Tuesday Thrillers – The Operation by Dylan Young

My Tuesday Thriller this week is the tense pyschological thriller, The Operation by Dylan Young.

Dylan Young - The Operation_cover
BLURB

If your life was on the line, how far would you go?

Surgeon Jacob Thorn isn’t worried when the police interview him over nurse Katy Leith’s disappearance. She is a co-worker, nothing more.
But when a leaked video of him and the missing woman arguing goes viral, the social media reaction is vicious.

When harrowing images of the kidnapped woman start to appear on his phone, along with a demand from her abductor that Jake confesses to a crime he has no recollection of committing, he is forced to act or face terrifying consequences.

He needs to delve into the past for answers. But time is running out for Katy.

Will he admit to his failings and lose everything, or plead ignorance and let an innocent girl die?

Buy link
https://amzn.to/39UiXgX.

Read the first chapter

Tuesday 7th May 2019

TWITTER FEED #findkaty

Lea Sandler @LeaSand3   7May2019

Katy Leith missing for too many days #findkaty Someone must have seen something. Stand up and be counted. God bless you, Katy angel.

 

Jamila the Hunny @Jamilihun 7May2019

I hope she’s safe. But all the odds are against it #findkaty Hate killers, hate murderers, hate kidnappers.

 

Luke the scooper @lukescoop 7May2019

Police have told young women in Oxford to be on the look out. Not to go anywhere alone. WTF is wrong with people? #Safestreets #findkaty

 

Sid Machine @seemychine 7May2019

When they find who took her, they need behead the turd.

Bring it on. #findkaty. #eyeforaneye

 

 

2

 

‘FEARS GROW OVER MISSING NURSE KATY”

“We’d like to hear from anyone who knows anything. Even the slightest detail could be vital.”

These are the desperate words of Detective Inspector Joanna Ridley as police ramp up appeals for help in the search for Katy Leith, missing since leaving a works party four days ago.

The headline, white print on a black banner, glares up from yesterday’s newspaper. A bank holiday edition lying folded on the counter of Paws for Claws that I study idly as I wait for my charge. I’ve seen headlines like this before. Harrowing, terrifying stories of abduction and murder. Trite phrasing that hardly touches the sleepless suffering of those closest to the victim. But when she’s known to you, albeit vaguely, the words somehow take on a whole different level of vileness.

I drag my eyes away as the door opens and in bounds Sid, the Labrador Rottweiler cross I’m about to take out for a walk. He’s a black and tan bruiser. A handsome showstopper. His energetic greeting drives all thoughts of Katy Leith from my head as the assistant hands over the leash. Sid neither knows nor cares about missing nurses.

He’s keen to go. I’m with him there so we scramble out, Sid’s claws scrabbling on the linoleum. As we head off. The world is a cornucopia of smells for Sid who seems to point his snout in a hundred directions at once. I have to drag him away from a couple of gateposts but soon we’re into it. We have an agreement, Sid and I; off the leash as soon as we can. But that means no stopping until we get there.

There, of course, is a park where he immediately spots a jogger on the path ahead. He stops, curiosity aroused, tail wagging. I pull him close on the lead. Not easy since he’s thirty-five kilos. I don’t know this jogger. She’s not one I’ve come across on this route. She’s young, lululemoned from head to toe, pony tail swinging rhythmically as she approaches.

Sometimes, when they see Sid, they’ll slow down. Occasionally, they’ll veer off the path — survival instincts kicking in — to give him a wide berth. Understandable given Hollywood’s predilection for Rottweilers as their attack dog of choice. But, though he’s a boisterous dog, Sid’s just sociable. He doesn’t have a nasty bone in his body. He won’t attack anyone unless attempting to lick someone to death qualifies as assault. He’s five and has scars on his face and only half a left ear where other dogs have mauled him. His previous owner thought it would be fun to put him up against the odd pit-bull.

People can be arseholes.

This jogger, I’m glad to see, is not. She’s a good judge of dog character. She doesn’t veer off. Instead, she smiles at me and at Sid as she passes. A transient greeting in an angel’s face. He watches her go and lifts his nose to follow her scent. I ruffle the fur on his head and tell him he’s a good lad. Which he is. Two months ago he would have lunged at the jogger because he didn’t know any better. But I’ve been teaching him manners and how to socialise on our walks, which I do three times a week for Paws for Claws.

I know, it’s a cringeworthy name, but as a shelter they do a great job rescuing the Sids of this world. So they can call themselves whatever they like as far as I’m concerned. And they’re happy for me to take Sid out because, to begin with, no one else would. He was just too much dog. But I know he’s a pussycat, really. Not that I’d never tell him that because it would be asking for trouble, given that they’re two of his favourite trigger words.

When you walk dogs, you meet other dog walkers. Most of us have regular routes. So it’s the same handful I normally see. Wednesdays it’s Ella; a bubbly smiley mother of one. Saturday mornings it’s Galina; young, withdrawn, Eastern European. Memorable for all the wrong reasons. But today, on a frosty Tuesday morning, it’s Rob Eastman.

I haven’t seen him for almost a month, neither here, on a walk, nor at the hospital where he’s a surgical colleague. Mid fifties, bespectacled, with an unfashionable bottle-brush moustache and windblown hair, Rob’s a bit of an enigma. I’ve lost count of how many children he has, though he peppers conversations with their names. Now he’s striding towards Sid and me with a lurcher called Maisie.

When we get near enough, the dogs say hello in their usual unabashed nose-to-tail manner.

Rob grins. ‘Jacob, good morning. Cool though for May.’

The sun is up and there’s dew on the grass. ‘It is. But what a great way to wake up.’

‘Still, way off your patch, aren’t you?’

‘This is Sid’s neck of the woods.’

Rob nods. ‘Bloody awful about that nurse, isn’t it?’

‘Terrible,’ I agree.

‘She’s just a year or two older than our Cassie. Doesn’t bear thinking about.’

I nod. There’s suddenly an empty void in the conversation that neither of us wants to walk into. Sid ends it by barking at a terrier a hundred years away. Maisie joins in. I calm Sid down with a quiet word and a hand on his head.

Rob stares at the terrier, not seeing it, his thoughts elsewhere. He’s dressed in an ancient waxed jacket with ripped pockets and paint-stained jeans. When I bump into him in the corridors at work, his suit and fat stained ties are from the same dishevelled wardrobe. ‘Isn’t it about time you took this feller home?’ He asks with an accusing nod at Sid.

I shrug. ‘I wish.’

‘You’ll just have to sit her down and have that talk.’

I smile. We both know who he’s talking about. ‘Her’ is the reason I don’t have Sid at home. But easier said than done and this is a football we’ve kicked about over old ground many times. Rob’s diplomatic enough to change the subject.

‘Were you on call over the weekend?’ he asks.

‘No. Tina had that pleasure. You’re just back from leave though, aren’t you? Go anywhere nice?’

Rob shrugs. ‘One of my unpaid months.”

‘Ah. Where were you this time?’

‘The Sudan. The damned fighting started up again. Fifty gunshot wounds last week.’

I shake my head. ‘Christ, Rob. I take my hat off to you.’

He tilts his head. ‘Once you’ve seen what needs to be done….It’s hard to say no.’ He looks up at me, eyes slitting. ‘You’ve never thought of VSO?’

‘I’ve thought about it,’ I say. And it’s true. Whenever I see Rob I think about it. Only to file it away as soon as we say goodbye.

‘Well, I have all the connections you’d need in MSF if you ever decide to go. I have another mission scheduled for nine months’ time. You ought to come. Be happy to show you the ropes.’

