Extracts

Book Extract: Dark Days at the Beach Hotel by Francesca Capaldi

I’m pleased to be welcoming Francesca Capaldi to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Dark Days at the Beach Hotel.

Can Helen save the hotel… and her reputation?

Helen Bygrove is managing the hotel, now that her husband has been conscripted. Against all expectations, Helen and her team are doing marvellously, despite the shortages brought by war. Even the exacting Lady Blackmore agrees. But then the calm is shattered when poison pen letters are sent to prominent townsfolk and Helen finds herself the target of a police investigation.

Is someone trying to ruin Helen, and the Beach Hotel? And can she rely on the handsome but taciturn Inspector Toshack to help her? When her husband, Douglas, is invalided out of the war he is determined to take back control of the hotel and things go from bad to worse.

How can she ever escape his bullying? Is she a fool to hope that she may have a second chance at love?

 

Francesca has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy it. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

Helen Bygrove has taken over as manageress of the Beach Hotel after her husband is conscripted. There have been libellous letters sent to many people in the town, and much of the focus has concentrated on the hotel. Detective Inspector Toshack has now turned up at the hotel, with several police officers.

 

*****

‘What are they doing?’ said Helen.

‘Carrying out a search.’

‘But my children are up there, with Vera, their nursemaid.’

‘I’m sure WPC Lovelock will escort them elsewhere. Constable, you search the office, down this passageway on the left.’

Twort performed a short salute before obeying the command.

‘Why are you doing this, Inspector?’ Helen asked. ‘Why would anyone here use the hotel writing paper for anonymous letters?’

As she finished the sentence, the door to the stairs opened once more, and Vera appeared, with Elsie in her arms. Dorothy and Arthur came just behind her.

‘Shall I take the children into the staff dining room, madam?’

‘That would be best.’

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Book Extract: A Deadly Portrayal by LM Milford

I’m excited to be welcoming LM Milford to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, A Deadly Portrayal.

When local crime reporter Emma Fletcher is asked to help identify her friend’s blackmailer, she discovers a link to the recent death of a teacher at Allensbury Dance and Drama School.

Meanwhile, a police investigation is uncovering some dark secrets, and it is clear that someone is seeking revenge for past wrongs.

As Emma’s list of suspects continues to grow, the discovery of a second body puts her in the killer’s sights.

Warned off the investigation by the police for her own safety, Emma decides the best way to save herself is to find the culprit first.

With the help of fellow news reporter Dan Sullivan, Emma must work out who is targeting Allensbury Dance and Drama School before the killer strikes again.

 

LM Milford has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy it. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

The story so far… dancer Natasha Kent has received an email threatening to ruin her life if she doesn’t admit to what she’s done. Then teacher Travers McGovern, who has been watching Natasha in a dance rehearsal, is found dead in his office. News reporter Emma Fletcher attends the scene to get information for a story.

**

Students were streaming out of the doors of the school as Emma arrived. As she headed towards the entrance, she felt like a salmon desperately trying to swim upstream. She was almost knocked off her feet by a burly male student carrying a sports bag. He gripped her arm to prevent her falling, apologising, leaving Emma just enough time to detain him and ask if he knew what was happening.

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Book Extract: When We Were Us by Patricia Caliskan

I’m pleased to be welcoming Patricia Caliskan to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, When We Were Us.

Is it ever too late to start again…?

Erika Forde has always played second fiddle to her husband David, the famous novelist. But since their son, Matt, left home for university, cracks have started to show in their marriage.

Erika has long had a nagging suspicion that David may not always have been faithful, and now his latest books are starting to wane in popularity causing erratic moods that are affecting Erika.

But while David’s career starts to dip, Erika’s advertising agency is on the up.

Erika’s creative genius wins the agency a huge client in Stable Denim, but her life is thrown into turmoil when one of the models cast for the campaign turns out to be her ex-boyfriend, Enzo.

Has Enzo been sent back into Erika’s life for a reason? Is it time for her to reevaluate her marriage?

Or should some things be left in the past…?

WHEN WE WERE US is a second chance love story, that shows the ups and downs of family life with buckets of humour and wit.

 

Patricia has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Erika Forde has always played second fiddle to her husband David, the famous novelist. But since their son, Matt, left home for university, cracks have started to show in their marriage.

While David’s career starts to dip, Erika’s advertising agency is on the up. Erika Forde’s creative genius wins her creative advertising agency a huge client in Stable Denim, but her life is thrown into turmoil when one of the models cast for the campaign turns out to be her ex-boyfriend, Enzo Morelli.

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Book Extract: Death on the High Seas by Anna Legat

I’m pleased to be welcoming Anna Legat to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Death on the High Seas.

Maggie and Sam take a break from the murder and mayhem of Bishops Well and embark on a relaxing mid-winter cruise across the northern seas. The brochure promises smooth sailing, good food and dazzling entertainment. Sam is hoping to sprinkle the mix with romance.

But nothing goes to plan.

Maggie runs into an old lover, the mesmerising Benedict Rawbotham, who goes out of his way to sweep her off her feet. Sam is left seething with jealousy.

A mayday signal sent by a fishing boat forces the cruise liner off course. But there is something fishy about the rescued crew and Maggie insists that two young women have died on that boat. Alas, no one believes her.

Soon one of the alleged fishermen is also dead and so is one of the cruise passengers. Cordelia Conti Lang, nicknamed the Bitcoin Queen, with links to London’s criminal underworld, is found in her cabin, stabbed to death.

In pursuit of the killer, Maggie hurtles from one disaster to another and Sam begins to fear for her life. Has he taken her on a cruise to hell? 

 

Anna has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

A quick introduction to Sam’s rival vying for Maggie’s affections: Benedict Rowbotham

The show was about to start. The lights were dimmed and the stage was hit with bright spotlights. The compere announced the grand entrance of Maestro de Norte – or Morte, Sam couldn’t quite make that out.

The Maestro burst onto the stage in a puff of white smoke. He was wearing a top hat and a cape, and altogether resembled Count Dracula. He was tall and lean, with sharp but handsome features. His hair was uncannily black – probably dyed. The hair and the heavy eye makeup rendered the man creepy, in Sam’s opinion. Even more so after he noticed that Maggie was utterly hypnotised by him. She stiffened in her seat, pushed her chin forward, squinted and gaped like a possessed groupie.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to a night of magic and mayhem!’ De Norte spoke in a deep baritone. ‘Let me introduce my glamorous assistant, Mademoiselle Coco.’

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Book Extract: Last Seen in Havana by Teresa Dovalpage

Please join me in welcoming Teresa Dovalpage to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Last Seen in Havana.

A Cuban American woman searches for her long-lost mother and fights to restore a beautiful but crumbling Art Deco home in the heart of Havana in this moving, immersive new mystery, perfect for fans of Of Women and Salt.

In 2019, newly widowed baker Mercedes Spivey flies from Miami to her native Cuba to care for her ailing paternal grandmother. Mercedes’s life has been shaped by loss, beginning with the mysterious unsolved disappearance of her mother when Mercedes was a little girl. Returning to Cuba revives Mercedes’s hopes of finding her mother as she attempts to piece together the few scraps of information she has. Could her mother still be alive?

33 years earlier, an American college student with endless political optimism falls deliriously in love with a handsome Cuban soldier while on a spontaneous visit to the island. She decides to stay permanently, but soon discovers that nothing is as it seems in Havana.

The two women’s stories proceed in parallel as Mercedes gets closer to discovering the truth about her mother, uncovering shocking family secrets in the process . . .

 

Teresa has shared an extract from Last Seen in Havana today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Short intro: This is how the novel starts. Mercedes’ mother, Tania, has been missing since Mercedes was three years old. As a girl, Mercedes waited in vain for her to return home. Now she is thirty years old, living in Miami, and has decided to try again to find her runaway mom.

The Ashen Hour

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Book Extract: All Grown Up by Catherine Evans

allgrownupcatherineevansI’d like to give a big hello to Catherine Evans. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel, All Grown Up.

Neveah is fifteen. A schoolkid. With a secret life. She’s a digital freelancer, and is having an affair with her biggest client.

Giles is married. He thinks Neveah is twenty-two.

She’ll do just about anything to stop him from finding out her true age. But secrets have a way of spilling out.

With devastating consequences.

 

Catherine has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

(Warning: Strong Language.) 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

CONTEXT: Neveah (pronounced Ner-vay) is a 15-year-old schoolgirl having an affair with a married man, Giles, who believes her to be an independent woman of 22. Neveah is bright and ambitious, and works as a freelance digital marketer. Giles is her biggest client. Neveah lives with her single mother, Marie. Marie is completely obsessed with her own issues, and has no idea how her daughter earns money or who she is involved with. The affair with Giles is necessarily secret, not only because of his marital status but also because of her age. Nevertheless, Neveah has confided in her best friend, Sharna, who is also 15.

Neveah and Sharna are making their way to the swimming pool. Sharna’s on a weight loss kick, and has roped Neveah in. Neveah doesn’t mind. She knows it won’t last. Besides, she likes the pool.

‘We’ll swim for half an hour, yeah?’ says Sharna. ‘Then we can grab a MackyD?’

