Extracts

Book Extract: Mummy Needs a Break by Susan Edmunds

A lovely hello to Susan Edmunds and the blog tour for her latest book, Mummy Needs a Break. 

 

With a devilish toddler and baby number two on the way, Rachel’s big dream is to one day go to the toilet on her own. So, she’s surprised to discover that her husband has found the time to have an exciting affair while she’s been bringing up their family.

Suddenly, Rachel is left wrangling with a child who will only eat crackers and a 35-week bump. She knows even Mumsnet isn’t going to solve this.

What Rachel needs is a handsome, good-with-children, single man. But she can barely leave the house without a stain on her top and child on her hip. How on earth can she claim her life back, let alone thinking about dating?

 

Susan and Avon have shared an extract today. Enjoy. 

 

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

 

It was after 4 a.m. when I heard a key rattle in the lock as Stephen returned. I was still sitting on the couch, staring blankly at the almost-silent television, tracing patterns in the textured fabric of the cushions. I held my breath as he neared the living room door. The light was on – he would know I was inside. He paused briefly but then the door to the spare room clicked shut. I sat on the couch, my fingers tracking the movement of blood through my temples.

 

Questions were stomping around in circles in my mind: Was she someone I knew? What was going on? What the hell was I going to do?

 

I knew our relationship had changed. But whose doesn’t, when you have children? Years ago, I had a stash of hugely impractical, very skimpy lingerie that I brought out every night he stayed at my place. I crept out of bed sometimes before he woke to put make-up on and would go to a yoga class every night after work and twice at the weekends, coming home relaxed and stretchy. It had been a long time since I had crawled into our bed in anything other than my faded grey favourites and my yoga was now done most often in front of my laptop, with Thomas imitating alongside me, until he got bored.

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Book Extract: The Single Mums Move On by Janet Hoggarth

Today I’m welcoming Janet Hoggarth who is joining me with the blog tour for her book, The Single Mums Move On. 

 

Can neighbours become more than good friends…

After her husband left her, Ali and her daughter Grace enjoyed living in what became known as ‘the Single Mums’ Mansion’. However, with her best friends Amanda and Jacqui moving on, it’s time for Ali and Grace to make their own way. Thankfully, a chance conversation leads to them moving into the infamous South London gated community known only as ‘The Mews’.

In ‘The Mews’ everyone lives in each other’s pockets and curtain twitching is an Olympic sport. The neighbours are an eclectic bunch – from Nick the alleged spy, Carl the gorgeous but clearly troubled Idris Elba lookalike, to Debbie who is about to face the hardest fight of her life, and TV agent Samantha who is not as in control as she likes to pretend.

Each day brings another drama, but along with the tears, real friendships grow. And her neighbours’ problems might unlock the key to something Ali has yearned for all along…

Based on a true story – you’ll never be able to look at your neighbours quite the same way again… 

 

Janet has very kindly shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

 

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

 

‘I hate everyone looking at me,’ Amanda said tremulously, holding on to her dad’s arm as we waited for the music to start in the antechamber of Rye Town Hall. ‘What if I cry?’

‘You’re supposed to cry at weddings!’ Jacqui said, rolling her eyes. ‘No one’s going to tell you off!’

‘Stop catastrophising,’ I said gently. ‘Just enjoy it. It’s your moment!’

However, when the time came to walk down the aisle, I hadn’t heeded my own advice. As soon as the impressively ornate doors opened and the town crier rang his bell to announce us, I spotted Ifan standing next to Jacqui’s Mark, his hand proprietorially on Grace’s shoulder, eagerly waiting. The first thought that burned in the back of my mind was: I can’t marry a shop assistant. I swiftly berated myself for being such a snob, but in reality, he didn’t earn enough money to support us if we had a child.

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Book Extract – Willow by Grace Parks

Grace Parks joins me today with the blog tour for the first book in the Pepper Lane Lane series, Willow.

 

Can a socialite and a technophobe fall in love?

A bubbly personality and a great job in social media didn’t mean that Willow Lawson had it all. Her love life was distant memory and her social life only work related. The maddening demands of life seemed to get in the way of finding time for herself or her friends. 

She starts the Pepper Lane Club as a chance to step away from her busy schedule once a month to reconnect with her friends. 

