sneaking through dark government halls, she gets far more than she bargained for. She realises the situation is much worse than even her mother’s security team suspects. But will anyone believe the prime minister’s wild child daughter?
Afraid for herself, her mother, and her country, Gray is determined to find proof. But she must move fast.
The clock is ticking.
C.J has shared an extract today. It sound great so enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
Gray wasn’t going to drink any more alcohol. The cold bottle felt good against her overheated skin, though, and she held it up to her face, pressing the glass against her cheek.
‘Gray.’ Jake’s northern accented voice was unmistakable.
She spun around to see him a few feet away, his expression dripping disapproval. ‘What do you want?’ she asked.
His brow lowering, he glanced from the bottle in her hand back to her face. ‘Maybe you should go easy on that. You don’t look so great.’by
As the Yorkshire village of Westenbury mourns the loss of one of their own, the women can’t help but contemplate who will fill the vacancy in one handsome widower’s life…
Grace Stevens has decided it’s time to move on without her husband. He’s off gallivanting around Devon in search of a new life, and good riddance. It’s time to go back to teaching, so Grace returns to Little Acorns and takes on an unruly class of pre-teens.
As she deals with disasters in – and out of – the classroom including an accidental dalliance with her most troublesome pupil’s dad, helping track down a drug ring and keeping up with her closest girlfriends, Grace begins to wonder more and more about the sparkle in David’s eyes and the sparking chemistry between them.
Could Grace be the one to fill this village vacancy?
Julie and Aria have shared an extract today. Enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
‘Can you believe this, Harriet?’ Grace wiped her eyes once more as, forty minutes later, the cortege retraced its steps back up the nave towards the main entrance of the church, taking Mandy Henderson on her final journey to the churchyard. ‘You know, that Mandy is actually… I can’t even say the words… no longer here with us anymore?’
‘No.’ Harriet Westmoreland, Grace’s best friend since school days, shook her head, for once short of words. ‘How long have we known Mandy?’ she finally asked. She paused to think, screwing up her eyes as she did the maths and answering her own question. ‘Over thirty years. Do you remember your first glimpse of her at Midhope Grammar? I do.’
Grace tutted. ‘Of course I do, Harriet. You know I do. I fell in love with her in our very first assembly as she sat with the other fifth and sixth-formers on that long bench in front of the teachers. God, they were a rum lot, weren’t they?’
‘Miss Clarke, the young PE teacher was OK,’ Harriet mused, casting her mind back. ‘I quite liked her, but how the pair of us ever became teachers with that motley crew as our only example, I’ll never know.’ Harriet shook her head again, reaching out a restraining hand to Pietronella who was eager to be off now she’d spotted David Henderson, Mandy’s widowed husband and her own much adored adopted grandpa, before glancing round the church at the remaining mourners. ‘Is Juno here? Or any other of the Sutherland sisters? I thought Pandora at least might have shown up?’by
Meet Jackson – a very unusual boy in a world that prefers ‘normal’…
Julia Curtis is a busy mother of three, with a husband often away for work, an ever-present mother-in-law, a career, and a house that needs doing up. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Milla, has fallen in love for the first time, and her youngest, Ruby, is a nine-year-old fashionista who can out-negotiate anyone.
But Julia’s eleven-year-old son, Jackson, is different. Different to his sisters. Different to his classmates. In fact, Jackson is different from everyone. And bringing up a child who is different isn’t always easy.
Then, one Monday morning, Jackson follows his new friend Digby into the school toilets. What happens inside changes everything; not only for Jackson, but for every member of his family. Julia faces the fight of her life to save her unusual boy from a world set up for ‘normal’.
I have reviewed the book below but first, Fiona and Boldwood Books have shared an extract.
***** beginning of extract*****
‘Shhh! You’ll wake her up!’