‘Maybe,’ I say. Because it’s polite. But the truth is, any thoughts I’ve had about volunteering my skills abroad have been fleeting. Elbowed quickly out of the way by work and holidays and house hunting. I try to recall what MSF stands for and eventually it flashes into my head: Médecins Sans Frontières. Oui.

‘Sid’s looking so much better,’ Rob says, patting the dog’s broad rump. ‘God, he was wild when I first saw him.’

‘He’s doing well.’ I nod.

My phone rings. It’s the private clinic where I also do sessions. One of the secretaries there tells me a patient wants to talk to me about her surgery and she’s due in on my next list.

I ask for the patient’s number, but then, while she has me, the secretary asks about further clinic dates.

I wave Rob an apology. Maisie rubs her thin body against my knee.

Rob calls her to him and mouths, ‘See you later, Jake.’ So as not to disturb me. I watch him go. Rob’s a straight-up bloke and I admire him. He’s an excellent surgeon. But I don’t envy him. He and his wife Janet live in an unpretentious semi on the edge of the park. Janet works as a health visitor. He’s told me more than once that the local schools are “bloody good”. There’s never been any suggestion of him sending his kids for private education, and he doesn’t believe in private practice. When he volunteers abroad, he goes to the worst places, the ones with the least facilities, the most in need of help. Though he goes as a general surgeon, he ends up doing obstetrics, orthopaedics, plastics, you name it. The last place he went to, somewhere on the Syrian border, had “no X-ray facilities at all”. I do not understand how he does it, but he has all my respect. It must rub off on his kids because I know at least one of them is following in his footsteps.

Twenty-year-old Cassie Eastman accompanied Rob on one of his Maisie walks last September wearing a T-shirt with Miseris Succerrere Disco, her med school motto, emblazoned across it. I knew what that meant because it’s my, and Rob’s, alma mater. “I learn to care for the unfortunate” is a laudable ethos. Needless to say, irreverent med student humour adulterated it into “miserable suckers at the disco” when I was there. Puerile, I know, but that’s how I remember it.

Yet Rob, God bless him, is a believer in the system. He also believes in giving back. It’s something to aspire to. But not for me. Not yet. Too many rungs of the ladder to climb.

The jogger is coming back again, looping the park. Difficult to know how old she is, but probably not much older than the missing Katy Leith. A little flicker of anxiety dances along a nerve plexus in my guts again.

I do know Katy Leith as a colleague, albeit vaguely. But there’s no denying that I’m probably also one of the last people to see her before she went missing. The police know that too. And today, after I’ve finished with Sid, they’re going to be asking me all sorts of questions.

Routine, I’m sure. I quell the flock of butterflies in my stomach that flutter up by putting in a little spurt of speed with Sid. He watches me run and bounds after me.

As she passes us, the jogger smiles again.

 

3

I get a text from the secretary with the patient’s number, so I pull up. By the time I’ve read it, Rob and Maisie are a hundred yards away and Sid’s on to the next set of smells, the jogger forgotten. There’s no one around so I let him off. My phone rings again. It’s Sarah. It’s 7.10am, and she always knows where I am this time in the morning on a Tuesday. She’ll be on the train, Times open on her iPad, FT still folded, coffee — double shot cappuccino with oat milk — on the tray table in front of her. I left the house before she got up, and she’ll be away in London until Thursday. This is how we live. Regimented, some might say. Some do say.

But it’s how we like it.

‘Hi.’

‘How’s Sid this morning?’ Newspaper rustles.

‘Sid’s fine. He says hello.’

Her lack of response and refusal to play my game tells me that Sarah, though expecting this affectation from me, finds it mildly irritating. Sarah doesn’t like dogs. Nor cats. Nor animals in general. She’s definitely allergic to cat dander, but with dogs, it’s something else. Fear possibly. It doesn’t matter. I respect that. We both agreed that we would not have a dog in the house. That was the second thing in the unwritten contract we drew up when we moved in together. The first was that we did not want children.

I can accept that.

But when it comes to dogs, I need my fix. Hence my thrice-weekly dates with Sid. Hence my blank stare when Rob Eastman jokingly suggests I need to sit Sarah down and have that talk.

‘Beautiful morning,’ I say.

‘It is. Jake, I forgot to tell you last night that I said we’d have a drink with Charlie and Chloe on Friday night.’

Fait accompli. ‘Fine.’

‘Oh, and I’ve left more brochures for D.O.T. There’s one… you know the cottage on the edge of that farm? It’s come down by thirty. We ought to go over and look at it. I thought Saturday afternoon? And then maybe grab a late lunch at the Miller?’

‘Sounds good.’

There’s another rustle then Sarah says, ‘The papers are still full of your missing nurse.’

‘They would be. Still no sign of her?’

It’s rhetorical. I listened to the early bulletin on the way to get Sid. The press have the bit between their speculative teeth.

‘Not according to the Times,’ Sarah says. There’s a pause. I visualise her taking a sip of coffee, lipstick leaving a mark on the reusable bamboo mug she uses to avoid an unnecessary cardboard cup.

‘When are you talking to the police?’ she asks after a swallow.

‘This morning, after ten.’

‘Is that going to mess up your list?’

‘A bit. But I’m starting early and I’ve got some help.’

‘Good. Okay, have a good one and try not to kill too many patients, darling.’

Gallows humour. She’s learned how to dish it out. You do when you live with a surgeon.

‘See you Thursday,’ I say, but she’s already rung off.

D.O.T is our shorthand for Dorchester on Thames. Three pubs, Wisteria-strewn cottages and beautiful South Oxfordshire countryside. We’ve talked about moving for a year, and D.O.T is top of our list. It’s eight miles from Oxford and close to Didcot station, which will cut Sarah’s commute by quite a bit. It would be a great place for a dog too.

I quash that idea. Sarah Barstow, that’s her name, is a bright, beautiful, career minded woman. I know how lucky I am. She’s fully supportive of my volunteering as a dog walker, so long as she doesn’t have to go anywhere near. I keep an old jacket, jeans and sweatshirt in the garden shed, so she doesn’t have to be exposed to them, and take them to the launderette once a fortnight when they get too mud spattered and furry. Though I suspect Sid wouldn’t mind if I never washed them again.

I like dogs. We always had one when I was growing up. I enjoy their company. I love the feel of their fur and their unfettered joy at the sight of a ball. University, training and career moves meant I was never in a position to own a dog. But now that we’re settled, I have more time. Sid is a four-legged compromise.

As I said, I generally walk him three times a week. The easiest is a Saturday morning because work doesn’t impinge. When I’m on call, it might be difficult, but usually, I can easily squeeze in an hour. Wednesday afternoons are the next best. That’s when I theoretically have an SPA — supporting professional activity — afternoon. Of course, that ends up being more like two hours than a whole afternoon, but it means I can leave the hospital early. So I pick Sid up at four or a little earlier in the winter, while it’s still light. And finally, there are Tuesday mornings like this one, when I get to Paws for Claws for 6.30 and drop Sid off an hour later.

At 7.35am, I bike back into town. On the way I think again about Rob Eastman’s approach to work, his choices. No chasing private practice. Volunteering his service abroad. It sounds like an uncomplicated life. A much simpler existence.

Much like a dog’s.

There’s a lot to be said for that. How much fun would it be to swap lives with Sid for a day? I let my mind ponder this imponderable for a while and then put it from my mind. Because there are other things to consider within this construct.