‘I thought you wanted to lose weight.’

‘Oh, come on. We’ll deserve it after burning all them calories. D’you wanna stay over tonight?’

‘Yeah sure.’ Neveah never has to ask permission. She’s a totally free agent. Marie works nights except for Tuesdays, and even then she’s not fussed if Neveah isn’t home.

‘So you’re not seeing Mister Loverman then?’

‘Seeing him tomorrow.’

allgrownupcatherineevans‘D’you love him?’ Sharna suddenly asks.

Neveah can’t answer immediately ‘I like being with him, if that’s what you mean.’

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Book Extract: Shadows in the Ashes by Christina Courtenay

Please join me in welcoming Christina Courtenay to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Shadows In The Ashes.

Brimming with romance, adventure and vivid historical detail, Christina Courtenay’s gripping dual-time novel travels from the present day to the fires of ancient Pompeii.

The sunlight caught her gold bracelet, sending a flash that almost blinded her.

She closed her eyes, but jumped when the earth started shaking and there was an almighty boom behind her.

Present Day

Finally escaping an abusive marriage, Caterina Rossi takes her three-year-old daughter and flees to Italy. There she’s drawn to research scientist Connor, who needs her translation help for his work on volcanology. Together they visit the ruins of Pompeii and, standing where Mount Vesuvius unleashed its fire on the city centuries before, Cat begins to see startling visions. Visions that appear to come from the antique bracelet handed down through her family’s generations…

AD 79
Sold by his half-brother and enslaved as a gladiator in Roman Pompeii, Raedwald dreams only of surviving each fight, making the coin needed to return to his homeland and taking his revenge. That is, until he is hired to guard beautiful Aemilia. As their forbidden love grows, Raedwald’s dreams shift like the ever more violent tremors of the earth beneath his feet.

The present starts eerily to mirror the past as Cat must fight to protect her safety, and to forge a new path from the ashes of her old life…

 

Christina has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Prologue

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Book Extract: The Chameleon Killer Mystery by Gina Cheyne

Please join me in welcoming Gina Cheyne to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Chameleon Killer Mystery.

Who is the Chameleon Killer?

When you are having a really bad day, drink yourself legless, abuse everyone around you, pass out and try again tomorrow.

Trouble is; every day is bad in Rupert Fletcher’s world. He threatens his ex-wife, mocks his girlfriend, abuses his neighbours, and gets into a fight in the pub.

Next day, he is found dead.

Who’d want to kill him? Well, almost everybody, but it looks like only one person did. The police arrest his ex-wife’s therapist, Anthony.

Anthony’s family claim he is innocent and employ the SeeMs Detective Agency to find the real killer.

Cat, Miranda, and Stevie uncover clues that point them back to an intricate web of family injuries and an unexpected connection between the victim and his killer.

Could Rupert’s murderer be The Chameleon Killer, who has already killed before and is bent on revenge? They need to act fast before the killer strikes again.

*****

 

Gina has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy.

 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

This extract is about the anti-hero Rupert. His girl-friend Drina has just bought him some food (he has spent all his money on booze). Instead of eating it he goes in to see his neighbour, an old woman.

 Once the car boot was full of bags of food, Drina drove Rupert round to his flat. As she dropped him outside, she repeated, ‘OK, so stay off the booze and get some sleep. And start looking for a job.’

Rupert inclined his head politely. He watched her drive off round the corner, making sure she was well out of sight before he picked up the bags of food. Grinning impishly, he headed for a flat on the ground floor at the back of his block. He knocked and yelled loudly through the door.

‘Hello. Mrs Cartwright. How are you today?’

After a long wait he heard a dragging sound in the flat, as though someone was heaving a heavy parcel. Eventually, after extensive clunking, the door opened a slit, and an old woman peered out, her face looking anxious.

‘Who is it?’

‘Hello, Mrs Cartwright. It’s me, Rupert. I brought you the shopping you wanted.’

He lifted the bags and waved them so she could see them through the slit.

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Book Extract: A Cocktail To Die For by Helen Golden

I’m so pleased to be welcoming Helen Golden back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel, A Cocktail To Die For.

Cocktails, chaos, and an unexpected twist. Can Perry and his hens unveil the truth before time runs out?

Death at Prestigious Hotel and Spa, Chasingham House

We are hearing reports that a young woman has been found dead at Chasingham House, the exclusive venue in the Cotswolds. She has not been named, and the cause of death is unknown at this time. This will no doubt cast a cloud over the bachelor weekend being hosted there by Lady Beatrice (36), the Countess of Rossex, for her business partner Perry Juke (34) ahead of his wedding to bestselling author and celebrity chef Simon Lattimore (40). Also staying at Chasingham House are top models Camile Redmaine (35) and Mel Parks (35), who are celebrating newly-single Cammy’s birthday with a group of friends.

When one of the birthday girls is found dead in her room, it’s clear Bea plans for her, Perry, and their friends to chill around the pool, have a few treatments, and generally relax, seem to have gone down the drain. When the local police are quick to dismiss the death as an accident, Bea is determined to help investigate anyway, along with the rest of Perry’s party.

Can Perry and his hens catch the killer before the weekend is over and the trail goes cold?

 

Helen has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Lady Beatrice and her business partner Perry Juke are at Chasingham House, an exclusive hotel and spa in the peaceful Cotswolds, for his bachelor weekend. Among Perry’s hens is DCI Emma McKeer Adler from PaIRS and they are all looking forward to a relaxing weekend. But when the dead body of a guest is discovered, the hotel manager asks Emma if she will step in and secure the crime scene until the local CID arrive…

“It’s okay, chief inspector. I’ll take over from here.”

Em looked up and found herself face to face with a bald man of about fifty who was only a few inches taller than her.

“Detective Chief Inspector Alan Rivers from Chase CID.” He held out his hand.

Em took it, trying not to recoil when her hand found itself in a clammy grip.

Meed stepped forward. “We were just—”

Rivers held up his hand, and Meed fell silent. “I’m here now, sergeant, so I’ll decide what you do next. Understand?”

Rude!

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Book Extract: Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora

Please join me in celebrating the publication of Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora – ten speculative tales. It’s been edited by R.A. Clarke. 

Green thumbs beware. Plants are beautiful, peaceful, abundant, and life-sustaining. But what if something sinister took root in the soil, awakening to unleash slashing thorns, squeezing vines, or haunting greenery that lured you in?

Perhaps blooms on distant planets could claim your heart, hitch a ride to Earth on a meteor, or simply poison you with their essence. Imagine a world where scientists produced our own demise in a lab, set spores free to infect, even bred ferns to be our friends only to witness the privilege perverted.

When faced with botanical terror, will humanity fight to survive, or will they curl and wither like leaves in the fall? Read ten speculative tales ripe with dangerous flora to find out.

 

Josephine Queen has very kindly shared an extract from her story, The Koi Pond. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

The Koi Pond by Josephine Queen. A mother and son escape their troubled home life, taking a stroll through a garden that devolves into horror around them.

 

There was something Thea had forgotten. Something vital. But she put it aside for the moment and stared at the painting. Vivid green leaves crowded together on the concrete strut in front of her, intricate graffiti standing at least tenmetres high. There were more struts beyond this one, more paintings, each one as gorgeous as the next, but this one had captured Thea’s attention. Felix leaned against her, his head tilted back to see to the top of the painting. His weight against her legs warmed her, even in the shadowed enclave beneath the highway bridge.

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Book Extract: The Silent House of Sleep by Allan Gaw

Please join me in welcoming Allan Gaw to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for The Silent House of Sleep.

‘No one likes death. It just happens to be our business.’

Nobody who meets Dr Jack Cuthbert forgets him. Tall, urbane, brilliant but damaged, this Scottish pathologist who works with Scotland Yard is the best the new DCI has seen. But Cuthbert is a man who lives with secrets, and he still battles demons brought back from the trenches.

When not one but two corpses are discovered in a London park in 1929, Cuthbert must use every tool at his disposal to solve the mystery of their deaths. In the end, the horrifying truth is more shocking than even he could have imagined.

As he works the case, Cuthbert realises that history rarely stays in the past. And even in the final moments, there is still one last revelation that leaves him reeling.

 

Allan has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

This is the opening section of the novel where we meet the protagonist, the Scottish pathologist Dr Jack Cuthbert, for the first time as he rises to give his expert testimony in an Old Bailey murder trial.

London: December 1928

The rich, oak-panelled room with its high vaulted ceiling of white stucco was designed both to impress and intimidate. High above the courtroom on the domed roof was the gilded figure of a Greek goddess, Themis. Her golden arms outstretched, she bore her sword in one hand and her scales to balance justice in the other. But, contrary to common belief, she wore no blindfold. Justice in this courtroom was delivered with open eyes, and the judge presiding had his fixed firmly on Cuthbert as he rose from the seats in the well of the court to take the stand.

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Book Extract: The Asymmetric Man by Alex Rushton

I’m pleased to be welcoming Alex Rushton to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for The Asymmetric Man.

Embark on a gripping journey of sacrifice and self-discovery in The Asymmetric Man, a thrilling tale set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Vietnam War.