Stifled laughter, the tinkling of a tea bell and the pungent smell of burnt toast drift beneath the bedroom door. Our three children are whispering outside, impatient to sneak in and surprise me. My hand slides across the mattress, reaching for Andy’s, before the crushing realisation swamps me.
He’s not here. Again.
A cold, hard nub of loneliness lodges in my chest. Andy’s overseas trips are an unavoidable by-product of his smashing career success; New York this quarter, London next, Tokyo in the spring. I should be used to it by now, but the thought of spending Mother’s Day solo makes me want to curl up under the covers and refuse to come out. For the sake of the children, however, I can’t. It’s my job to create magic on Mother’s Day now.
I stare at the paint flaking off the ceiling above our bed. Recalling the early, easy years with Andy, before there were any Mothers’ Days at all. All that spare time spent sleeping and strolling and staring into each other’s eyes. Two languid years of mutual adoration, before my body endured three pregnancies, two breastfed babies and the singular exertions of gravity itself. Back when Andy and I still saw each other, somehow.
Something clatters to the floor beyond the door.by
When charming, mysterious, Nik sits next to Jess on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair, she never could have imagined the impact he’d have on her life. As they touch down in London, Jess is hesitant to let Nik walk away, and before she knows it, she’s invited him to visit.
As the two take in the delights of the toy store where she works, Jess gets an upsetting phone call. Willow Court, her Grandmother’s care home, is to close before Christmas. With the help of Nik, and her best friend Oliver, Jess is determined to find the perfect new home for her Gran – and throw the best Christmas party Willow Court has ever seen! But time is running out and Oliver isn’t the only one who has suspicions about charismatic Nik’s intentions.
Will a chance encounter on an aeroplane bring love to Jess’s life or is this Christmas miracle too good to be true?
Samantha and Aria have shared an extract today. As this is set at Christmas, grab that hot chocolate, a comfy chair and play that Christmas song. I won’t tell, I promise. Enjoy!
*****beginning of extract*****
‘So, you’ve been to England before?’ I asked and took a sip.
‘Yes. It’s only the last few years or so that I’ve been going to the trade fairs on my own. I joined the company straight from university and Mum and Dad have been teaching me the ropes ever since, taking me on work trips abroad.’ He ran a finger around the mug’s rim. ‘They brought me here as a teenager though, on holiday to see the sights. Mum and Dad went backpacking during university holidays and always said there was nothing quite like travel for broadening the mind. They liked discovering unusual places. We travelled the length of the country, from Newcastle to Bournemouth.’
‘Wow. Any favourite places?’
‘Stonehenge was amazing – so atmospheric. And we rented a cottage in the Cotswolds for a few days, in a quiet little village. It looked like a picture off a chocolate box and ducks visited the back garden – Mum fell in love with it. Manchester was pretty cool with trendy independent coffee shops and warehouse stores. We had to visit the Cavern Club in Liverpool as Dad had always been a massive fan of The Beatles and we also took a wonderful steam engine trip through Norfolk. We only spent one day in the capital so I don’t really know London.’
‘It sounds as if you’ve seen more of my home country than I have. So what got your parents interested in toy manufacturing?’
‘Mum was studying a degree in arts and Dad a design degree with modules in consumer engineering. He was left some money from his grandparents – enough to start the business. Also both of their families are big and even in their twenties, between them, Mum and Dad had lots of nephews and nieces and loved entertaining them and Grams and Grandpa – Mum’s parents – would often talk about how Mum was always making her own toys as a child out of food packaging and scraps of materials or plastic.’ He smiled. ‘She encouraged me as a boy. I used to love crafting with the week’s leftover cereal boxes and plastic butter tubs. I guess that passed the passion onto me.’by
Can Kerra’s Cornish hometown offer the fresh start she needs?
When Kerra left the quiet Cornish town of Penvennan Cove for the bright lights of London she didn’t look back. But after the death of her mother, she’s decided it’s time to face her past and return to the place she called home. Her father needs her, and perhaps she needs him more than she’s willing to admit?