Much as I might enjoy chasing after a ball, Sid wouldn’t thank me if he found himself being interviewed by the police about a missing girl.

Want to find out what happens next? You can get a copy of the book here:

Buy link
Amazon

Meet Dylan

017-Dyl-017 copy 2

BIO
Dylan Young grew up in a mining village in South Wales before boarding a train for university in London. A career in the NHS followed, but the urge to write never went away. Three dark psychological thrillers for Random House emerged in the late nineties, two of which were made into BBC films. Over the last decade, under different pseudonyms, he’s written children’s books and an adult contemporary fantasy series. But his liking for crime (writing) never died. 3 books in the Detective Anne Gwynne crime thriller series are now available from Bookouture; The Silent Girls, Blood Runs Cold, and before She Falls. The Appointment, and now The Operation, standalone psychological thrillers with a trademark medical flavour, are published by Bloodhound Books.

Contact Dylan

Dylanyougnauthor@gmail.com
http://www.jonestheauthor.com
@dyoungwrites

Thank you for dropping by to tell us about your new book, Dylan.  Wishing you lots of sales!


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My  first psychological thriller will be out later this year. Look out for the cover reveal, coming soon.

Meet the Characters – Skye from Ninja School Mum by Lizzie Chantree

A warm welcome to author Lizzie Chantree today, who has dropped by to share an interview with Skye from her  No. 1 bestseller, Ninja School Mum.

 

NSM paperback cover by Lizie Chantree

Blurb

Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?

When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.

Buy Links

Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum: viewBook.at/NinjaSchoolMum

Let’s move onto Lizzie’s interview with Skye from Ninja School Mum.

It’s been tricky to persuade Skye to sit down and talk to me about her past. Two things always get in the way and they are the fact that her real name isn’t Skye and she’s usually invisible. I don’t mean that we can’t see her, just that whatever we know about her is a smokescreen to protect her son. Lies fall from her lips as easily as we breathe air. She’s pretending to be a friendly parent at Leo’s new school, when in reality she is hiding from her dangerous past and has spent her life moving from one part of the country to another.

Why did you finally decide to stop running?

My husband’s dead. It’s time to stop grieving and start living again. My son needs stability and that is what I’ll do anything in my power to give him, even if it means being someone else again.

Have you ever been yourself?

It was so long ago I can barely remember. I’m trying to recall a ‘normal’ life, with people around me who don’t want to cause me harm. I know I’m obsessive compulsive and I have a packed suitcase in my wardrobe full of supplies, ready to run. It’s weird and annoys my son, but it’s kept us alive so far and I’m determined to blend into this new town. I won’t stand out, I’ll fit in, or die trying.

Why did you choose this place – this sleepy village and close community to live in?

I can learn from them. I can be a school mum and they won’t question me. We can live near open fields and woodlands, a place to escape if we have to. I can know everyone around me. Technology is invasive and I can infiltrate their lives and keep my son safe. They won’t suspect me. Our lives depend on it.

Can you be a regular school mum?

I can be a brilliant school mum. I can cook delicious and nutritious meals, be a light in the community, help in school and be an amazing and supportive new friend.

Did you just lie?

No.

Can you cook?

Of course…

Don’t you burn everything?

That happened once. I haven’t burnt anything on purpose for years. That includes food. Most of the time it’s edible.

Are you a good friend?

You know that I don’t like people. I’m loyal, but most of my friends are dead. My whole team, including my husband, were killed at work. Once you know the real me, you can trust me with your life, but that connection can put you in danger, so I live my life alone. It’s easier to refuse invitations and lunch dates. They get bored of asking after a while and I don’t worry about it. What other choice do I have? To really know me is a dangerous thing.

Are you lonely?

I have my son. I don’t need anyone else. Other school mum, Thea, and the landlord of my cottage, Zack, are ok, I guess, but they poke their noses in where it’s not wanted and I have to keep them at arm’s length. To them I’m a shy and slightly reclusive addition to the school ‘mum scrum.’ Thea quietly observes everything though and if I’m not careful, she might destroy the world I’ve painstakingly built around me.  I need to make her my friend and then upset her in some way to scare her away.  Then we’ll be safe again. For now.

I love the premise of this book, and readers are enjoying it too. Here are some of their comments.

‘As always the main characters fizz and entrance, with underdogs and divas, harassed hunks and devilishly attractive but flawed rogues…’

‘I thoroughly recommend this novel – that combines lots of humour with the hard-hitting subjects of bullying and loneliness. The characters are memorable and I’d love to have Skye as a friend.’

‘A sweet romantic mystery with danger, humour, and a twist you won’t see coming. It is funny and fast paced with complex, believable characters and a gripping plot. More please. ‘

You can purchase a copy of the book here:

Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum: viewBook.at/NinjaSchoolMum 

Meet Lizzie

Lizzie Chantree. Author photo small

Author bio:

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Visit her website at www.lizziechantree.com or follow her on Twitter @Lizzie_Chantreehttps://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree.

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your fantastic book, Lizzie.  Wishing you many sales!


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Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page

Tuesday Thrillers – Her Shallow Grave by D.K. Hood.

My Tuesday Thriller this week is the ‘absolutely gripping and pulse-racing crime thriller, Her Shallow Grave, by D.K. Hood, which was published by Bookouture on 10 July.

HER SHALLOW GRAVE G

Blurb

It’s winter in Black Rock Falls and, as tourists flock to the small town to take in the snowy mountain peaks, one visitor makes a sickening discovery. The frozen body of a young woman hangs from a tree on the outskirts of town. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate.

Jenna’s stomach turns as she surveys the ice-cold remains, and she’s soon alerted to similar burial sites nearby. With no missing persons reported, Jenna and her deputy, David Kane, fear Black Rock Falls is being used as a dumping ground for bodies.

As the body count mounts up, Jenna is more determined than ever to find the person responsible. But as she tries to catch the killer out, he outsmarts her once again and Jenna begins to wonder if he knows her next move. Could he be closer to her than she thinks?

Extract

Where am I? Evelyn Ross opened her eyes wide but only darkness pressed in on her. Had she lost her sight? Her head pounded and thirst had stuck her tongue to the roof of her mouth. Too afraid to move and heart pounding with fear, she touched her face, feeling to make sure her eyes were open. Her memory of last night was foggy, like reaching for an elusive dream. Where had she been? The memory of taking a ride into a town dusted with snow, filtered into her subconscious. She’d planned to look for a meal and a place to hole up until she found work. She searched her mind, grasping at ghosts, but the memory of what had happened after she’d arrived in town had vanished.

There was no valid explanation, nothing but a void existed, it was as if someone had stolen time from her. From the stale damp smell, perhaps, she’d crawled into someone’s cellar or was in a shed but it was the middle of winter and although chilled, she should be freezing. Sudden moves could mean falling into the dark unknown. She took deep breaths of air that smelled like the bottom of her grandma’s closet. Trembling with panic, she explored her surroundings with her fingers and found the unusual texture of rough blankets under her. The idea of someone locking her in a confined space was her biggest nightmare and she raised both arms above her in blind panic. As she stretched her fingers above and out to the sides, finding only air, she breathed a sigh of relief.

Darkness rose like a wall around her, she had to move and at least try to find a way out. She rolled onto one side, and examined what was under her, finding the distinct surrounds of a bed or perhaps bunk; more exploration found the head of the bed. She sat up and dropped her legs off the edge and her feet touched the floor. The next moment, she heard footsteps and the sound of a door closing. Whoever was upstairs had moved into another room. This was her chance to slip away unnoticed. She’d gotten in here somehow and there had to be a way out. She eased off the bed and dropping to her hands and knees, edged forward until she found the wall. In the darkness, she searched every inch of the cellar, running her hands over the walls until her fingernails bled before she found the staircase. At the top, a tiny line of light crept under the door. She fixed on it like a beacon and crept up the steps. At the top, she pressed her ear to the door. When no sound came from outside, she tried the knob, turning it slowly but the door didn’t move.