Follow Blake, a young recruit turned undercover agent, as he navigates the treacherous world of espionage, survival and forbidden love.

From war-ravaged Saigon to seemingly impenetrable jungle and the tranquillity of a Buddhist monastery, this riveting novel explores the power of recognising and embracing one’s true calling, no matter the cost.

 
 
Alex has shared an extract from The Asymmetric Man today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

In this extract Blake Carter, undercover MI6 agent in Vietnam in 1967, makes contact with Tranter, who is to supply him with the names and details of Blake’s Viet Cong assassination targets.

 

Chapter 5

Blake decided it was time to make contact with Tranter, using the recognition protocol described in the file he had found in Coulter’s flat. He was aware of the risk; the file might have been found, decoded and replaced for Blake to find, in which case tonight’s meeting would be a trap. However, he had no choice. To approach Tranter in any other way than the one agreed would only raise his suspicions. Blake entered El Paraiso bar on the first Wednesday in June. As before, it was thick with cigarette smoke and smelling of alcohol. Blake stood at the bar. He had a drink and surveyed the area, again evaluating possible escape routes.  He immediately recognised Tranter from Coulter’s description, a portly, balding man in a crumpled soiled white suit, with a cigarette between his fingers. The only other people were a few locals, absorbed in conversation. It seemed like as good a time as any. Blake took a deep breath and seized the moment.

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Book Extract: A Christmas Carol with Grandfather Time by Rose English

I’m pleased to be welcoming Rose English to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her book, A Christmas Carol with Grandfather Time. It’s been illustrated by Pablo Rodriguez.

A modern lyrical re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic for children of all ages. Young Ebenezer hates sharing and is not very caring. Can a magical clock and a ghost puppy help him mend his ways?

#SharingIsCaring

**At least £1 from every book purchased will go towards donating a book to each child in Hereford County Hospital over the Christmas Season 2023**

 

Rose has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy and consider buying the book for the young book lover in your life. 

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Book Extract: To Kill a Consul by Robert M. Kidd

I’m pleased to be welcoming Robert M. Kidd to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his novel, To Kill a Consul.

217 BC. The Gauls are restless. Where is the wealth, plunder and lands they were promised? Hannibal’s army has become little more than a burden to be fed and quartered … as welcome as a plague of locusts. Assassination plots abound as Hannibal is driven to take desperate measures to evade the assassin’s knife.

If Hannibal is to appease the Gauls he must act fast. The invasion of Italia must not be delayed – his very life depends on it – but as that winter of winters fades into memory he is faced with a stark choice. Should he strike east towards the plains of Umbria and face consul Gnaeus Servilius Geminus’ legions holed up inside the unassailable walls of Ariminum? Or strike westwards into the plunder-rich lands of Etruria?

Consul Gaius Flaminius’ legions guard the western approaches. If any man can fire the bellies of Gauls with loathing it’s Flaminius. But there is one other whose blood runs cold at the mention of the name. Flaminius ordered the brutal murder of Sphax’s parents and Sphax has sworn a sacred oath to seek revenge. Can Hannibal trust the leader of his Numidian cavalry, or will this blood feud cloud his judgement? Sooner or later Sphax will have to face his inner demons.

*****

 

Robert has stared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Spring 217 BC – For days Hannibal’s invading army have been trekking wearily westwards over the mountain passes of the Apennines with Sphax and his Numidians scouting ahead. Their aim is to reach the flat coastal plain bordering the Tyrrhenian (Mediterranean) sea where thy will turn south for Arretium (modern Arezzo).

But first they have to cross something the army has been dreading for weeks: the Arno marshes. Today, all that’s left of these vast wetlands west of Florence is the Fucecchio Marshlands, north of San Maniato (it’s still Italy’s biggest inland marsh!). In 217 BC it was a vast watery graveyard for unwary travelers!

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Book Extract: The Last Train from Paris by Juliet Greenwood

I’m pleased to be welcoming Juliet Greenwood to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Last Train from Paris.

For Iris, each visit to her mother in St Mabon’s Cove, Cornwall has been the same – a serene escape from the city. But today, as she breathes in the salt air on the doorstep of her beloved childhood home, a heavy weight of anticipation settles over her. Iris knows she’s adopted, but any questions about where she came from have always been shut down by her parents, who can’t bear to revisit the past.

Now, Iris can’t stop thinking about what she’s read on the official paperwork: BABY GIRL, FRANCE, 1939 – the year war was declared with Nazi Germany.

When Iris confronts her mother, she hits the same wall of pain and resistance as whenever she mentions the war. That is, until her mother tearfully hands her an old tin of letters, tucked neatly beside a delicate piece of ivory wool.

Retreating to the loft, Iris steels herself to at last learn the truth, however painful it might be. But, as she peels back each layer of history before her, a sensation of dread grows inside her. The past is calling, and its secrets are more intricate and tangled than Iris could ever have imagined.

The year is 1939, and in Paris, France a young woman is about to commit a terrible betrayal… 

A beautifully written and addictively compelling historical novel about the terrible choices ordinary people were forced to make in the horrors of World War Two. If you loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Alice Network and The Nightingale, you will devour this book.

 

Juliet has shared an extract from the novel with us today. We hope you enjoy! 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

This is from fairly near the beginning of the novel. In France, Sabine has sent one of her twin girls to London with her friend Nora, in a desperate bid to save the baby’s life. Now with her remaining twin, Sabine has refused to go into the heart of Nazi Germany with her ambitious husband Emil, only to find herself having to suddenly flee her ancient family home just outside Paris with her mother and grandmother (Mémé) as the invading German army advances towards them…

 

Sabine, France, 1940

How do you pack a life in a few minutes? How do you pack for survival, for as long as you might need it? Sabine’s brain froze at the enormity of the task. She could see from the pallor of her mother’s face that she felt the same.

First things first.

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Book Extract: Out of Sight by Anna Legat

Please help me to welcome Anna Legat to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Out of Sight. 

On the morning after his thirtieth wedding anniversary Stewart Harding is found dead. He was an arrogant and thoroughly unpleasant man and there is no shortage of suspects, but all of them have firm alibis. In any case, everything points towards it being an opportunistic killing linked to a robbery.

Newly promoted DI Mark Webber is assigned as the SIO with Gillian Marsh overseeing the investigation. However, when her mother dies, she takes leave of absence and lets Webber continue on his own.

Webber is making good progress until his colleague – and secret lover – DC Erin Macfadyen disappears without trace. Webber’s world falls apart.

DCI Marsh cuts her bereavement leave short to take over the investigation into Stewart Harding’s death and to track down her missing officer.

There is no doubt that she will find Harding’s killer, but will she find Erin and are the two cases connected?

 

Anna has shared an extract from her novel, Out of Sight today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Webber glowed like a firefly. He reciprocated Erin’s soppy look, his eyebrow magnanimously elevated. How he fancied himself the god-father figure, the sod! These days he even looked like Marlon Brando’s version of Corleone with threads of grey highlights in his swept-back hair. It suited him, like the DI label. It would go with his expensive taste in clothes. Not to mention that at last he had been empowered to lead. He would be good at it. Gillian may just delegate some of her newly-acquired responsibilities to him – to let him have a go.

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Book Extract: The Sardinian Story by Francesca Scanacapra

Please join me in welcoming Francesca Scanacapra back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel, The Sardinian Story.

Apennine Mountains, Italy, 1965

Leonora Bacchetti was once a happy child. But at the age of seventeen she has become a wild and rebellious young woman who leaves her parents in despair when she runs away from home with a group of itinerant travellers.

In the eyes of their friends and neighbours in the tight-knit village of Montacciolo, her parents’ good name is ruined.

At first, Leonora keeps in touch with her mother and father, sending letters and postcards from different countries until, very abruptly, her correspondence stops. The girl has vanished.

Vague, unreliable rumours of her fate abound, but newspaper appeals, police and private investigations reveal nothing.

Until, eighteen years later, in the midst of a snowstorm, a stranger from Sardinia knocks on the door of Leonora’s father’s little mountain house.

Now a widower, he has come to terms with never knowing what happened to his daughter. But everything changes when the unexpected visitor claims that he has new information.

The two men quickly bond and gradually begin to piece together the truth about Lenora, provoking deep questions about her life and how they have lived their own – questions about love, loyalty, honesty and what being a family really means.

The Sardinian Story is a novel of exquisite power and deep emotion which will live long in the memories of its readers.

 

Sit back and enjoy as Francesca shares an extract today. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

This extract is taken from Chapter 1. Dante Bacchetti is going through his daily routine in his tiny house on a mountainside. It’s cold outside and he’s hungry, and he is preparing his meal when he is interrupted by a knock at the door. A visitor at this time is a huge shock…

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Book Extract: Wait For You by Lianne La Borde

I’m pleased to be welcoming Lianne La Borde to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Wait For You. 

Three years after their brutal breakup she shows up on Dylan’s driveway the day he’s moving in with his new fiancée. He doesn’t know why she left him, or why she’s now appeared out of the blue, but he does know he never stopped loving her.