Thomas Greer, the proprietor of the Pepper Lane Café, annoys her. He’s her complete opposite; unsociable, serious, old-fashioned and dead set against social media. 

Always game for a challenge, Willow decides to take him on as a client. She’s going to prove to Thomas that he needs her help. She knew she would be successful, she just didn’t know she would lose her heart along the way.

Can Willow fall in love with a man that doesn’t respect her profession? Will Thomas let go of his preconceptions long enough to get to know the real Willow? Enjoy this sweet romance as Willow finds love and friendship in the first book in the Pepper Lane Series. 

Six women. Six stories. Six chances of love. One café.
The Pepper Lane Series follows the lives of six women as they share life, love and heartache once a month at the Pepper Lane Club. They might be an unlikely group of friends, but it takes all types to form a tribe.

 

Grace has shared an extract today. Enjoy. 

 

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

 

The dress was what I referred to as my ‘chameleon’ dress because it somehow fit into any occasion. It was ever so slightly slutty, without being offensive, yet because there was nothing showing it still had an element of demure to it. I hadn’t worn it often, but when I did it was for one reason, and one reason only, to make sure I was in control of the night. Was I wearing it only because I hoped to meet the annoying Thomas Greer tonight? No, of course not. Was I lying to myself? Maybe.

            Riley arrived five minutes early, as she always did. Not that I was surprised, she found lateness to be one of the rudest characteristics a person could have. “So, you find me rude?” I had asked her once. To which she had nodded. Twins, huh? They’re annoyingly honest with one another.

            “Oh wow, you’re wearing your chameleon dress,” she said. “You look gorgeous. Hey, your hair! I didn’t know you dyed it. Suits the dress. You’re very coordinated today.”

            I wiggled my red nails at her. “Why thank you. Only my underwear isn’t red, but nobody is going to see that tonight.”

            “What about Thomas Greer?” she teased.

            That made me laugh. “Gross. I’m not that desperate. Come on, let’s go.”

 

The Pepper Lane Club

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Book Extract: I Can’t Tell You Why by Elaine Robertson North

Happy Saturday everyone and welcome to Elaine Robertson North and the blog tour for her novel, I Can’t Tell You Why. 

 

Having an affair is inconceivable to Dani and yet she’s having one with Alex. He’s married, he’s an actor and she’s his agent.

Then Dani meets Sean, a paparazzi photographer with a formidable reputation. It’s a profession that makes him unpredictable at best. A dangerous trait when his motivation to expose becomes personal. 

Dani knows she’s made mistakes. She also knows she’s not the first person who wilfully hurt someone they love and is simply unable to explain why.

 

Elaine has shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

 

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

 

Dani is having an affair with Alex. He’s an actor and also married with children; she’s his agent. Their complicated relationship becomes even more so when Dani starts spending time with Sean, a paparazzi photographer. In this extract, Dani is heading home from an event with her two best friends, where the two men in her life – and Alex’s wife – have met for the first time.

 

Dani decided she’d well and truly had enough and leaving Sean to finish up his final obligation – a catch-up with the charity’s publicity team – she headed for the cloakroom for her coat. Much as she wanted to be alone, she couldn’t think of an excuse quickly enough to avoid sharing a cab with Billy and Amanda who had appeared beside her.

Within minutes, she found herself sitting in an uncomfortable silence next to Billy in the back of a cab with Amanda sitting opposite them, looking from one stony face to the other, wondering if she should attempt some conversation. She took a deep breath and smiled.

“Well that was fun!” She waited. Nothing. Not even a glance in her direction. Maybe she should just focus on Dani? She looked at her but her face was giving nothing away.

“You okay Dani?”

As the cab sped past a street lamp momentarily flooding them with light, Amanda couldn’t miss how Dani’s eyes were glistening, a clear sign that her friend was most definitely anything but. But those glistening eyes remained in a fixed stare, focused firmly out of the window while her body language was literally yelling a desperate plea to be left alone. Accepting defeat, Amanda sat back.

She had tried.

The silence continued until the cab pulled up outside Dani’s flat. She opened the door and, without a word or so much as a backward glance, she climbed out, closed the door behind her and headed inside. Billy watched her go as Amanda moved to sit next to him. She took hold of his hand and gave it a squeeze as the cab pulled away again. “You okay?”

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Book Extract: Truth or Die by Katerina Diamond

I am welcoming Katerina Diamond to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her latest novel, Truth or Die.