As if someone was outside the door, listening, she heard a low chuckle and the jangle of keys.

“You’re never leaving me.” The voice was deep and masculine.

Angry, she hammered on the door. “Let me out!”

“I don’t think so.” He thumped on the door. “Are you thirsty? Hungry? You’ll have to be nice if you want to eat. If you don’t cooperate, you’ll be punished.” His voice changed, becoming hard. “I’m sick of playing games with you, you’re no fun at all. Get back downstairs or I’ll kill you—it’s your choice.”

She screamed for help until her throat ached and her voice came out in a whimper but it only seemed to amuse him.

“Yeah, scream. I like that and no one can hear you.” He chuckled again. “No one is coming to save you, Delores.”

“Who is Delores? My name is Evelyn. You have the wrong person.” She shook her head in defiance, wishing her voice was more than a feeble croak.

“I know exactly who you are, Delores.” He sounded self-assured and she could hear the excitement in his voice. “I control every breath you take. You belong to me.”

“No! I’ll never belong to you.” She banged on the door. “Let me out!”

The door flew open, hitting her in the face. Her feet slipped and she fell backward into darkness. Agony ricocheted into her back as she slammed into the steps and then bounced down the stairs like a rag doll. Gasping to draw air into her bruised lungs, she closed her eyes. She’d broken one arm for sure and her hip hurt so bad, yet she’d survived. Nauseous from intolerable pain, she lay panting in a tangled mess on the cold cement floor. High above, the open door flooded the room with light. A man stood in the doorway, the backlight making his dark shadow menacing, but it was the glint of the weapon in his hand that petrified her. A light came on in the cellar and she made out his cold dark eyes. He was watching her without expression.

“You’ve been a very bad girl, Delores.” He rubbed the muzzle of his Glock against his chin. “You’ve broken my rules and spoiled everything. We could’ve had so much fun.”

Terrified, Evelyn stared at him. “We can still have fun. Please don’t hurt me. I’ll be good, I promise.”

“It’s too late.” He chuckled as if at a private joke. “It always ends up like this, doesn’t it, Delores? You begging for your life and offering me the world?” He aimed the pistol at her and smiled. “You already know the end to the story.”

The steps creaked under his weight. He was enjoying her fear. In sheer terror, she tried to drag her battered body away and hide but the sound of heavy footsteps followed her, walking slow. There was no escape and he had all the time in the world. I’m going to die.

Chilling, isn’t it? If you  want to find out what happens, you can grab a copy of the book here:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B087378QTGSocial

Apple: https://apple.co/2V88Oru

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2xyBosS

Google: https://bit.ly/2wEG93K

 Meet D.K.Hood

D.K Hood6

Author bio

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY and Amazon Bestselling Author of The Detective Kane and Alton Series, D.K Hood lives very quietly with her husband and has a small but beautiful garden filled with birds and water dragons.

Contact links

Website: http://www.dkhood.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dkhoodauthor/

Twitter: @DKHood_Author

 

Thank you for dropping by to tell us about your new book, D.K.  Wishing you lots of sales!


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My  first psychological thriller will be out later this year. Look out for the cover reveal, coming soon.

Friday Reads – Buried Treasure by Gilli Allan

It’s been a while since I had a Friday Reads post, but when talented author Gilli Allan told me that she was releasing her latest novel, Buried Treasure, in paperback with a brand new cover, I really wanted to share the news with you. So let’s find out all about the book.

BuriedTreasure-EBOOK-Cvr

BLURB

“I found Buried Treasure a compelling read. It was so many things: a love story, a hunt for clues to lost secrets, and a fascinating look at how our past experiences shape us, and how we can heal even after damage. The characters were wonderfully well drawn. ”

Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.
Within the ancient precincts of the university the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again. But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, they’ve more in common than divides them. Both have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.

Buy Links

mybook.to/BURIEDTREASURE

Gilli is sharing a sneak peek extract with us today.

Chapter 2

Theo Tyler turns in through the main gates of the college. The man in the window acknowledges him as he drives past the porters’ lodge. It might be a small courtesy, but he appreciates it. There were no such niceties at Exeter. And it’s still a pleasure to be parking with that view ahead of him. How many people can claim to work somewhere as iconic as this? His arrival at this point in his life does not yet feel secure enough to be celebrated; it has only been two terms, and there’s every likelihood he’ll have to leave when Dennis Creech completes his research project – but if he’s impressed them enough, and forged the right allegiances and networks, there’s a chance he’ll be offered something else.

He drives slowly towards his usual parking space.  Between here and the old part of Lancaster College – its ancient brick a vivid burnt orange against the blue sky – is the river. The footbridge across it leads to an arched walkway that pierces the first of the complex of buildings. But his complacent appreciation of his current workplace is rudely interrupted. His bay is occupied. There’s no reservation policy, of course, but since his first day there’s been a kind of unspoken gentleman’s agreement and, until this morning, he’s suspected that no one else’s car would actually fit the slot he parks in. He’s long since ceased fretting that he might need to U-turn and drive back around to the main car park.

Small and bright pink, the interloper is open-topped, with a banner across the boot that shouts “I heart Essex”. Who on earth would choose to buy a car in that extraordinary colour?  Evidently someone proud of his or her Essex connection.  Making the awkward manoeuvre he turns and drives back, past the gates, the porters lodge and the old accommodation. The internal roadway bears right, leading to the large car park and the college’s 1980s expansion on this side of the river.   He inwardly curses the intrusive thoughts from his childhood, and whoever has parked in his space, and added five minutes to his walk.

Chapter 3

Emma pours two coffees, then grabs a pastry. ‘What’s first on the list?’

‘We’ve twenty minutes before we meet the manager of the college’s hospitality department and start the tour round the accommodation and the facilities. Then….’ Jane pauses, momentarily transfixed. A whirl of crumbs floats down around her friend, as she tears off a portion of her pastry and opens her mouth exaggeratedly wide.

‘Lipstick,’ Emma explains.

‘For the moment, you can carry on networking, or shopping, or….’ Eating, Jane adds in her head, as she clicks over to her inbox. ‘And I have a load of emails to deal with.’

Apart from the tap of keys, the occasional sigh or muttered comment and the scrape of the chair as Emma stands up to help herself to another pastry, the room becomes quiet, until she speaks again.

‘Did you say your sister came here?’

‘She could have. I suspect Oxford was preferred because it’s further away from home.’

‘But you never regretted your decision to leave school?’

Jane looks down at her feet. It’s all very well showing off her tan, but she’s a bit cold. Because of the weather forecast she’d chosen to wear open-toed sandals and tight white cut offs, but now half regrets the vanity.

‘Rachel had the brains and the aptitude. What’s that?’ Is something clinging to the blue-painted nail of her big toe? She pushes back her chair and bends over to brush off the fleck. ‘But at the moment she’s taking some extended maternity leave to look after Pandora.’

‘Pandora?’

‘Not a name I’d choose,’ Jane acknowledges. ‘And she’s currently trying to start a beauty vlog.’

‘She’s quite a bit older than you, isn’t she?’