Time heals all, or so they say, but a row about the past ends in a horrific car crash. With his soulmate’s life hanging in the balance, Dylan leaps back in time to the turning points of their relationship.

Given the chance to do things differently, can he make the one change that will save her?

Dylan’s engaged.

He’s moved on, and April vowed he’ll never know the real reason she fled to San Francisco – he’d never forgive her. But now she’s lying in a coma. Stuck in the past, reliving their intense love story and unable to stop him from discovering her secrets.

How did two lovers end up here?

Trapped in a terrifying moment, can they ever find their way back to each other?

 

Get that drink and find that comfortable chair as Lianne has shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

April went quiet, resting her head on my shoulder as we leant on the bridge, breathing in a concoction of exhaust fumes and sea air.

‘I wanted to call you, Dylan,’ she sighed, staring down into the choppy, dark water. ‘More than anything. But I just… couldn’t.’

‘OK, well that question has been killing me for three years, so please, put me out of my misery.’

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Book Extract: The Promise Tree by Elisabeth J. Hobbes

I’m happy to be welcoming Elisabeth J. Hobbes to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel, The Promise Tree. 

When does a story begin?

For Edwin Hope, it begins with a childhood dare and a forbidden tree. It begins with him falling … in more ways than one.

Called home from his studies by the grandfather who has always hated him, eighteen-year-old Edwin is once again trapped in a house that is colder than the winds whipping across the fields. Seeking sanctuary, he escapes into the untamed beauty of the Peaks and meets a woman who sparks an old memory. A memory of the sycamore that broke him, and the little girl who saved him.

Drusilla has had many acolytes over the centuries but none like Edwin. With the Great War looming and Edwin’s future uncertain, she knows the right thing to do is to set him free from her spell, but can she do so if it means breaking her own heart?

 

Elisabeth has shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

After more than a decade of living with his aunt and uncle in Yorkshire Edwin has been summoned back (unwillingly) to Cheshire by his grandfather to begin learning about the family silk business.  His grandfather is not there when he arrives so he goes to visit his parents’ graves in the local churchyard and on the way back he sees the sycamore tree that he had been obsessed with as a child.

There was the sycamore tree that stood alone on the top of the mound. This was the tree he had climbed and from which he had fallen. He remembered now how fascinated he had been by it and his pulse fluttered briefly. He was barely conscious of the decision to detour and walk via the tree before returning to the house through the meadow, but he found himself taking that route. Stanley, the old horse, was standing in the centre of the field, head down and grazing. He lifted his head and regarded Edwin solemnly before turning away and walking down to his stable.

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Book Extract: A Scottish Island Surprise by Holly Wyld

I’m pleased to be welcoming Holly Wyld to Novel Kicks and the blog tour to her book, A Scottish Island Surprise – a Primrose Island Novella. 

“Far as I’m aware–” Joe said, dropping his head briefly, the better to compose his features, “–far as I’m aware, Miss, we’ve no rabies in the Hebrides at the moment.”

Rose Mackie has inherited a house on a far-flung Scottish island from her curmudgeon of a father who wanted nothing whatsoever to do with her.

So she lands on Primrose Island with the intention of packing up the old beach house, selling it to the first person who’ll make an offer, and moving firmly on. But Joe Fraser, her late father’s neighbour, has some inconvenient news for her on that front.

Rose prepares for battle – only to find that the longer she spends on Primrose Island, and the more time she spends around Joe in particular, the more she begins to question everything she thought she knew…

 

Holly has shared an extract with us today. You know what to do – grab that drink, the comfortable chair and enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

The Island Castle – Book 5, Primrose Island Novellas

The spectacular Dornie Castle across the tidal causeway from Primrose Island has a trio of new owners: the Hansen brothers from Norway.

The brothers won the castle in a dubious bet – but unfortunately for the old castle, none of them are remotely serious about becoming its custodians.

Hackles are raising and feathers are ruffling all over the island. But none of that is going to stop Elspeth McGillicuddy from embarking on a match-making frenzy. Because if Elspeth McGillicuddy can find each of these bachelor brothers a romantic match on Primrose Island?

Well, they might very well decide to stick around… mightn’t they?

Extract: Chapter One

 The room was sombre and dimly lit and redolent with the masculine scent of leather and cigars.

And tonight, this sombre masculine room – it had been their grandfather’s study – was rendered all the more solemn because their grandfather, Lars Hansen, one of Norway’s wealthiest shipping titans, the founding father of HansenLine International – was dead.

Four men in black suits, their expressions heavy with grief, were seated around a table in the dead man’s study.

The man’s son.

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Book Extract: Under a Gilded Sky by Imogen Martin

I am pleased to be welcoming Imogen Martin to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her novel, Under a Gilded Sky.

In this epic and unforgettable love story, set in the wilds of Missouri and the glamour of high society Boston at the dawn of the Gilded Age, one woman’s life changes forever the day that a stranger turns up on her doorstep.

Missouri, February 1874: The last thing struggling homesteader Ginny needs is a scandal on her hands. But when a badly injured drifter arrives at Snow Farm in desperate need of medical attention, Ginny’s kind nature and good upbringing means she has no choice but to treat his wounds and care for him until he’s back on his feet, no matter the danger he might pose.

Ginny’s been running the farm and looking after her fourteen-year-old sister Mary-Lou since their papa died two years ago, each morning pulling on his old leather coat and pushing her feet into stout boots that come up to her knees, before heading out to tend to the cattle. She’s determined to hold onto the one thing that connects them to memories of their parents – whatever the cost. And when their uninvited guest – Lex – is well enough he offers his help, and she surprises herself by accepting it.

But not long after Lex moves on, Ginny realises that her heart has gone with him. And when the farm’s fortunes take a turn for the worse, she faces her hardest test yet. Can she save the only home she’s ever known, and everything she holds dear? And what if doing so means risking a chance at love and happiness she never expected to come her way?

 

Imogen has shared an extract with us today so you know the drill – coffee/tea, comfortable chair and enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Intro:

This is part way through the second chapter. Mary Lou has brought an injured man to their isolated rural homestead. Ginny is concerned that her 14-year-old sister doesn’t understand the danger this man might bring them, given it is just the two of them who live there.

 

Snow Farm, Missouri—February 1874

 

Ginny lifted out a screw-top jar and some bandages. “This is comfrey and elder salve. It will take down the swelling.”

The man nodded his approval and Ginny massaged the milky-colored gel into his ankle. The astringent smell filled the room.

“Sir, when d’you last eat?” Mary Lou asked.

He looked up at her, as if remembering there was a second young woman in the room. “Not for a few days.”

“I’ll get you something.” Mary Lou glanced at Ginny for approval to return to the kitchen and Ginny nodded.

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Book Extract: Dating Little Miss Perfect by Cassandra O’Leary

Dating Little Miss PerfectPlease join me in welcoming Cassandra O’Leary to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Dating Little Miss Perfect.

On an anonymous online dating app, LittleMissPerfect meets HotAussie007 and it’s love at first click. In real life, a smart but spiky woman in STEM, research scientist, Dr Eden, meets a laid-back Aussie marketing manager, Finn, at the big pharma company where they both work in California. They’re forced to compete for special projects funding, and both their jobs are on the line.

Eden just wants to win at science and in life. It’s not happening! She can’t stand Finn’s too-cool-for-school, nice guy act, or his delectable forearms that keep invading her space. While Finn is stupidly attracted to Eden, when she’s not telling him off, he isn’t free to pursue her. He’s stuck in the worst position in his professional life, and doesn’t see a clear way out. He can’t tell her the whole truth about what’s going on at work or in his personal life. . . or it could all blow up in his face.

When they realise the truth about their online alter egos, dating is off the table. Can they ignore their inconvenient attraction, and work together to take down their unethical boss? Or will intense rivalry cause their IRL work lives and online love lives to collide and explode like a science experiment gone wrong?

 

 

Cassandra has shared an extract with us today so grab that drink, those biscuits, a comfy chair and enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

The following excerpt is from Chapter Two of Dating Little Miss Perfect, © Copyright Cassandra O’Leary, 2023. Reproduced and shared with permission of the author.

This chapter starts in the hero, Finn’s, point of view. He’s just received the latest in a series of flirty online messages from LittleMissPerfect, an anonymous prospect on the dating app he’s using. They are yet to meet in real life. But it’s his cranky work rival, Dr Eden, who is on his mind. And later, we find out Finn is on Eden’s mind too! They work in a big pharma company in California, and they’re being forced to compete for special projects funding and to collaborate, to a certain extent.

LittleMissPerfect: Where are you taking me on our date, big shot? Downtown?

Finn stared at his phone in the palm of one hand while rubbing the back of his neck with the other. LittleMissPerfect’s opening gambit was a tease. Normally, he’d fire back, saying he’d love to take her downtown. Get down and dirty. But today? Another woman occupied his thoughts like an invading army.

Cupcakes? Doctor Eden bakes cupcakes?

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Book Extract: The Accidental Housemate by Sal Thomas

I am pleased to welcome Sal Thomas to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Accidental Housemate.