Their darkest secrets won’t stay buried forever…

The butchered body of a professor is found in a private office of Exeter University. It is the first in a spate of horrific murders that shakes the city to its core.

Who would target a seemingly innocent man, and why? DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles turn to his students for answers, but their investigation turns up no leads. Someone must know more than they’re letting on…

As the body count rises, the police have to look into the past to uncover the person responsible before it’s too late.

But are they brave enough to face up to the truth?

 

Katerina and Avon have shared an extract today. Enjoy. 

 

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

 

‘No, someone from the DCI’s old area. I think they wanted an outsider, someone who wasn’t caught up in any of the local shit,’ Adrian reassured her. Imogen herself had transferred from Plymouth under a bit of a black cloud and so he knew she wouldn’t appreciate working with any of her former colleagues.

‘Yet.’

‘Apparently she personally endorsed his transfer. The DCI has worked out all right. Maybe it’s a good move.’

‘Him? Is he hot?’

‘Why are you asking me?’

‘You can’t objectively say whether a man is attractive? Are you worried that I might think . . .’

‘Don’t finish that sentence. His face is very symmetrical, which suggests he is probably quite good-looking.’ Adrian smiled at her.

‘Wow. I’d hate to hear how you describe me.’ She gathered up her things to go.

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Book Extract: Meet Me in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May

A big welcome back to Nicola May. She is here with the blog tour for her latest novel, Meet Me in Cockleberry Bay. 

Here’s a little about the book:

The cast of the runaway bestseller, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, are back – including Rosa, Josh, Mary, Jacob, Sheila, new mum Titch and, last but by no means least, Hot, the adorable dachshund.

Newly wed, and with her inherited corner shop successfully up and running, Rosa Smith seems to have all that anyone could wish for. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Rosa’s suspicions that her husband is having an affair have dire consequences.

Reaching rock bottom before she can climb back up to the top, fragile Rosa is forced to face her fears, addiction and jealousy head on.

With a selection of meddling locals still at large, a mystery fire and Titch’s frantic search for the real father of her sick baby, the second book in this enchanting series will take you on a further unpredictable journey of self-discovery.

 

Nicola has shared an extract with us today. 

 

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

PROLOGUE

‘Oh Titch, why didn’t you just ring for an ambulance?’

‘I did, but they’re always so slow getting down to the Bay and I knew you’d know what to do. I’m sorry, Rose. Oooh . . .’

Hot Dog, Rosa Smith’s excitable mini-dachshund, was now running around the Corner Shop making whining noises similar to the ones coming from the young girl in labour.

Flustered, Rosa snapped at him, ‘Hot, will you just stop it?’ She reached for her friend’s
hand and said more gently, ‘Come on, we need to get you upstairs.’

‘No! No, I can’t move.’ Titch was bent over, clutching at the counter. ‘Oh no – I think I’m ready to push!’

‘Shit! OK, OK, don’t panic.’ Rosa hurriedly turned the Corner Shop sign to Closed, dragged the biggest, comfiest dog bed off a shelf and carefully eased her friend to the floor. She then darted into the downstairs kitchen and grabbed a whole handful of clean tea-towels from the drawer.

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Book Extract: A Random Act of Kindness by Sophie Jenkins

Sophie Jenkins joins me today with the blog tour of her latest novel, A Random Act of Kindness. Even the title makes me smile. Here’s a little about the novel. 

It only takes a moment, to change a life for ever…

Fern is too busy making sure other people feel good about themselves to give much thought to her own happiness. But somehow, without her noticing, life has run away from her.

Suddenly, Fern realises her vintage clothes business is struggling, and the casual relationship she’d always thought she was happy in doesn’t look so appealing.

But sometimes, karma really does come through. And when Fern goes out of her way to help 85-year-old Dinah, little does she realise their new friendship will change her life.

Dinah may have troubles in her past, but she’s lived and loved to the full. Can Dinah show Fern that even the smallest acts of kindness can make the world a better place?

 

To celebrate the book’s release, Sophie and Avon have shared an extract today. Enjoy.

 

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

She always thought that I’d go first. We both did. All her friends are widows and some of them had a new lease of life after their loss. I’m not saying she was looking forward to her widowhood, but she was pragmatic about it. She liked to make the best of things.