‘Seven years … Bugger it!’ Whatever it is – a bit of fluff, a tiny sliver of paper – it’s stuck fast. Jane licks her finger to wipe it away. ‘Hell!  I don’t believe it!  I’ve bloody chipped my toe-nail!’ Jane sits up straight, head buzzing with annoyance. Emma looks across.

‘It hardly notices.’

‘But I’ve only just had them done!  Damn it!’

‘Honestly, no one’s going to know.’

I know!’ She grabs her bag, and begins to rummage.

‘I wouldn’t worry, if I was you.’

But you’re patently not me, Jane thinks, giving the retrieved varnish bottle a vigorous shake. Lifting her leg, she props her bare foot on the edge of the table in front of her.  The brush pinched between her fingers, she leans forward and catches sight of the fan of pastry flakes on the floor around Emma. It’s an effort to control the urge to put the varnish down and begin clearing them up, or at the very least to nag Emma to do so.  To divert herself, Jane reverts to the previous subject.

‘So, there was me, just scraping along at Saint Philomena’s, everyone – parents and staff alike – only too willing to rub my nose in what a popular all-round star my sister was, and why was I so rubbish, when Rachel got into Oxford. Always a bit of a know-all, she was instantly a gazillion times worse. All hoity-toity and totally insufferable, like she knew everything and we knew nothing!  I was embarrassed for Mum and Dad, but they fawned over her as if she was the oracle!  And from then on, the parade of cringe-making boyfriends…!’  Her finger to her mouth, Jane mimes retching, prompting a giggle from Emma. ‘They had to be seen to be believed. And they all had those god-awful Hooray Henry names. You wouldn’t catch me going out with a….’ Sitting up straight and wiggling her toes, she assumes her best upper-class drawl. ‘A Hugo or a Quentin! Then to cap it all, she went and married a Miles! I was amazed by my parents’ acceptance of him.’

‘Apart from his name what’s wrong with him?’

‘He’s far older than Rachel, with one of those smoke and mirrors jobs that caused the 2008 crash. He’s previously married with two school age kids … and with all the arrogance and air of entitlement you’d expect of a man from his background. I refused even to try to follow in my sister’s footsteps.’ Jane frowns down at her toenail; she can still see the paler triangular indentation. As she lifts her foot and props it on the edge of the table again, she is thinking about the stubborn certainties of her younger self, but it’s pointless regretting the decisions made back then.

She stoops forward holding the recharged varnish brush. ‘Wasting my time at university … particularly a fusty, dusty old pile of stones like this one … and coming home with my nose in the air and plums in my mouth was the very last thing I wanted.’

Intrigued? You can get a copy of the book here:

mybook.to/BURIEDTREASURE

Find Gilli’s other books TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL at

author.to/GILLIALLAN

Meet Gilli

me

Biography

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the imaginary kind.

After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as an illustrator in advertising and only began writing again when she became a mother.

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

All of her recent books TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL and BURIED TREASURE have gained ‘Chill with a Book’ awards.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is now also a writer.

Contact Gilli at

 http://gilliallan.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gilli.allan.1

https://twitter.com/gilliallan

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Gilli. Wishing you lots of sales!


Twitter Header - Karen King

Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page

 

Meet the Characters – Jessica Bradley from Everything is Fine by Gillian Harvey

A warm welcome to author, Gillian Harvey, who is interviewing Jessica Bradley from her debut novel, Everything is Fine.  ‘Everything is Fine’ was published by Orion in e-book, paperback and audiobook in May 2020. Let’s find out a bit more about the book.

Front cover

Blurb:

Jessica Bradley has it all: the perfect boyfriend; influential healthy-eating blog; successful PR company and wonderful daughter, Anna. Or at least that is what her thousands of followers believe.

The truth is, her boyfriend just broke up with her in four words on a post-it; her zest for healthy-eating has all but disappeared; her PR success is all reliant on her now not-so-honest online-life and she just got caught eating her daughter’s Coco-Pops.

So as they say: fake it ’til you make it. A few little white lies and phoney smiling selfies and Jess can keep up appearances. But when her real-life starts to spiral out of control how can Jess tell the truth from the lies? And will she be able to seize real happiness when it is right in front of her?

Hilarious, heart-warming and oh-so relatable, Everything Is Fine is perfect for fans of Louise Pentland, Anna Bell and Lindsey Kelk.

‘Just the escapism we need right now’ EVENING STANDARD

‘Hilarious and relatable’ WOMAN

‘A perfect weekend read’ GRAZIA

The book is currently on Kindle special for just 99p!

Buy from Amazon (e-book, audio or paperback): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Enviable-Life-Jessica-Bradley/dp/1409191869/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1570694580&sr=8-1-fkmr1

Buy from an independent bookshop: https://www.brookspinner.com/onlineorders

Buy from Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/everything-is-fine/gillian-harvey/9781409191865

Interview with Jessica Bradley, from Star PR

Why did you start your blog?

Like a lot of mums, I’d gained a bit of weight after having Anna (now 12) and I’d struggled to shift it over the years. So I thought starting a blog about my weight-loss journey and the different things I tried might help me to stick to a plan. It worked, and I was really into health and fitness for a while.

Your blog has a lot of followers – that must feel amazing!

Yes, it does. At least, most of the time. The truth is, I had a couple of lucky breaks. I posted a recipe that turned out to be a real hit (seaweed foam salad) and a celebrity retweeted one of my posts. The day I woke up to see I had followers in the thousands I was stunned!  And then my little PR business started getting a lot of calls from people who wanted me to help them with their social media too.

That’s wonderful – so how are things going?

Between you and me, I’m feeling a lot of pressure. My fitness regime was pretty intense, and what with being a mum and work and trying to keep juggling all the different parts of my life, I sometimes find I’m a bit too tired to go to the gym. And although I gave up chocolate for a month or so, it’s impossible longer term. Well, at least – for me. I’m not quite as fit as I used to be. I’m fine with that, but people expect me to be superfit, so I suppose I’m a bit embarrassed.

Still, you have the lovely Dave by your side!

Yes, my partner Dave is amazing. He’s been my rock. Well, sort of. He’s got rock-hard abs, at least.

This is off the record, but he hasn’t been around much lately.  We’ve kind of broken up. He just seemed to vanish from my life one morning.  I… well, it was a bit of a shock.

Oh! I didn’t see you mention it on the blog?

Well, that’s just it… (sorry – just checking – this is confidential, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not going online right?) Dave’s one of the most popular things about my blog.  He’s a proper fitness nut, and pretty easy on the eye. I suppose I’m just worried I’m not interesting enough without him.

Worried about losing followers, you mean?

Well, kind of. It’s more the business side of things. Having those followers made my business grow so quickly that I took on extra staff. What if I lose popularity and my clients quit? I don’t think I’m enough without Dave’s support – when I post a picture of him on the blog, the clicks go through the roof!

But you’re a bit of a star too – you’ve posted some amazing selfies!

Yes. A lot of them were taken a little while ago. I suppose things have started to … slip a bit. But I’m getting back on track! Honest!  And there’s no harm in using some throwback shots is there? After all, nobody wants to see their fitness guru looking a bit wobbly.

Anyway, at least work’s going well, right?

Yes! I’m very excited about some work by the sculptor and artist Hugo Henderson. He’s created some new work that’s exceptionally good.  It’ll be on display at the local gallery soon, and it’s already attracted a lot of press attention.

Brilliant – can you share a picture?

Do you mind if I don’t. It’s just… well, personal reasons. I suppose you’ll see it eventually. But – I’d rather not share it right now if that’s Ok.

Hang on, I recognise the name Hugo Henderson… isn’t that…?