Cath Beckinsale is in a jam. She’s a single mum of three, with her 40th birthday in sight and a precarious hold on employment. And she can’t quite let go of her late husband Gaz, whose ashes are still in an urn on the kitchen table.

To make ends meet a student lodger seems like the perfect solution – after all, what’s one more child in the house? But when Dan flies in from the US, complete with guitar and chest hair on display, it’s immediately clear that he’s no teenager, but someone who quickly sends life in an unexpected direction.

 

Sal has shared an extract today. We hope you enjoy it. 

(Warning: Language.) 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Widower and mum of three Cath has agreed to take in a student lodger to help make ends meet. Recommended him by a colleague, she spends a tipsy evening with best friend Sindy looking up the American teenager she thinks she’s getting, as well as ogling over a same-name-but-different-state guy. However, a misunderstanding about Kansas vs Arkansas means she’s in for a surprise….

Of course, it’s only the following weekend as I’m on the way to the airport that the full force of what I’ve let myself in for comes rushing at me like a tidal wave of WTAF? I’ve left Jack and Eric at home with Sindy, who assured me that inviting someone I know barely anything about to come and live in my house, without so much as having had a conversation with him, is a great idea. I guess it happens all the time on Airbnb, right? Still, my stomach is doing all manner of odd things as I pull into the car park.

Minutes after I get to the gate a stream of people starts to emerge from the exit, their weary faces lighting up as they spot waiting relatives. I check the photo of Dan I saved to my phone. No sign yet, but he’s probably slowly lolloping his way from the plane, peering through his hair curtains and taking in a brand-new country. As I’m watching it all unfold, a man, I’d say in his mid-thirties, emerges from the exit carrying a large rucksack and a guitar. He’s over six-feet tall and archetypically handsome, a mop of loose brown curls framing an elfin face rescued from femininity by a defined jaw and strong straight brows. His cheeks dimple as he smiles at the striking young air stewardess walking alongside him. I can’t make out what he’s saying, but she is lapping it up as she overtly throws her head back in amusement and lightly touches him on the arm.

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Book Extract and Review: Mysteries at Sea: Peril on the Atlantic by A.M. Howell

I am pleased to be welcoming A.M. Howell to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, Peril on the Atlantic, part of the Mysteries at Sea series. 

July, 1936. As the Queen Mary sets sail across the Atlantic, Alice can’t wait for the summer of adventure that lies ahead. She’s excited to explore the huge ship, with its shops, animals and even celebrities on board.

As Alice’s sailor father focuses on winning a prestigious race, she witnesses a shocking attack. Alice and her new friend Sonny start to uncover a dark plot to sabotage the race, and as they investigate gold bars, anonymous notes and lost silk gloves, secrets in their own lives come to the surface.

While fog threatens the boat’s journey, and dangerous enemies show themselves, Alice and Sonny are in their own race to solve all the mysteries unfolding. But what they discover might change both their lives forever…

 

I have reviewed the book bel0w but first, here is an extract from the book. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

A buzz of anticipation and excitement made Alice’s fingers tingle, as she stepped away from the station platform and onto the dock. Grey smoke puffed lazily from the red and black-tipped funnels of the Queen Mary into the hot July air, like three simmering pots preparing to boil. She sucked in a breath of awe. It was the largest vessel she had ever seen, its riveted hull so tall it blotted out the sun. Her father had said that, if the ship was placed vertically from bow to stern, it would even be taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

Looking around, Alice saw that the other passengers from the train she had travelled on to Southampton docks had already hurried off to the baggage hall, leaving her alone. She glanced at her watch. Her father had promised to meet her from the train and he was late. As she looked for him, the clamour of noise was like a discordant band as motor cars expelled expectant passengers, and giant cranes with claw-like feet sent packages cocooned in rope nets into the ship’s cavernous hold.

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Book Extract: The Mystery of the Homeless Man by Gina Cheyne

Please join me in welcoming Gina Cheyne to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Mystery of the Homeless Man, book three in the SeeMS Detective Agency series. 

Why would an airline pilot exchange a world of comfort for life on the streets?

In 2006, Miranda meets an itinerant in the wood, she takes him home. He refuses to stay, desperate to return to the streets. Miranda gives him some money and forgets the incident.

Fifteen years later, the SeeMs Detective Agency is investigating an abandoned house and discovers a homeless man was found there: murdered.

No one knows who the dead man is or how he died, and, with one hundred and fifty unidentified street deaths per year, no one has time to find out.

But, the SeeMs Detectives have both time and a client.

Their investigation takes them into a surprising world of aviation, night-clubs and the homeless.

What they discover threatens one of their team. Can they save their colleague before the homeless man’s killer strikes again?

*****

 

Gina has shared an extract from The Mystery of the Homeless Man with us today. Enjoy! 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Stevie is interviewing Amy as a possible suspect for the Neil (homeless man) ’s death. This extract is Amy, who is an airline pilot, describing her engagement to Neil and why she broke it off.

‘Poor Neil.’ Amy blew out heavily. ‘OK. He had a lot of charm,’ she added, almost as though she was talking to herself. ‘He did have something, but, you know, once a drunk always a drunk. He was dangerous. He would drive drunk. I’d never do that.’

Her hand automatically moved to the little scar on her hairline. Stevie wondered if she got that from Neil, but Amy was still talking.

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Book Extract: End Game by Liz Mistry

I am so pleased to be welcoming Liz Mistry to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, End Game.

Four dead bodies. One missing person. Let the game begin.

When an anonymous tip-off leads Detective Nikki Parekh and DS Sajid Malik to the sprawling Salinger estate, Nikki’s senses are on high alert. The brutal murder of all four members of the Salinger family has shocked the sleepy Bradford village to the core.

A mother, father, daughter, and son. . .  all killed in exactly the same way – whilst sat around the coffee table, playing a game of monopoly.

But Nikki notices that there are five pieces on the board. One of the players is missing… Did they manage to escape the killer, or was the killer part of the game?

 

Liz has shared an extract today so grab that drink, find that comfy chair and enjoy! 

(warning: language.)

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Prologue

Then: Marnie

It is the hottest day of the summer yet. That shimmering heat idling just above the grass. Even in my shorts and strappy T-shirt, just looking at it makes me feel sticky and tired. I want to laze under the massive spreading oak tree with my colouring books. Just sit quietly, with my own thoughts. Starting high school after the summer holidays preys on my mind. Such a big step. Such a massive change. I’ll be leaving my friends behind because, despite my arguments, they’ve decided the local comprehensive school isn’t good enough for me. I don’t get it. If it’s good enough for my friends then why isn’t it good enough for me? Do Mum and Dad think I deserve more than Alice or Fiona? That feels wrong to me.

Anyway, this was day five of my war against the parents. I’d tried arguing, I’d tried pleading and nothing had worked. Today I was trying silence. The only problem is my annoying little sister Jilly. Why can’t she just find something to do that doesn’t involve annoying me? God she is soooo lame. Sooooo annoying. There she is trundling out the back door, a plastic bag filled with picnic stuff hanging off her wrist and a smile as wide as one of those arches on the viaduct we’d visited the other week. I edge my way round the foot of the tree till I am out of view of the kitchen window and tuck my legs out of sight.

‘Marnie. Marnie. I know you’re there. I saw you crawl behind the tree. I’ve brought snacks.’

Aw shut up, Jilly. The heat is making me mardy and Jilly always brings out the worst in me. She’s always there. If she isn’t harping on at me about something, she’s following me and my pals around like a stupid collie dog desperate for a pat. I hate her sometimes. Sometimes I really, really hate her.

‘I know today’s your “not speaking to anyone day”, but you still got to eat, Marn. I’ve got ice lollies.’

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Book Extract: The Starlight Stables Gang by Esme Higgs and Jo Cotterill

I am so happy be welcoming Esme Higgs and Jo Cotterill to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for The Starlight Stables Gang – book one in a brand new series. 

Summer has always loved horses but she never thought she’d be able to learn how to ride them – not with money being so tight at home. Then she discovers the Starlight Stables where she meets a new gang of friends and learns how to ride in return for helping-out with the horses. It’s a dream come true!

Summer falls in love with life at the stables and especially with Luna, a beautiful dapple-grey pony. But one day, Summer arrives at the stables to find that Luna has been stolen in the night. It’s up to the Starlight Stables Gang to follow the clues and rescue Luna before it’s too late!

Full of fun, friendship and and mystery, this is the first book in the brand-new Starlight Stables Gang series. Beautifully illustrated by Hannah George.

*****

I’ve reviewed the novel below but first, Esme and Jo have shared an extract from The Starlight Stables Gang with us today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

I start to wash my hands, scanning the row of basins. I can’t see two girls talking to each other about horses. Have they already gone? My heart is beating fast. I wonder if I should dash out into the corridor to search for them. And then I get a grip of myself. For goodness’ sake, Summer! What would you do, anyway? Throw yourself on them and sob, ‘I love horses too, can I come rind ride yours?’

And then, while I’m standing there, soap on my hands, paralysed with indecision and embarrassment — a couple of girls are looking at me weirdly — I hear the second voice again. ‘Jessie? You still in here?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Me too.’