Tackling town gossip, home renovations and a flame from her past, it’s not quite smooth sailing for Kerra. Ross is the bad boy she was meant to forget, not a man who still sets her heart aflutter. As he helps bring her dream home to life, they begin to break down the barriers that have been holding them back and in the process learn things about themselves they never thought possible.
As friends old and new come together, the future in Penvennan looks bright.
Linn and Aria have shared an extract from Coming Home to Penvennan Cove. Enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
When Mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I travelled home every weekend so we could all be together during those final few months. We laughed, we cried and we reminisced. But it’s a mean beast and although she was ready to go when the time came, we weren’t ready to let go of her. What it did for me, was put everything into perspective.
Going back is never easy; going forward was all I knew, until now.
It eased my conscience a little to see my team through the transition, giving them time to adjust to the new regime. It was meant to be a period in which we’d all feel proud of what we’d achieved and I’d leave them with a sense of excitement about their future. But the last few months have been a blur of activity and, naturally, upheaval.
And now, Sy is right—I feel like a deserter, walking away as if I can’t already see the problems beginning to stack up on the horizon. Big business is fierce and while it was all smiles and handshakes at the start, it’s now deadpan faces and long emails detailing the new procedures. Did they really want the business, or just the ready-made audience to add to their already huge database? Equally as soul-destroying is the fact that I’m beginning to feel I’ve been disloyal to our customers, too. The press release put a very positive spin on it, of course, but some of the benefits seem one-sided to me. I’m hoping I’m proved wrong.by
Lawyer Mia’s picture-perfect dream life in New York is imploding. Her job has become too stressful, she’s exhausted from carrying her friends and what’s up with her striking, wealthy fiancé?
But when life-changing decisions force her to move to Maine, where she’ll face her often critical father and hard truths about what truly matters in life, she re-discovers a passion of her youth.
What begins as a low moment in her life quickly pushes her to consider what she genuinely wants and leads her down a new path where she must embrace the future and let go of the past.
Will this move help Mia to fix her life, once and for all, and will she finally find true love?
Colette has shared an extract today. Grab that drink, comfy chair and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
‘I don’t do Mondays.’
The woman was Amanda Parker, a beautiful twenty-three-year-old blonde who was lying naked on the bed in the master suite at the Waldorf Astoria. Her family had old money, and they made it clear she wouldn’t see a single penny of it. Her primary occupation was to party, doing the occasional modelling, and hoping to have another spot in a celebrity magazine. Which one, was not important.
‘How come? It’s not that you have to get up and go to work.’ Carlton Allerton, owner of Allerton Groceries, and worth several billion in assets, although mostly made by his grandfather, was the man sharing her bed.
‘I don’t know. People always disappear, rushing to go to work. Monday morning is dead. Too quiet for my liking.’
Instead, he said, ‘What about having a shower together? We’ve been lying here doing nothing since six.’
‘Nothing since sex, you mean. Are you checking the time?’ Amanda asked.
‘Not at all, but I’m getting hungry, and I still need to fully wake up.’
‘You didn’t seem asleep when we were making love,’ she teased him.
‘Give me a break, Amanda. You know very well this is borrowed time. We can’t keep going like this.’
The woman suddenly looked him straight in the eye, her voice now firm and sharp. ‘Then do something about it.’ It wasn’t the first time they’d touched that topic, and most likely not the last one.
‘It’s not so easy, and you know it.’
Carlton sat on the bed and turned the television onto Bloombergto see the latest news on the Asian market. A man in a suit and a yellow bow tie was explaining why the Nikkei had slipped, reversing early gains from the past few weeks. The Federal Reserve meeting was due in a few days, and the investors were cautious.
‘I know you care more about your money than me.’ Amanda’s expression stiffened. ‘And don’t give me that crap that you have to work this morning. You’re dodging the issue. This is you; always avoiding confrontation whenever you can.’by
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