The husbands went in various different ways in their own time: heart attack, cancer, mobility scooter accident. Stan broke his hip on a golf course after Christmas. He’d tripped over the rake in the bunker, stayed there overnight and got hypothermia while his wife, Betty, thought he was in bed with her all the time. She’d been at watercolour classes, painting flowers. She’d undressed in the bathroom, tiptoed into bed, woke up the next morning, made him a cup of tea and saw he wasn’t there, after all. Surprise of her life, she said, to see his side of the bed empty.

Enid thought it was the way he’d have wanted to go, on a golf course. She was wrong about that. I know Stan. Stan wouldn’t have chosen to die in a bunker, out of all the ways to go.

On a green, maybe. Stan was competitive.

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Book Extract and Review: Stolen by Paul Finch

Hello Friday! It’s almost the weekend and what better way to celebrate its arrival than a visit from Paul Finch and the blog tour for his new novel, Stolen. 

How do you find the missing when there’s no trail to follow?

DC Lucy Clayburn is having a tough time of it. Not only is her estranged father one of the North West’s toughest gangsters, but she is in the midst of one of the biggest police operations of her life.

Members of the public have started to disappear, taken from the streets as they’re going about their every day lives. But no bodies are appearing – it’s almost as if the victims never existed.

Lucy must chase a trail of dead ends and false starts as the disappearances mount up. But when her father gets caught in the crossfire, the investigation suddenly becomes a whole lot more bloody…

 

I’ve reviewed the novel below but before that, Paul and Avon have shared an extract. 

 

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

 

Lucy was still in the thick of the action, though it was mostly over. On all sides, cautions were being issued, and the responses, mainly f-words and other more imaginative profanities, being recorded on dictaphone as the jostling, cuffed men were frogmarched to the farm cottage wall and held there, each by his individual arresting officer, while others commenced searching them. One resisted more than the rest, kicking out and spitting, and was given a backhander across the mouth for his trouble. Lucy wasn’t worried. When the evidence was finally presented, she doubted there was a magistrate in the land who’d be swayed by farcical complaints about police brutality.

Quite a bit of that evidence was on display inside the barn itself, when she went in there. The centrepiece was a purpose-built pit, squarish in shape, about ten yards by ten, dug to a depth of five feet and lined with brick, with a steel ladder fixed in one corner and a camera mounted on a tripod overlooking it, alongside an upright chalkboard scribbled with betting information. 

Two dogs still occupied the pit. One, an American pit bull, charged crazily back and forth, jumping up to snap and snarl at the officers, despite the excessive blood dabbling its jaws and jowls. The other one, whose breed was uncertain, lay in a quivering, panting heap, gashed and torn and spattered with gore.

‘We need one of the vets in here,’ Lucy said to a PC at her shoulder. ‘And a handler . . . to control the other one, yeah?’

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Book Extract & Review: The Family by P.R. Black

It’s the weekend, the sun is shining (mostly,) and P.R. Black is here with the blog tour to his latest novel, The Family. 

 

The best way to catch a killer? Offer yourself as bait.

Becky Morgan’s family were the victims of the ‘crimes of the decade’. 

The lone survivor of a ritualistic killing, Becky’s been forever haunted by the memories of that night.

Twenty years later, with the killer never found, Becky is ready to hunt them down and exact revenge. But the path to find the murderer is a slippery slope and she finds herself opening up some old wounds that should have been left sealed. 

Will Becky avenge her family or join them? 

 

I’ve reviewed The Family below but first, P.R. Black and Aria have shared an extract. 

 

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

‘Let’s turn to the perpetrator – who is it we’re looking for?’

‘I’m afraid that clues are few and far between, which is why it’s taken so long to find him. He never showed his face, but what we can say is that the man we’re looking for was around six feet tall or more, well-built, and probably aged between 25 and 40 – certainly a young, fit man. That means he’d be between 45 and 60 today, of course. He had a strong accent – not English, and, we think, not French, but perhaps Eastern European.’

The presenter faced the camera. ‘I apologise to viewers in advance, as this is a particularly distressing detail. But we have to talk about the mask.’

Becky looked away. 

‘Yes,’ said Inspector Hanlon. ‘As far as we can tell, it was this mask.’

‘We should stress, this is an artist’s interpretation,’ the presenter added.

