crime · mystery · suspense

*EXTRACT* Let Sleeping Murder Lie – Carmen Radtke.

Blurb; American Eve Holdsworth is living her quintessential English dream in a picturesque village in the countryside. Meeting an attractive stranger adds to the appeal.
But Ben Dryden is a pariah in Eve’s new neighbourhood, since his wife was murdered five years ago, and he was the only suspect.
Eve, who is absolutely sure someone as charming as Ben could never be a killer, is
determined to solve the case and clear Ben’s name, even if it’s against his will.
Soon enough Eve finds herself in deep waters, and with her life at stake, she can only pray that her romantic notions won’t be the end of her …

Extract – Five Years ago;
Donna Dryden watched her husband’s precious golf trophy arc through the air and shatter against the fireplace. Glass shards rained onto the stacked bricks Ben used for repairing the wall of the stupid old hearth. If he’d paid half as much attention to her as he did to the crumbling house and the management of the farm land, she might feel bad about leaving him. Instead she felt wildly jubilant. A few days, and she’d be rid of this crumbling manor house with its constant draught and smell of antiquity. She’d be rid of her father-in-law with his silent criticism and his lumbering presence. No more Ben and his indifference to her wishes. As for the money he’d have to pay her for the divorce settlement … She’d earned every penny of it, by staying buried in the back of beyond after being promised they’d return to London as soon as Ben’s father had recovered from a mild stroke. That was two years ago. At least she’d found happiness, more than she could ever say about her marriage. A fierce draught made her shiver. Typical Ben, she thought, leaving a window open to make this icy place even more unbearable. That was her last conscious thought as a brick came down on her skull.

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Uncategorized

*Extract* The Five Things – Beth Merwood.

Blurb; For nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten. Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off. When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled to search out the underlying truth.

Extract; Rural England, 1969. The three main characters are on their school summer holidays, going about their carefree lives. Soon an event is to occur that will change their world for ever …

The following day Anna, Sam, and I went to look for the camp on the beach. It was a cooler day and a little misty. The sea lapped against the shore, otherwise everything was quiet and still. We went to the end of the wall and climbed the first steep section of rock to the level area. We couldn’t hear anyone else up on the cliff. The pine trees were giving off their pungent smell. We walked along, holding on to branches to steady ourselves, up a little hill and down again. We didn’t need to walk far. In a gap between the trees, we found the camp. There was definitely no one else there. “Wow!” I said. “It’s a really good place,” said Sam. “It’s really fab!” said Anna. “How did they get all the stuff up here?” I said. We admired the work that had gone into it. There was actually a sort of building made from pieces of corrugated iron. “Those crates must be for sitting on,” said Sam. “There’s even a carpet!” Anna said. Sam went to the corner and took three crates from the pile. We arranged them on the sack matting and sat looking out. “No one would ever find you here,” said Sam. “Oi!” We heard a shout, the cracking of vegetation breaking underfoot, and the swishing of branches. Someone rapidly approached. It was Robbo. “What are you doing in the camp?” He pretended to be annoyed with us but soon forgot and started to show us around. “Oi!” We heard a shout, the cracking of vegetation breaking underfoot, and the swishing of branches. Someone rapidly approached. It was Robbo. “What are you doing in the camp?” He pretended to be annoyed with us but soon forgot and started to show us around. “Look,” he said, “we put up a swing.” He pulled a long, thick length of rope down from an upper branch of the tree opposite. It was tied to the branch at one end and there was a knot in the other, so you could sit astride it and go for a ride. You could swing quite a long way to and fro. He demonstrated. “Not only that,” he said, “we can also make tea.” He scrambled over and revealed an old kettle, pushed into a hole in the cliff face behind. “There’s water, and I have matches.” He pulled over another wooden crate, which had been camouflaged under some foliage, and took off the makeshift lid. It contained a box of tea and some enamel mugs. He uncovered a jerry can filled with water. He set about gathering some sticks and trying to light a fire. Robbo was older than we were. He had a reputation for being a bit of a tough guy, but we knew that in fact he was quite friendly. He was a big, strong-looking boy with lots of curly, dark hair and already had the first signs of a dark hair growing on his chin. We watched him in admiration. “Shall I help you?” I asked. “I might have messed up,” he admitted. “I think the matches have got a bit damp.” He smiled at me, a warm-hearted sort of smile. We all liked Robbo and we trusted him. “You won’t tell the others we were here? They might be mad,” I said. “Nah,” he confirmed. “You know I always look out for you lot.”

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chick-lit · romance

*BLOG TOUR* After The One – Cass Lester (Extract).


Blurb; What happens… after The One?
April 16th is always one of Charley’s worst days of the year.

It’s her husband’s birthday, a painful reminder of his death four years ago.