They giggle. And then two cubicle doors open at the same time and the girls come out, and I know instantly which one is Jessie because I’ve seen her in assembly. She has long black hair and she sometimes wears lip gloss, which is totally illegal in school but I think she gets away with it.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but my heart sinks a little because Jessie looks exactly like the kind of girl who would have her own pony.

The other girl is short and stocky and has a cloud of orange hair. I don’t know her name. My school is so big. ‘Are you going there again after school today?’ she asks Jessie as they come over to the basins and plonk down their bags.

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Book Extract: Mrs Bambi Knows by Chris Mason

I am pleased to be welcoming Chris Mason to Novel Kicks. He’s here with the blog tour for his novel, Mrs Bambi Knows.

In a small town in Oregon, everyone wants to kill the local advice columnist, Mrs Bambi. If only they knew who she was.

Mrs Bambi’s advice is so snarky that people have long since stopped asking for it. Instead she eavesdrops on conversations and writes the letters herself. The readers would lynch her, but no one knows who she is.

In fact, Mrs. Bambi is not a woman. The column is written by Richard, a quiet widower with a young daughter.
The uneventful part of Richard’s life is nearly over: he begins dating Pam, a well-known realtor and a sports addict. When people begin to learn the identity of Mrs. Bambi, Richard is threatened and humiliated in public. Despite the pleas of his editor, his friends, and Pam, he refuses to stop writing the column.
The only thing that can prevent disaster is for the town to finally learn the whole truth about Richard, which is much larger than the simple mystery of Mrs. Bambi.

Set in 1995, Chris Mason’s skillful storytelling brings a tale of humour and romance – and not a little peril – charmingly to life in the mind of the reader.

 

Chris has shared an extract today. Enjoy! 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

The advice (agony aunt) column in a small town newspaper is written by a widower using the alias Mrs. Bambi. Because no one will ask him for advice anymore, he eavesdrops on peoples’ conversations and writes the questions and the answers himself. Every chapter in the book begins with one of the advice columns. Here’s an example.

Dear Mrs. Bambi:

My mother is sick, but not as sick as she thinks she is. She’s an incurable hypochondriac, and I think it’s going to kill me.

Last week her vision went blurry. She called me at one in the morning, hours after I’d gone to bed, to tell me she had an eye tumor. I drove over and cleaned her glasses for her.

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Book Extract: Agent Pangolin by AC Bradburn

I am pleased to be welcoming AC Bradburn to Novel Kicks. They are here with their novel, Agent Pangolin. 

Sunda is a pangolin on a mission. Her family has been taken by poachers, she’s been ripped away from her beloved Sumatran rainforest and now the beautiful nature reserve that she calls home in London is about to be destroyed by humans. But there’s no way she’s going to let that happen.

Sunda becomes an animal secret agent for the mysterious ‘Web of Light’ and discovers an ancient legend that could help save her home.

Can she solve the mystery of the shiny moon before it’s too late? With beautiful illustrations by Julia Vasileva, this is a magical story of courage, friendship and justice for the natural world.

 

AC Bradburn has shared an extract today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

THUD!

A ginormous paw bashed Sunda’s back. She was drenched with fear.

THUD!

And again, THUD!

She recited the pangolin mantra: curl up, hold firm, don’t relax for one second. That was the pangolin way – at the first sign of danger, roll into a protective ball and wait for the threat to pass. Wincing as the paw struck yet again, she kept her long tail firmly clasped around her head. Her tough, chestnut brown scales gave her the perfect suit of armour. Then the snuffling began – probing, teasing, searching for a way in, first with claws, then with teeth. She held her breath. Eventually a slobbery tongue wrapped around her scales and propelled her across the forest floor. She came to rest at the foot of a giant meranti tree, perched on one of its roots like a stranded soursop.

The tiger cub came at her again, lolloping over the crisp, dry leaves. It grunted, so close that Sunda could feel its steamy breath. A slimy globule of saliva oozed down over her scales and onto the ground. She hadn’t managed to get a proper look but it seemed like a young one, hopefully too small to break her defences. But the cub’s parents couldn’t be far away and the thought of a fully-grown Sumatran tiger sent a fresh burst of terror through her scales.

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Book Extract: The Contraband Killings by Lucienne Boyce

I am pleased to be welcoming Lucienne Boyce to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for The Contraband Killings: A Dan Foster Mystery.

Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is sent to collect smuggler Watcyn Jones from Beaumaris Gaol on Anglesey, and bring him back to London for trial at the Old Bailey. As if having to travel to the wilds of North Wales isn’t bad enough, Dan is saddled with an inexperienced constable as his interpreter and assistant. At least it’s a routine assignment and shouldn’t take more than a few days.

But when the prison escort is ambushed and Watcyn Jones escapes, a straightforward transfer turns into a desperate manhunt. And as Jones’s enemies start to die, the chase becomes more urgent than ever. Dan’s search for the killer brings him up against a ruthless smuggling gang – and his chances of getting off the island alive begin to look far from promising.

 

Lucienne has shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Between 1793 and 1815 Britain was at war with revolutionary France. Faced with the very real threat of invasion as the French amassed ships and troops at key Channel ports, the government called on men to join local militias such as the Loyal Anglesea Volunteers. But the government’s enemies were not only pressing on them from the outside: there was also the enemy within, in the form of radical societies set up to campaign for political reform. Many of these groups supported the French and some were even prepared to take up arms with the revolutionary forces when they landed on British shores.

Anyone who voiced radical opinions was an object of suspicion, especially if they were spotted near military or naval installations. So when Dan Foster and his assistant, constable Goronwy Evans, hear Sampson Kirby a young English tourist, spouting anti-monarchical sentiments, and he is later seen apparently signalling to ships out at sea, they begin to wonder what he’s up to. One night they follow Kirby to the Parys Mountain copper mine, which supplies the Navy with copper sheaths to protect its ships’ hulls from the destructive attacks of marine worms and barnacles.

They followed Kirby to the outskirts of the town, where he paused and adjusted his load before setting off into the dusk. Ahead of them rose the outline of Parys Mountain. The barren landscape on either side of the dusty, rutted track was indistinct, no more than vague shapes in the darkness. No lights shone in the buildings at the top of the mountain, and the open cast was a vast, silent pit of darkness. Sulphurous smoke still belched from the kilns, but no men hammered and no rock tumbled. The wind hissed over the lifeless ground, the ropes on the windlasses creaked, and water gurgled.

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Book Excerpt: Sherlock Holmes & the Singular Affair by M. K. Wiseman

I am pleased to be welcoming M. K. Wiseman to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the book birthday blitz for her book, Sherlock Holmes & the Singular Affair.

Before Baker Street, there was Montague.

Before partnership with a former army doctor recently returned from Afghanistan, Sherlock Holmes had but the quiet company of his own great intellect. Solitary he might be but, living as he did for the thrill of the chase, it was enough.

For a little while, at the least, it was enough. 

That is, until a client arrives at his door with a desperate plea and an invitation into a world of societal scandal and stage door dandies. Thrust deep in an all-consuming role and charged with the safe-keeping of another, Holmes must own to his limits or risk danger to others besides himself in this the case of the aluminium crutch. 

 

M.K. Wiseman has shared an extract from Sherlock Holmes & the Singular Affair with us today. Enjoy! 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

Having undertaken Miss Eudora Frances Clarke’s missing man case, Sherlock Holmes does a bit of research and formulates a disguise by which he will get close to the man in question.

Chapter 6:

An overcast late-afternoon sky witnessed me leaving my rooms. Quick strides took me around the corner and up the steps of the Museum. Though the esteemed institution had never availed itself of my services—that great case was, yet, in my future—there were several present amongst the warders who knew me by sight and reputation. Thus, though in fact I carried within my pocket my pass for admission, mine was a face which could pass unchallenged when gaining entrance into that great house of culture.

Divested of coat and cane, I hunted about the large, domed room for a seat—not an easy task at such a late hour—and then took myself to the perimeter to select the materials by which I might fill my time and satisfy my brain. Not all of my aims were satiated by easy and accessible reference, however, and I was forced to make a request from one of the attendants. Passing him my form, I returned to my seat and amused myself by discerning various details of my fellow bookworms while pretending to read.

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Book Extract: The Automobile Assassination by MJ Porter

I am pleased to be welcoming MJ Porter back to Novel Kicks. 

A 1940s mystery

Erdington, September 1944

As events in Europe begin to turn in favour of the Allies, Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is once more prevailed upon to solve a seemingly impossible case.

Called to the local mortuary where a man’s body lies, shockingly bent double and lacking any form of identification, Mason and O’Rourke find themselves at Castle Bromwich aerodrome seeking answers that seem out of reach to them. The men and women of the royal air force stationed there are their prime suspects. Or are they? Was the man a spy, killed on the orders of some higher authority, or is the place his body was found irrelevant? And why do none of the men and women at the aerodrome recognise the dead man?

Mason, fearing a repeat of the cold case that dogged his career for two decades and that he’s only just solved, is determined to do all he can to uncover the identity of the dead man, and to find out why he was killed and abandoned in such a bizarre way, even as Smythe demands he spends his time solving the counterfeiting case that is leaving local shopkeepers out of pocket.