‘Yes. This object seems to have been created by the killer himself. We believe it’s made of real bone, attached to some dark cloth. It’s nothing that was available in fancy dress shops, but it is just possible that someone, somewhere, might remember a man buying this mask from a specialist shop.’

‘It’s difficult to imagine what that poor girl must have gone through.’ 

Becky toasted the TV screen. ‘Don’t have nightmares,’ she said, remembering the final words uttered by the presenter who hosted an earlier series of Crimewatch.

On-screen, the presenter said, ‘Inspector, what more can you tell us about what the killer was wearing?’

‘When he arrived at the cottage, he wore all-black clothing. The only other clue we have is that he had size-fourteen feet, going by footprints left at the scene. He was wearing these shoes…’

The man beside Becky said, ‘I bet he wasn’t wearing all-black clothing when he got going. He might have kept his shoes on, though, for a quick getaway.’

She glanced at him for a moment – and then he was wearing her G&T. 

Rivulets meandered down his jowls like tears, and a sliver of lemon clung to his chin like a slug on a bannister losing its fight with gravity. 

‘What do you think you’re doing?’ he spluttered.

‘Hey.’ The barman pointed at her. ‘You’ve had enough, love. Out.’

‘I was just going. Love.’ Becky lurched to her feet, clinging to the counter until her shoes found purchase, and then strode out the door. 

The bar was set in the basement of a refurbished tenement block, and Becky had got halfway up the stairs to street level when the man who’d sat beside her gripped her shoulder. She gasped and clung onto the railings to avoid falling backwards.

The man’s hair was still plastered to his forehead with her gin. He looked like a young boy grotesquely groomed by his mother for church. 

‘I dunno who you think you are, freak,’ he snarled, ‘but you’re lucky I don’t kick you up and down this street.’

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Book Extract & Review: A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft

I can’t think of a better way to start a Monday than a visit from Sue Moorcroft and the blog tour for her new novel, A Summer to remember.

 

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

 

Mick has reviewed the book but first, Sue and Avon have shared an extract with us all today. 

 

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

Surprised into rising and facing the direction the voice had come from, Clancy had to grab the back of the bench as her head swam anew. A short, rotund woman with a dandelion clock of white hair and a sweet smile shuffled around the house. ‘Are you are our new Evelyn? I’m Dilys, from number two. I thought I’d say hello.’ By now Dilys was standing in front of Clancy, daisy-strewn wellies peeping from beneath a rose-splashed skirt. Her eyebrows bobbed enquiringly.

‘I’m taking the caretaker’s job, yes.’ It was impossible not to return Dilys’s smile; it was so twinkly and warm. ‘I was just wondering where I could find a supermarket. Or furniture shops. Aaron had to rush off before he could tell me.’ She supposed she was lucky that she had money in the bank but she hadn’t really bargained for the hassle of furnishing the Roundhouse when she decided to launch herself towards Nelson’s Bar.

Dilys’s grey eyes twinkled as she turned and let herself down stiffly onto the bench beside Clancy. ‘Furniture? I expect he’ll just bring the other stuff back. They stored it up at De Silva House – Aaron’s parents’ place – because Evelyn had her own.’

Clancy suppressed a wriggle of hurt that Aaron hadn’t mentioned something that, clearly, would make her life easier. Evidently, he didn’t want her here. So what? She’d been unwanted by people much closer and more important to her than Aaron De Silva. Her ex-fiancé and work colleagues, for example. And with her parents it had always only been fifty-fifty.

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Book Extract & Review: Tick Tock by Mel Sherratt

You made it everyone. It’s the weekend. Today, I am pleased to welcome back Mel Sherratt and the blog tour for her new book, Tick Tock. 

 

TICK…

In the city of Stoke, a teenage girl is murdered in the middle of the day, her lifeless body abandoned in a field behind her school.

TOCK…

Two days later, a young mother is abducted. She’s discovered strangled and dumped in a local park.

TIME’S UP…

DS Grace Allendale and her team are brought in to investigate, but with a bold killer, no leads and nothing to connect the victims, the case seems hopeless. It’s only when a third woman is targeted that a sinister pattern emerges. A dangerous mind is behind these attacks, and Grace realises that the clock is ticking…

Can they catch the killer before another young woman dies?

 

Mel and Avon have shared an extract today. Enjoy. 

 

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

‘Robert?’ Perry queried.