Sigh. Yes, Hugo Henderson became known as #penisguy after an incident at the local library. Nothing illegal, strictly speaking. He just broke something off a sculpture – his sculpture – by mistake.

Why the hashtag? It sounds like a fairly minor incident – not something that would usually trend on Twitter

Well, the ‘item’ was three metres long.  And there was footage of him running on CCTV being chased by a security guard. That went viral, and you know how it is…

I see. Still, all publicity is good publicity, right?

So they tell me.

Recently, I’m not so sure.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m very excited about my new client, Robert, who’s written a book called Remembering Rainbows – all about embracing our inner child and finding happiness.

Most importantly though, I’m going to get the old Jessica back. After all, she was a part of me. Just a more enthusiastically fit part of me.

All I have to do is stop stealing Anna’s Coco Pops…

It sounds fun, doesn’t it? You can grab a copy here:

Amazon

Meet Gillian

smaller

Gillian Harvey is a freelance writer, author and mum of five young children currently living in Limousin, France.

www.gillianharvey.com

Twitter: @GillPlusFive

Instagram: @GillPlusFive

Facebook: @gharveyauthor

 

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Gillian. Wishing you many sales!


Twitter Header - Karen King

Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page

Tuesday Thrillers – What I Know by Miranda Smith

My guest this week is Miranda Smith whose new psychological thriller, What I Know, was published by Bookouture on June 24th.

What I Know Cover

Blurb

I was eleven the first time my brother tried to kill me.

These days, Della is a loving wife, a dedicated teacher, a woman trying to do her best. She has put her past far behind her. But she hasn’t forgotten the lessons she learned.

It’s just a regular morning when Della welcomes Zoey to her English class. She treats her like any other new student: assigns her a desk, hands out the work. But then she meets Zoey’s cold, calculating eyes and freezes as terrifying memories threaten to overwhelm her.

Della knows what evil looks like when it hides behind a confident smile. Her own brother, the town’s darling, couldn’t keep his true nature hidden for ever. Della has been watching out for people like him ever since, determined to stop them before it’s too late.

When a student is viciously attacked and Della is sent a detailed account of the crime, she’s more convinced than ever that Zoey has darkness inside her.

But to make people believe her, she needs proof. Will she risk everything to get it? And without it, can she be sure she’s right?

Prepare to be hooked by this dark, gripping crime thriller, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter, Gillian Flynn and Rachel Caine.

Buy Links

Amazon: https://bit.ly/2YHk3HT

Apple: https://apple.co/2YJtfeJ

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3fANfr1

Google: https://bit.ly/2wSiltn

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Winter 2000

My brother was thirteen the first time he tried to kill me. Before that, there was only violence in an explainable sense. A smack when I stole a fry. A kick when I took away his ball. I never thought much of it, nor did my parents. He wasn’t trying to harm me, I thought. Only retaliate.

He’d broken one of Dad’s guitar strings, and even though he threatened me with his stern, squeaky voice not to tell, I did. Mom and Dad unplugged his Nintendo 64 and sent him to bed.

Hours later, I woke up to a strange smell. Between the darkness and my vision impairment, I couldn’t decipher anything but lights and blurs. When I put my glasses on and focused, I saw the flames climbing the floor-length curtains of my bedroom window. I sat motionless, too scared to move, breathing in the smoke.

Mom and Dad ran into my room seconds later. Mom scooped me up as Dad got a bowl of water and effortlessly extinguished the flames. Perhaps it was scarier to me than it was to them, but I still remember the staccato thumping of Mom’s heart as she held me close.

“No more candles, Della,” Dad howled, out of breath from his speedy rush with the water bowl.

“We’ve told you to blow them out before bed,” Mom said, slightly less angry. Her fingers slid under my frames and wiped the tears off my cheeks.

Perhaps allowing an eleven-year-old to burn candles wasn’t the best parenting decision Mom and Dad made, but it would also prove to be far from their worst.

“I blew them out,” I said. I took a deep breath and clutched the ragged edge of my blanket. “I always blow them out.”

“Obviously you didn’t,” Dad said, shaking the charred fabric.

“I did,” I cried. I knew, knew, knew I did, and even if I didn’t, the three candles I’d bought with my allowance on our last family vacation sat on my dresser, nowhere near the window. One had been moved, away from its mates and near the scorched remains of my curtains.

“You’re lucky Brian came and got us,” Mom said, pressing her cool palms against my cheeks.

And that’s when I saw him, standing in the doorway. His eyes looked through me and everyone else, as always. The sides of his lips flicked upward. My ninety seconds of horror would provide him entertainment for the next month.

“He did this!” I lifted my arm. My fingers, still clutching the blanket, shook the entire cloth as I pointed. “I know he did.”

“Oh, ridiculous,” Mom said.

“He did this because you took his stupid Nintendo,” I cried.

My parents always told Brian to stay away from Dad’s instruments. He never listened. I’d felt a flicker of pride when I discovered one of the strings was broken. Younger siblings are constantly searching for the upper hand, even though I felt guilty when he yelled at Mom and slammed his bedroom door. I knew he’d find a way to get even, but I didn’t expect this.

“I had to potty and smelled something weird,” Brian said. I hadn’t heard him use potty in forever. Usually it was pee or piss, and when he felt particularly dangerous, shit.

“He’s lying,” I screamed, my fear twisting into anger. I attempted to wriggle out of Mom’s lap, but she held tight.

“Enough,” Mom said.

Dad said nothing. Not that night and not the following morning.

Brian went back to his room. Mom and Dad did, too. I cradled myself in bed, unable to sleep. The smell of smoke lingered. I knew what Brian had done and dreaded what he was capable of, perhaps, doing again. No one believed me then, or in the years that followed. No one believed me until it was too late.

Miranda Smith Photo

Author Bio

Miranda Smith writes psychological suspense. She is drawn to stories about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Before completing her first novel, she worked as a newspaper staff writer and a secondary English teacher. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband and children.

Contact Links

Website: www.mirandasmithwriter.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MirandaSmithAuthor

Twitter: @MSmithBooks

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mirandasmithwriter/


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My  first psychological thriller will be out later this year. Look out for the cover reveal, coming soon.

Meet the Characters – Anna Redding from The Cottage in a Cornish Cove by Cass Grafton

I’m thrilled to host author Cass Grafton on my blog today. Cass is interviewing Anna Redding from her heartwarming romance, The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, the first in the Polkerran Village Tales.

Let’s take a look at the gorgeous cover and blurb first.

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove-1600x2400px

Blurb

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is a heart-warming tale of discovering all you never wanted is exactly what you need.

Orphaned as a baby and raised by uncaring relatives, much of Anna Redding’s happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in the charming village of Polkerran.

With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna is drawn back to the West Country, relocating to the Cornish cove where she was once so happy. Filled with memories, she hopes to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart flutter.

Settling into her new life, and enjoying her work for the older, reclusive and—to be honest—often exasperating Oliver Seymour, Anna is delighted when Alex reappears in Polkerran and sweeps her off her feet.

The stars finally seem to be aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery brings everything under threat, and she realises she’s living a dream that isn’t hers to hold.

Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself and, when the testing moment comes, will anyone be there to hold her hand?

Buy Links

Amazon

Now let’s move onto Cass’s interview with Anna Redding, whose story is told in The Cottage in a Cornish Cove.

First of all, Anna, thank you for welcoming me to your cottage in Polkerran. Can you tell us a bit about how your love affair with Cornwall began and what prompted you to relocate there?