So naturally, her car breaks down.

She nearly gets run over trying to catch the bus.

And then she’s made redundant.

Her friends see the redundancy as a chance for her to start again and live the life she always wanted, but since being widowed Charley has clung to familiarity and avoided change like the plague. Then, out of the blue, her mother-in-law Pam pitches up in need of a place to stay after walking out on her 40-year marriage.

Together, Charley and Pam find themselves at a crossroad. It’s not easy to move on after The One, but they can’t stand still forever.

A gorgeously heartwarming and feel-good story for fans of Libby Page and Nicola Gill.

Extract; At the weekend, the delivery of the new bed forced Charley to brace herself and deal with Josh’s things in the spare room. She’d leant the flat-packed frame and the double mattress against the wall, but if she wanted space to actually build the damn thing, she’d have to clear the bags and boxes cluttering the middle of the room – it was as simple as that. She made herself a mug of tea, knelt on the floor, pulled the nearest bag to her and began to empty it onto the carpet. Out tumbled the tokens of their lives together… the blue knot cufflinks she’d bought him for their anniversary… a tangle of festival wristbands… his phone and GameBoy (for crying out loud), and then his wallet. The wallet had been her first birthday gift to him. She opened it and her face stared back at her, a few years younger but still very much the same – her slightly self-conscious smile, framed by a mass of unruly curls tumbling down over her shoulders.
She took a deep, shaky breath. She was only halfway through the first bag and she was already struggling. So when the doorbell rang about ten minutes later, although she wasn’t proud to admit it, she was thankful for the interruption.
A woman in cropped slacks and a long T-shirt, with greying hair and a cabin-size wheelie-bag, stood on her doorstep, looking vaguely distressed.
‘Pam?’ Charley’s mind raced frantically. Her mother-in-law never arrived unannounced or without an invitation. What on earth was she doing here, completely out of the blue without so much as a phone call or a text and, crucially, with a suitcase?
‘I’ve left Geoff!’
‘What!’ gasped Charley.
‘He’s having an affair.’
‘Bloody hell, Pam!’ The expletives escaped before Charley could stop them, but beyond that, she was utterly speechless so, picking up the suitcase, she ushered her mother-in-law indoors.
‘Tea?’ she suggested, leading into the kitchen.
‘I was hoping for something a bit stronger. Quite a lot of something a bit stronger, actually,’ replied Pam, flabbergasting Charley for a second time in a minute.
Charley didn’t have ‘anything stronger’. She never kept wine in the flat, worried that she’d be tempted to drink alone, and that was a slippery slope she wasn’t going to risk even putting a toe on.
‘Make yourself at home, and I’ll nip out and get something,’ she said.
‘Oh, don’t go out just for me,’ Pam protested politely.
I’m not, thought Charley. After a bombshell like that, I need a drink.

Nipping to the mini supermarket around the corner, Charley grabbed a bottle of Prosecco then, thinking about it, changed it to a bottle of Pinot, in case it looked like she thought that Pam leaving her husband was something to celebrate. Then, thinking about it even more and remembering Pam’s request for ‘quite a lot of something a bit stronger’ she picked up a second bottle. Then she added a couple of frozen pizzas to the basket, partly to mop up the booze, but also because, judging by the suitcase, Pam had apparently come to stay the night and, as usual, there was bugger all in the fridge.
Ten minutes later, sitting on the sofa with glass of wine in hand, Pam seemed surprisingly unruffled. Only the speed with which she knocked back her drink and held the glass out for a top-up gave anything away – that, and the fact that the total transformation of the living room had utterly escaped her notice.
‘I feel so stupid… such a fool! He’s been seeing this… woman, sleeping with this woman,’ she corrected herself, ‘for years! Years!’
Charley was lost for words, which wasn’t, as it turned out, a problem, since her mother-in-law ploughed on, emitting a steady flow of words fuelled, no doubt, by a much-needed release of tension.
‘Of course, all the time he was working I never knew – he’d get held up in the office or have to go to a work do or something and he’d get home late, and I’d be full of sympathy for him having worked such long hours, when all the while he’d been… having it off in some… some hotel room or whatever.’
Charley took a gulp of wine. Hearing the ins and outs of her father-in-law’s sex life, as it were, and from her mother-in-law, was all a bit… hideously embarrassing, really.
‘How did you find out?’ she ventured, when Pam briefly stopped in her rant to take another glug of wine.
‘Hah! After he retired, he got careless… no, greedy. He couldn’t resist a bit of… afternoon delight’ – she spat the words out viciously – ‘and I caught him at it.’
Charley choked on her wine. ‘You caught them having sex?’ she spluttered.
‘No! I caught him with the other woman.’

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