‘Robert Carmichael. He’s the PE teacher. The classes get very competitive and it gives the pupils a good workout in the fresh air.’

‘Who owns the field where Lauren was found?’ Grace questioned.

‘Arthur Barrett and his family – a local farming generation. The school have been using it with their permission for over twenty years.’ Nathan shook his head in disbelief. ‘I hope I don’t have to suspend Robert for not watching them all.’

‘He can’t have eyes in the back of his head,’ Perry said.

‘I guess. But it only takes one person to blame him. And me.’ Nathan ran a hand through his hair and swallowed.

‘Although, according to some of the pupils, he shouted at them to hurry up a few times.’

‘We need a list of the pupils who took his class, too,’ Grace said. ‘We’ll have to speak to them all over the course of the next day or two. If there aren’t enough teachers spare to sit with the pupils, or if any parents or guardians specifically want to be with their children when we speak to them, we’ll arrange appointments. Whatever happens, everything will be dealt with in a sensitive manner.’

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Book Extract: Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire

Hello to Jennifer Macaire and the blog tour for her novel, Son of the Moon. 

Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery.

With their son, Paul, being worshiped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?

Jennifer has shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

 

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

I climbed down the scaffolding and dashed across the floating bridge, grabbing for handholds as the river tossed it about. I had to run across a muddy, blood soaked battlefield. I leaped over bodies of men and horses, sliding and stumbling, my breath whistling in my tight throat. I knew I had to get to Alexander. He was so unrestrained. His joy and grief knew no bounds. This loss would devastate him.

I scrambled over the last twenty meters, calling Alexander’s name. He sat cradling his horse’s head in his lap, saying over and over, “Buci, Buci, Buci…”

He looked up as I arrived. “Ashley,” he said hoarsely. Then, “Your nose is bleeding.”

“Don’t worry about me.” I squatted down next to him. “You were wonderful,” I said. “Incredible. I watched the whole battle from the tower. Now I know why men will study this battle, sing songs about it, and write stories about it for thousands of years. It was amazing.”

“Do they really?” He smiled, but tears ran down his cheeks. “Was it so great?” His voice was raw and broken.

“More than great,” I assured him. I looked down at his hands, wrapped in Bucephalus’s mane. One of them was bleeding and swollen. “If you want, I’ll make you a bracelet with some of his hair.”

“I’d like that,” he said simply, and watched as I carefully plucked ten hairs from the horse’s long mane. “He was my horse,” he said softly.

“He was more than that!” I said. “Why, if everyone had a horse like Bucephalus, they would be the luckiest of men.”

“As was I.”

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Book Extract: A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

A big lovely hello to Phillipa Ashley and the blog tour for her new novel, A Perfect Cornish Summer.

Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…

For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).

When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever.

Phillipa has shared an extract with us today. 

 

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

 

Bryony prodded the laminated poster with the toe of her Doc Marten’s. ‘I’d hoped you’d decided to give the festival a rest for a year.’ The dog barked again so Bryony ramped up her own volume. ‘My Sacha hates all the noise and smells.’

Bryony stroked Sacha’s head while Sam tried to let the words wash over her. It didn’t do to argue with Bryony, Cornwall’s self-declared canine expert and the most unlikely metal fan on the planet. Woe betide anyone who dared ques­tion her views on dogs, music . . . or the festival, or tourists, or the weather, or anything else. Sam had often thought that if Professor Stephen Hawking had ever visited Porthmellow, Bryony would have been sure to take issue with his theories on black holes. She lived in a small house not far from Wavecrest Cottage. Sam often heard Sacha barking from fifty metres away.

Spotting a rare gap in Bryony’s tirade, Sam dived in while she could. ‘Well, the festival does bring lots of people into the town who might not otherwise come. Local people and tour­ists and it’s put Porthmellow on the map as a foodie and arty haven.’

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Book Extract: The Stars in the Night by Clare Rhoden

A big lovely welcome to Clare Rhoden and the blog tour for her novel, The Stars in the Night. 

Harry Fletcher is a confident young man, sure that he will marry Nora, no matter what their families say. He will always protect Eddie, the boy his father saved from the gutters of Port Adelaide.

Only the War to End All Wars might get in the way of Harry’s plans…

From the beaches of Semaphore to the shores of Gallipoli, the mud of Flanders to the red dust of inland South Australia, this is a story of love, brotherhood, and resilience.