From the age of 6 to 18, I was lucky enough to spend the six-week school summer holidays living in Polkerran, and I simply fell in love with… well, not just the village…

Are you blushing?

No! Well, maybe a bit. Anyway, it was all down to serendipity. This lady (I called her Aunt Meg, though she wasn’t really a relation) came to visit her friends in Chiswick, next door to where I was growing up with my aunt and uncle. She kindly offered for me to stay with her in Cornwall every summer. They were some of the happiest days of my childhood.

And that made you blush, why?

Er… well, okay. I also developed this massive crush on one of the local boys, Alex Tremayne. He lived in the local manor house, was—is a few years older than me and he was just… gorgeous. Blond, sun kissed and with this dazzling smile—not that he ever directed it at me back then, of course. I was just some gangly-limbed kid, a summer visitor he barely noticed.

But that’s all in the past; just a silly teenage crush. Sadly, Aunt Meg passed away recently and to my amazement, she left me her house in Polkerran. I wasn’t in the best place, to be honest. I’d let myself drift into a demoralising relationship, and it seemed like a lifeline, a chance to escape and start again, so I relocated down to the place where I remembered being the happiest I had ever been in my life.

What do you miss most about your old life in North Yorkshire?

I miss my mate, Lauren, so much, even though we’re on Zoom chats all the time! We were friends from our college days and we’d shared the house in Harrogate (with Georgia) for a few years. There was something so lovely about living in that house, and I miss the companionship. There was always someone to talk to, listen to, laugh with.

I also miss Harrogate. It was a fun place to live and work, and my job was so rewarding. I travelled all over Yorkshire co-ordinating events, and I miss the pressure and variety.

Your part-time job doing admin for a writer/historian must be a huge change of pace. What’s it like working for Oliver Seymour? 

It’s a bit of a challenge, to be honest. I can’t quite work him out. I mean, he’s pretty grumpy most of the time. Doesn’t mince his words… or in fact, use many if he can help it.

So you’re not enjoying the job?

Oh yes I am! I love the work. Oliver’s working on this amazing history book and his writing is fantastic. It’s not at all dry; somehow, he brings it all alive, as if it’s living history, if that makes sense? He’s a social historian, so I suppose that’s what he lives and breathes.

It’s just… if I’m honest, I’m not overly stretched, typing and editing. I’m hoping he might have more work for me once the book is done.

Is that why you’ve also decided to open the cottage as a bed and breakfast?

Yes! I’m excited about it. The evenings and weekends can be very long when you’re used to being in a house with other people, and I’ve loved getting the cottage ready for visitors who I know are going to fall in love with the view and staying in Polkerran, much as I did.

When you’re not working, you clearly have a love of baking and enjoy having the locals gathered around the table in your kitchen. How did it come about?

Not by design, but I’ve come to look forward to it. I’ve known Mrs Lovelace since I was a child; she was an old friend of Aunt Meg’s. She came to visit me and brought her daughter, Jean, along, and then Phee called. Phoenix and I met when I used to spend the summers in Polkerran. She’s a year or so younger and has a sweet little daughter. Nicki lives next door, is married to a local fisherman and has two small sons in the village school. She was a great help when I first arrived. Oh, and then there’s Daniel. He’s done a lot of DIY for me at the cottage.

They sort of started to gather around the kitchen table mid-morning, so I began baking cakes and biscuits to ensure I had plenty to offer them. Aunt Meg taught me years ago, so I’m using lots of her hand-written recipes.

Mrs Lovelace is quite a character, and, as you say, you’ve known her ever since your early visits to Polkerran as a child. She’s renowned for her malapropisms. Can you share a couple of your favourites?

Dear old Mrs L. She does come out with them at times. She was talking only the other day about the local Spar shop prostituting people (for shoplifting). Mind you, she also says Alex has interior motives. She meant ulterior of course, but I’m beginning to suspect she may not be far off the mark. I’m very fond of her, even though she does love a good gossip.

Lovely. To finish, I’ve got some quick-fire questions. Can you give me just one word to describe each of these Polkerran locals:

I’ll try. One word isn’t a lot…

Daniel (the odd-job man): I’d have to say decent.

Alex (your teenage crush): That’s easy, dreamy!

Mrs Lovelace: Definitely endearing.

Phoenix (your friend from your summers in Polkerran): Carefree.

Nicki (your next-door neighbour): she’s my Cornish rock!

Oliver (your boss): Exasperating. No, wait. Inscrutable… I mean taciturn, but also considerate. And intelligent. Sorry; you said one word? Tall. He’s very tall…

Interesting. Well, thank you Anna, for your time and the delicious hot chocolate. I think I can hear your band of locals approaching, so I’ll take my leave (and just one of those brownies, if that’s okay?) and let you enjoy your coffee time.

I love the sound of this book. Readers are too. Here are some of their reviews:

Poignant and uplifting, this is a heart-warming and emotional tale set in a beautiful Cornish village fans of Fern Britton and Jane Linfoot are sure to enjoy. Beautifully told, brilliantly atmospheric and absolutely unputdownable, Cass Grafton has penned a spellbinding romantic read that is simply mesmerizing.

Bookish Jottings

So thoroughly gorgeous, and so well written – with tremendous warmth, lovely touches of gentle humour, quite wonderful characters. It just fills your heart with joy, with a perfect balance of tears and laughter. Highly, highly recommended.

Being Anne Blog

Plenty of giggles (and a few laugh out loud moments); a touch of mystery that keeps the pages turning to the end… romance to make you weak at the knees.

Amazon US Reviewer

If you  fancy treating yourself to a copy you can grab one here:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble Nook

Smashwords (for PDF, lrf, txt, pdb, html, Mobi or ePub files) on:

Apple iBookStore

Meet Cass

Cass Grafton 2019

Cass Grafton – Bio

An avid bookworm since childhood, Cass Grafton writes the sort of stories she loves to read–heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.

She leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine but never in the same glass. She has two grown up children and currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and imaginary cats, and England, where she lives with her characters.

Social Media links

Blogs

http://www.cassandragrafton.com

http://www.tabbycow.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CassGraftonWriter

Twitter: @CassGrafton

Instagram : @cassgraftonwriter

Thanks so much for popping by to tell us about your book, Cass. Wishing you many sales.


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Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Thrillers – First Shot by John Ryder

Welcome to my new Tuesday Thrillers blog. Every week I will be sharing a new thriller novel with you. I hope you enjoy reading about them. My first guest is John Ryder, whose latest thriller First Shot is out now.

First Shot cover

Blurb

“When girls go missing here, no one says a word…”

Twenty-four year old Lila has disappeared without a trace. It’s the kind of case that ex-military loner Grant Fletcher would normally be happy to take on—if someone had the money to pay him. But this one he’s doing for free. This one’s personal.

Fletcher owes his life to Lila’s father, from that time in Afghanistan he’d like to forget. And Fletcher knows that returning Lila safe and sound is the only thing that matters to his wheelchair-bound friend.

She last called her father from a small town called Daversville, in rural Georgia. A place—Fletcher discovers as he checks into the only motel—where folks are proud to keep themselves to themselves, and almost all the business comes from the giant sawmill that looms large over the town.

Before he’s even started looking for Lila, Fletcher finds trouble. And discovers that his friend’s daughter wasn’t the first girl to go missing there. Not the first by far.

Then the last person to have seen Lila before she disappeared is murdered. With Fletcher on the scene when her body is found, he becomes the local deputy’s only suspect, leaving him no choice but to go on the run. Because he knows someone’s abducting girls in this town. And he also knows he’s the only one who can find them…

Fans of the high-octane action and unforgettable heroes found in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series and David Baldacci’s Amos Decker books will love First Shot.