Join Mason and O’Rourke as they once more attempt to solve the impossible in 1940s Erdington.

 

MJ Porter has shared an extract from The Automobile Assassination. Enjoy! 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

In which Detective Inspector Mason and Sergeant O’Rourke encounter one of the Automobile Association’s sentry boxes.

In front of them, Mason could see old Watling Street coming into view as they travelled along Sutton Road. He caught a first glimpse of the unmistakable Automobile Association telephone box. Even it had been repainted in less lurid colours than usual because of the war effort. All the same, the road sign placed above the box was a monstrous thing as it sat atop the sentry box, decked out in camouflage green and black stripes. It drew the eye easily enough.

To the bottom, the set of double signs directed the motorcar driver, bus or motorcycle rider towards Fazeley or Hints. The higher-up signs led the traveller towards Tamworth or Lichfield, depending on which way you wanted to travel.

The signs were the same green as the telephone box was edged in, with the writing in black on them and the distance given in miles. He smirked on seeing it. He well remembered when he was a much younger man, and the signs had been more simplistic, simply highlighting the ancient milestones used for so many decades, if not centuries, and often written on what was little more than lumps of handy stone.

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Book Extract: When The Rainbow Turns Black by Peter J. Venison

I am pleased to be welcoming Peter J. Venison to Novel Kicks. He’s here with the blog tour for his book, When The Rainbow Turns Black. 

This is the epic story of four young men, born in obscurity in South Africa at the height of Apartheid. Two are white; two are black. All four achieve fame in their lifetime. It is also the story of the women in their lives, with mixed race marriage, love and deception, set against a background of huge political and social change.

Expectations are high for the new Rainbow State, but will they be met amongst the corruption and greed that is endemic? Can our four find their way in the new South Africa or will they be derailed and overcome by events beyond their control or even by their own passion? Their journey through the world of international sport, show business and politics is riddled with twists and turns as they battle to prosper in the ever changing place they call home. Can our four young men survive and prosper in the post Apartheid era or will their futures and that of their country turn black?

This is a rollercoaster ride that will keep you strapped to your seats from its humble beginning to its surprising end.

 

Peter has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy it.

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

It is January, 1970. Two little boys are starting school for the first time. They both live in Randburg, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. They are both white. One of them, Gerhadus, is quite nervous; the other, Lance, can’t wait. Randburg is a large suburb, covering several square miles and the two boys live in different areas, each with their own primary school. Gerhadus is attending the General Christian De Wet primary in Triomph and Lance, the Laeskool Jim Fourie in Crosby. They will both be taught primarily in the Afrikaans language, since their districts are heavily populated with Afrikaners, but, because English is the other official language in the country, they will also have lessons in English. They will be taught to neither speak nor write any of the other eleven languages in common use in the land of their birth; these are the languages of the native Africans, who make up 80% of the population.

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Book Extract: The Placeholder by Lynda Wolters

I am pleased to be welcoming Lynda Wolters to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel, The Placeholder. 

THE PLACEHOLDER, a mash-up of Thelma and Louise besties meet Eat, Pray, Love and Me Before You. 

Middle-aged Serenade Kincaid has lost everything: her stepchildren, her house, half her earnings, her sports car, and her husband, all to a decades younger–and more fertile–woman.

Sera now drinks boxed wine from a plastic cup as she attempts to start over from her new home, a seedy motel, as she kills time scrolling dating apps in search of a semi-decent-not-mass-murderer-please-just-spend-time-with-me port in the storm.

As Sera discontentedly leapfrogs through men, her snarky, meddling boss and sometimes-best friend, Carolyn, encourages her to focus more on finding a friend with benefits, just until Prince Charming comes along, of course. Zac fits the bill.

He’s a self-proclaimed “unsuitable boyfriend” who looks to have jumped straight from the pages of a romance novel. Zac also insists he, too is only looking for some fun, which is perfect for Sera.

Cue the booty calls. And wow, are they hitting the spot. But just when Sera is starting to figure herself out, get her life back on track and think she may have found someone, life takes a sharp left. And all fun and games come to a screeching halt.

Now, Sera, Zac, and Carolyn must race against time to disentangle their web of lies and deceit before it’s too late.

The Placeholder is an unconventional, unforgettable, unputdownable story of loss and love.

Lynda has shared an extract with us today. Enjoy! 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

I never had a sister, but I did have a best friend, and oh, did we get ourselves into some tricky situations; but we always had each other’s backs. Decades later, I still have that BFF, and while we live a thousand miles apart, we still have each other’s backs. While writing the friendship scenes in The Placeholder between Sera and Carolyn, I drew on my relationship and how crazy and daring, and trusting a good relationship is; I hope the same comes through in this fun, somewhat crazy scene where Carolyn is driving Sera’s sporty Barracuda to see Sera’s mom. Here’s the scene:

The drive north is otherwise uneventful. We rock out to seventies disco when my head and ears can handle the noise, with an occasional Etta James and requisite Pat Benatar – because no girls’ trip is complete without “Heartbreaker.”

“Detour,” I call out. “Take old Highway 7. I want to show you something.”

Carolyn follows my directions, keeping to the posted speed.

“Faster,” I blurt. We are at the bottom of a hill where the intersecting road sign reads, Greencreek 6 miles. “Go faster.”

“I’m driving at the speed limit.”

“Just do it.”

I see Carolyn push the peddle down slightly.

“Faster.”

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Book Extract: Just One Day – Autumn by Susan Buchanan

I am pleased to be welcoming Susan Buchanan back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her book,  Just One Day – Autumn. 

Pregnant Louisa is just getting back on track when life throws her another curveball. Now, it’s not a case of how she’ll get through her to-do lists but how she’ll manage being a mum again.

No one seems to understand. How will she run her company, be partner in a new venture, look after her three kids and handle a newborn? And why does everyone think this will be easy? Except her.

All Louisa wants is to be a good mum, a good wife and have a bit of time left for herself, but sometimes that’s too big an ask. Can she find the support she needs, or will she forever be pulled in too many directions, always at the mercy of her to-do lists?

 

Susan has shared an extract from Just One Day – Autumn. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Louisa and her family are at the Ferniehall scarecrow festival. She has just bumped into her landlord who needs to meet with her urgently.

I try to put Benedict to the back of my mind so as not to spoil the kids’ enjoyment of the day. Aria plays pin the carrot on the scarecrow and is the closest so wins a hand-knitted scarecrow as a prize. Hugo plays ten-pin scarecrow bowling and comes second, so he wins a voucher to spend at several of the other stalls, and Gen, with a little gentle coaxing creates a scarecrow rap and performs it on the makeshift stage and wins. The fact only three people participated in the ‘talent show’ doesn’t matter. She wins iTunes vouchers and is delighted.

‘I’m hungry,’ Hugo announces.

‘Hugo, you’ve been eating all day long. Grazing constantly. How can you be hungry?’ I ask, incredulous even though I know what he’s like.

‘I’m a growing boy, Mother,’ he says in a withering tone.

Honestly. ‘Fine. There’s a hot dog stand at the back. Do you want one?’

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Book Extract: The Girl of Lost Petals and Possibilities by Laura Briggs

I am so happy to be welcoming Laura Briggs back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with her novel, The Girl of Lost Petals and Possibilities. 

On holiday in Egypt with Sidney and Dean, young writer Maisie is—in her mind—on top of the world. Her long-labored manuscript is finally going to be published, she and Sidney are deeply in love, and the future looks bright on every level.

In one moment, however, it all changes. Tragedy leads to overwhelming loss that Maisie can’t even begin to process. As the world itself turns upside down, there’s no solace for Maisie from the growing sense that her wonderful future is finished.

No dream about to come true. No certainties of new chances in life.

No Sidney.

Even if the first two did not break her, the last one is determined to. It’s up to Maisie to find her strength and determination to find a new future, even if—unthinkably—it may be nothing like the one she dreamed of.

 

Laura has shared an extract from The Girl of Lost Petals and Possibilities with us today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Thanks so much to Laura for this chance to have my book featured on Novel Kicks. Titled The Girl of Lost Petals and Possibilities it continues the adventures of Maisie Clark, the aspiring young novelist who finds inspiration working at a quirky Cornish hotel. The scene below finds Maisie dealing with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has left her fiance Sidney facing a long road to recovery. With Sidney’s wealthy but distant mother determined to seek rehabilitation for him in London, Maisie must try to convince herself—and their mutual friend Dean—that it’s the only option, despite the hardships it will bring.

 

At Dean’s cottage, Callum switched on the lights and the stove’s eye beneath the teakettle, while Dean wheeled himself closer to the stereo. I put the tin containing Mrs. Graves’s biscuits on the table, a future snack for the birds in Dean’s garden. With my back still to Dean, I gathered my courage and spoke.

“Dean, you should know. Adele is taking Sidney home with her when he’s released,” I said, quietly. “She told me so a few days ago.”

It only took a second for what I said to sink in. “What?” Dean’s voice sharpened. He stopped studying the records laid out by the stereo and wheeled to face me. “Did you tell her that notion was ridiculous?”