Clare has shared an extract today. 

 

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

January 1921

 

The unrelenting summer was mute with loneliness, brutal with drought. Neighbours dropped by now and then,or nodded to Nora at church. There was nothing new to say. There was no news,or only delayed bad news. Not even bad news was special now. They all chewed the remnants of a shared disaster like a flash flood, with tales of more destruction coming in belatedly from outlying areas.

Like a flood, war’s effects were unpredictable and astonishing. Great gaps in the congregation showed where places had been saved, places no one would ever fill. No shadow of that lad’s life on the land; no body and no grave. Swept from sight and sense, and only words left in his place, the same words going around over and over again till even the words died somewhere else, robbed of the life they once had. Nora often found her mind wandering when she should have been listening. A month had passed since her father had sailed back to England, shaking off the financial disaster of his failed war investments. Nora began to fear that her future, too, held only longing and loss. Time perhaps to think about another life. But as each week melted into the next, she put off any decision.

At dusk on the last day of January, as the last bloody rays of sun flooded the long drive, she stepped onto the verandah. The eucalypts along the fence looked like petrified coral. Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Shepherds must like hot weather. She waited. The trees exhaled, freshening the air. The first creaking whisper of coolness teased the dust on the grass. The earth seemed to stretch and yawn. Insects jabbered at the coming night.

Nora leaned on the post, aware of the turning of time. Then she saw him coming down the drive, the strap of his swag crosswise on his chest. A self-willed, obstinate, lone merino ram, pride and despair of the flock, returning from the hill paddock in his own good time. Shepherdess’s delight. She nearly shouted his name. The next moment she realised that the waiting was over, that the future was here, and it frightened her. But it was her time.

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Book Extract: I Love You Billy Langley by Monika Jephcott Thomas

Hello to Monika Jephcott Thomas and the blog tour for her latest novel, I Love You Billy Langley. 

Twenty-year-old Netta can’t wait to leave Germany and teach in Brighton, England. It’s the height of the swinging 60s, but Netta hasn’t bargained for the prejudice she’ll receive in a country full of anti-German sentiment just twenty years after the war.

She finds solace in Billy, the school caretaker, with whom she falls in love.

But when she takes him back to Germany at Christmas it’s Billy’s turn to be on the receiving end of a frosty welcome.

I have reviewed the novel but first, Monika has shared an extract. Enjoy. 

 

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

Netta Portner looked around her bedroom as if it were the last time she would ever see it. It wasn’t.

Not just yet. But she felt the need to capture everything in her memory now, before the chaos of leaving ensued and clouded everything. As she scanned the room she caught sight of herself in the mirror on the dressing table. She turned to face her reflection, smoothed down her dress, adjusted her glasses, and raised her chin in the confident manner she prayed she could adopt when she stood in front of a class of comprehensive school students next week in the south of England.

‘Here!’ Her mother came hurrying into the room, dumping three suitcases of various sizes onto the bed.

To Netta the hurrying and dumping seemed completely unnecessary and typically dramatic. For a split second Netta wondered if it was designed to mask a sadness at her imminent departure from the nest, but that notion was soon buried under her general irritation with her mother, which Netta had cultivated throughout her teenage years.

‘These served me well when I moved here from Kunzendorf,’ said her mother.

‘During the war? When you were pregnant with me?’ Netta asked, delighting in her albeit embryonic presence in the story her mother had regaled her with on many occasions – the story of an arduous journey all the way across a devastated Germany on its knees in the final months of the Second World War. Since then Netta had never been much farther from home than the north coast for family holidays.

‘Hm-mm!’ her mother sang her response as nonchalantly as she could. ‘So a little jaunt to England should present no issue for them.’

‘It’s hardly a little jaunt, Mama.’

‘Well it’s hardly a race across a vast nation being bombed mercilessly by the Allies either, is it?’ her mother said.

Netta seethed as she flipped open the lid of each case.

Her mother, hands on hips, looked around the room as if she had never seen it before. ‘At last I can give this room a damn good clean.’

Netta looked daggers at her mother’s back as she ran her finger along the chest of drawers and grimaced at the dust she found there.

‘Oh please, mother! When was the last time you cleaned anything?’

‘Well, I’ll get Emilia to do it. Chuck out all this rubbish too.’

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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