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Book Extract: Altered Helix by Stephanie Hansen

I’m happy to be welcoming Stephanie Hansen to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel,  Altered Helix 

I didn’t want to take the traditional path. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my best friend, Tiff, and work at the Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too?

The most exciting thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria’s life takes intriguing and eventful turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger.

Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good.

Stephanie has shared an extract from Altered Helix today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

The following extract is after our protagonist, Austria, has spent a night “homeless” and survived as scary incident. It’s begins with Ethan walking her away from danger and to safety.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

“Yeah, I just had to get out of there. The rage I felt was uncontrollable. What a jerk. I wanted to punch him again. Punch him over and over until no one would recognize his face.”

“Josh, it’s okay. We’re out here. Try to calm down.”

“Do you know what he would have done to you if I didn’t get there in time?”

“Um, yeah, but do we really have to talk about it?”

The dark black sky is turning to a navy blue.

“Want to see one of the beauties of being a street kid?”

“I don’t know how much more I can take, Josh. I guess I’m not built for living this way.”

“This will be safe.”

He holds my hand as we walk to the park on 31st Street. He takes me to a tree at the top of a hill. We climb it. He folds his hands and gives me a step up. We sit on a sturdy branch. He points to the east. The sky’s now be-coming lighter. There’s a harmonious mixture of blue, orange, and red. The sun peeks out above the horizon. It’s breathtaking. I curl into Josh’s lap. He strokes my hair.

“What do you think?”

“I think it’s gorgeous.”

“Not as gorgeous as you.”

I look up at him. He kisses me with a deep passion. I twist to face him more. Heat courses through my body as we kiss, erasing the hurt and fear. I feel like we’re the only two people in this world, and this sunrise is meant for just us. When we come up for air, his eyes are dilated al-most completely. They quickly change in the light, and I can see the blue again. He smiles and gives me a peck kiss.

“Happiest morning ever,” he says.

I smile and embrace him. I’m amazed by how his emotion has changed. Maybe that’s something you pick up when looking for a home on a daily basis.

How am I experiencing such polar opposites of emotion in such a short time?

“We should probably get back, so the others don’t worry.”

“Oh, they’ll be fine.” I hold onto him tighter.

“Austria.”

“Josh?”

He exhales and smiles.

“Okay.”

He helps me get down, and we walk back to the apartment. I hear a ruckus before entering. People are all yelling at one another as we walk in.

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Book Extract: True Courage by Kathryn Barrett

Please join me in welcoming Kathryn Barrett to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel, True Courage. 

Some days it was hell being leader of the free world.

The Washington press calls him the “accidental president.” As a Medal of Honor recipient and national hero, Adam Dybik agreed to run for president during the country’s deepest crisis.

Now that things have stabilized, he’s got problems at home: his 14-year-old daughter Katie keeps ditching her Secret Service protection and reminding him he’s the world’s worst father. And on top of that, he’s begun hearing the voices of dead presidents. Either he’s going mad, or the White House is haunted.

As the new head of Katie’s Secret Service detail, Ellie Brody is trying to live up to the high expectations of her father, former agent Frank Brody. But her new job puts her in direct danger of succumbing to the president’s charm.

Can these two find love in the White House, under the most intense media scrutiny—and the watchful eye of Lyndon Johnson?

 

Kathryn has kindly shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

This scene is from Chapter 5 and is set at Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains, where Adam makes up for his poor performance at golf by sinking a basketball:

 

The crisis in Idaho averted, Adam rode Golf Cart One to Leatherwood, where a basketball game was in progress: White House staff vs. Secret Service, and it looked like his team was getting whipped.

He’d been telling his staff to get more exercise, but most of them were more interested in writing policy papers about Latin American economies than in manhandling an elliptical machine. He’d made it a point to hire the best and the brightest, regardless of political party, but now he wished he’d given a thought to hiring the tallest and fittest.

He heard Ellie’s voice. “That’s another three!” she called out. Though she wasn’t very tall, she was hustling up and down the court so fast he had to check to make sure she wasn’t wearing rollerblades.

He waded into the fray. “Hand it over, punk,” he told the six-foot-three agent dribbling the ball. After snatching the ball, Adam raced to the end of the court. Ignoring the defender in front of him, he tossed it neatly into the rim.

He wished Larry were there to see how easily he’d managed that hole-in-one.

He spun around and high-fived his speechwriter, Melissa. “Okay, team, let’s win this one for the Gipper!”

“The who?” he heard his scheduler ask the congressional liaison.

Presidential prestige was put aside on the basketball court. Adam took his share of ribbing. But unlike golf, he was no newcomer to this game. When he’d started out in the prosecutor’s office in Chicago, he’d regularly played pick-up games at the local gym. Ten years earlier, he’d been quicker, meaner.

Now, at forty-five, he had to rely on his wits.

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Book Extract: The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

I am so pleased to be welcoming Mimi Matthews to Novel Kicks today. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel, The Belle of Belgrave Square. 

A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.

Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
 
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
 
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…

 

Mimi has shared an extract from her novel with us today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

“That must be quite a book to hold your attention in all this din.”

Julia’s head jerked up. Her heart lurched.

Captain Blunt stood, silhouetted, at the entrance to the anteroom, his broad shoulders nearly spanning the doorframe. His scarred face was shadowed in the gaslight, making him appear even more sinister than he usually did—something she hadn’t thought possible.

He wasn’t old enough to be her father. Indeed, he couldn’t be much above thirty.

“What is it?” he asked.

Julia hastily closed her book. She cleared her throat. “It’s, um, Lady Audley’s Secret.”

“Ah. I see.” He advanced into the room. Slowly. Deliberately. As if he was approaching a wild horse that might shy away from him.

Julia rather felt like one.

Her heartbeat quickened as he drew closer. She instinctively shrank back against the silk-papered wall behind her, wishing she could disappear.

No such luck.

She was well and truly caught. And it was her own fault. She was the one who had chosen to hide in this particular corner. There would be no escaping him now.

He came to a halt in front of her. “Don’t be afraid.”

Don’t be afraid? He could say that when he was looming over her like a great beast in a fairy tale?

“I won’t spoil it,” he said.

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Book Extract: Sunny Skies and Summer Kisses by Eliza J. Scott

I am so happy to be welcoming Eliza J. Scott back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel, Sunny Skies and Summer Kisses.

No matter how hard you fight it, love will always find a way…

Ever since she was a little girl, dance teacher Anoushka Cartwright has dreamed of opening her own dance studio near her home on her beloved North Yorkshire Moors. And when she gets the chance to do just that she can hardly believe her luck!

Life is sweet. Or it would be if it wasn’t for her relationship with Damon which has been growing increasingly toxic, much to her family’s concern. Critical of her dreams he can’t understand why she won’t move to the city of York and live with him. He refuses to accept their relationship is floundering until the day Anoushka breaks up with him.

Popular indie/folk singer, Gabe Dublin, hails from Southern Ireland. He’s been head-over-heels in love with Anoushka ever since he first set eyes on her at a wedding two years earlier. She’s the reason he keeps returning to the area, staying with his friends, Lady Caroline Hammondely and her husband Sim, at Danskelfe Castle. Gabe and Anoushka have become good friends, but she’s always made it clear they could never be anything more, which is tearing Gabe’s heart in two. He knows he won’t be able to love anyone else the way he loves Anoushka.

Her family and friends can see how perfect they are for each other but Anoushka is adamant, after her experience with Damon, she has no room for a man in her life. She makes a pact with herself to focus all of her attention on her dance school. And she intends to keep it. The only thing is, it’s not as easy as it seems.

When an unexpected situation throws them together, Anoushka’s feelings are exposed for the world to see. The question is, will she act on them or will she stay true to her promise to herself?

Join Anoushka and Gabe – and all the other Life on the Moors Characters – for the latest heartwarming visit to the characterful village of Lytell Stangdale in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors.

*****

Eliza has shared an extract with us today. Grab that coffee and a comfortable chair and enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Here’s an extract from Chapter Seven where Anoushka Cartwright bumps into Gabe Dublin and his bouncy Labrador while walking on Great Stangdale Moor.

 

In the distance, Anoushka spotted a lone walker heading towards her, a black Labrador trotting along jauntily beside him. Her heart gave a sudden lilt. She’d recognise those broad shoulders and that easy lope anywhere: Gabe Dublin.

Before long, he was standing in front of her. ‘Well, hello there, Noushka. It’s good to see you again, though aren’t you heading in the wrong direction?’ He flashed his trademark smile. ‘Thought you were headed over to Middleton,’ he said as Bob pulled on his lead, eager to get to her.

‘Change of plan,’ she said, smiling back, bending to fuss Bob whose tail was wagging so hard you could beat eggs with it.

Ah, sure.’ Gabe nodded, his smile faltering as his eyes ran over her face, taking in the tell-tale signs she’d been crying. ‘And are you okay?’ he asked softly.

She nodded. ‘I’m fine, thanks.’ She didn’t feel ready to tell him about Damon. ‘Just fancied some fresh air, I’ve got a few things I need to straighten out in my mind.’

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