Extract

The early evening air was cooling to a tolerable level after the day’s high temperature, and as such, it carried sound with a clarity that gave him far more warning of possible trouble than he needed. Either someone had a major emergency, or there was a learner driver on the roads who’d never mastered safe cornering speeds.

There was another screech of tires as a second corner was rounded, and then the thumping roar of a V8 being demanded to donate every one of its horses to the driver’s cause.

He sent a glance the diner’s way. The server was looking out the front window and her gaze was locked on him. Fletcher gave her a subtle wave to let her know he’d seen her watching and resumed his waiting.

The roaring grew louder as a battered pickup shot into the parking lot and squealed to a halt.

Four young men emptied themselves from the pickup and walked towards Fletcher. To him they looked like everyday punks. They had a belligerent swagger and more of a desire to appear tough than an ability to carry out whatever threat they made.

All four were tall and rangy, their bodies hardened as if by physical labor. As a group they’d think someone like Fletcher was little threat. Their clothes were washed-out denims and shirts that had seen better days. No follower of fashion himself, Fletcher still recognized their clothes were nothing like the stylish ones he saw most punks their age wearing.

Fletcher eased himself upward from where he was sitting on the hood of the rental sedan and waited until they approached him.

This was the reaction he’d suspected he’d get when he’d shown the picture to the server in the diner. In every way imaginable, it backed up Brad’s story. Now it was a case of seeing how things played out.

The tallest of the young men stepped forward, his whole demeanor filled with the unassailable arrogance of youth. “You’re not from round here, sir, and I think you should return to wherever it is you come from.”

Even in a potential fight situation, the Southern manners of the youth shone through. In these parts anyone conversing with someone older than them by fifteen years or more would always address the person they were speaking to as Sir or Ma’am. It was a respect thing and would be automatic. When the “Sir” was dropped, it wouldn’t be bad manners, it would be outright disrespect and a sure sign things were about to get ugly.

Fletcher dropped a lazy smile at Tall Boy, as he thought of him. “Not planning to be here long. Just passing through.” Fletcher pulled the picture of Lila from his pocket and showed it to Tall Boy. “Once I find my friend, I’ll be gone. Don’t suppose you know where she is? She went missing after eating at the diner six days ago.”

Tall Boy answered without looking at the picture. “Ain’t never seen her.”

At Tall Boy’s shoulder one of his buddies gave a snort of derision. Fletcher ignored him; he was the thinnest of the four and while he was being cocky, he was also making sure he was behind Tall Boy and his freckle-faced buddy.

To Tall Boy’s right was the widest of the four. He was as well-built as Fletcher, but while his body was sculpted, his features had a bovine emptiness to them. Of the gang, he’d be the one who’d be the most dangerous, assuming the coming fight was about brute strength rather than intelligence.

“Are you sure about that? Maybe your buddies would know.”

“She ain’t anywhere in town, so it’s time for you to leave, sir.” Tall Boy jerked a thumb in the direction of the road. “Big fat guy was asking the same questions you is. Was accusin’ the good people of Daversville of abducting the girl. Folks round here don’t like gettin’ accused of things they ain’t done and if you’re fixin’ on doing the same, I’d recommend you don’t waste no time in leaving town.”

Fletcher looked Tall Boy up and down with a deliberate slowness. He wasn’t worried about the impending scuffle. These four yokels weren’t the kind of people he’d considered a threat since a sergeant major with an inventive repertoire of coarse vocabulary had taught him and a clutch of other recruits to the Royal Marines how to fight.

“And if I’m not ready to leave, what will happen?”

“We’ll make you ready. Yeah, boys?”

Tall Boy threw a disdainful look over his shoulder at Cocky for stealing his thunder. As much as the implied threat had now been voiced, Fletcher’s attention was on the way the gang’s dynamic had been shown. Tall Boy was the top dog, the contrition on Cocky’s face had made that clear. Freckles and Muscles had adopted what they must have believed were intimidating stances, but they were keeping silent and taking their lead from Tall Boy.

“As my associate says, we’ll persuade you to leave now. Ain’t no hospital in Daversville, so it’s sure a long walk to the emergency room.”

“I like walking. It’s good exercise.” Fletcher saw the first traces of uncertainty in their faces as he straightened his stance and squared up to Tall Boy. “You’re forgetting something, though.”

“Yeah?” The solitary word fell from Tall Boy’s mouth in a scoffed laugh.

“You never said please.”

All four boys laughed at this, and Cocky leaned between Tall Boy and Freckles, his head thrust forward.

“Will you please get the hell out of our town?”

“No.”

Tall Boy’s top lip curled into a mocking sneer. “Kick his ass.”

“Wait.” Fletcher made a halting gesture. “You’re not being very smart about this. You see, I get your thinking, there’s four of you. You think you’re able to take me down without any trouble. You’ve all got at least two or three inches on me; you’re probably all twenty years or so younger as well. Those will seem like good odds to you. However, have you asked yourselves who I am and why I’m the one looking for the girl? Have you also thought about why I’m not backing down?” To further incite their anger, Fletcher wagged his finger like a school principal giving a student a dressing-down. “Here I am confronted by four fit and strong young men, and yet I’m not climbing into my car and hightailing it out of town. Doesn’t that tell you that I’m not afraid of you? That, in fact, maybe I’m a threat to you?”

Well that’s told them! It sounds a riveting read, doesn’t it? Here’s what readers are saying:

Outstanding… Grips you from the start to the end… A fantastic book… Move over Jack Reacher.” Goodreads Reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I’m still shaking from this heart pounding thriller… John Ryder you nailed it!… Chilling! Riveting! Dark! Action Packed! Twisted! Everything a thriller should be!” The Secret Book Sleuth ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can grab a copy here:

https://geni.us/B085DXSTKLCover

Meet John Ryder

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Bio

John Ryder is a former farmworker and joiner. He’s turned his hand to many skills to put food on the table and clothes on his back. A life-long bibliophile, he eventually summoned the courage to try writing himself, and his Grant Fletcher novels have drawn inspiration from authors such as Lee Child, Tom Cain, Zoe Sharp and Matt Hilton. When it comes to future novels, he says he has more ideas than time to write them.

When not writing, John enjoys spending time with his son, reading and socialising with friends. A fanatic supporter of his local football team, he can often be found shouting encouragement to men much younger and fitter than he is.

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/johnryder101

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnRyderAuthor

 


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My  first psychological thriller will be out later this year. Look out for the cover reveal, coming soon.

Meet the Characters – David from His Wife’s Secret by Susan Willis

I’m delighted to welcome author Susan Willis today. Susan is interviewing David from her latest psychologica thriller, His Wife’s Secret. Let’s take a look at the cover and blurb first.

susanauthor66 THIS ONE 9.11.19

 

BLURB

When David meets old school-friend, Erin again he falls head over heels in love. He leaves his wife and their sixteen-year-old daughter to marry Erin. But, in a small village people have long memories and they move south for a fresh beginning. Erin’s behaviour starts to change in a very strange way and David wonders if she is punishing him for something he’s done?

 

Buy Links

Ebook   https://amzn.to/2DDhlci

Paperback   https://amzn.to/34kAVoR

It sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Now here’s the interview with David.

The following year after my traumatic experience I was asked a few questions by the mental health team. I had groaned inside not wanting to relive any of the trauma and flashbacks but took a deep breath and put pen to paper.

Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m just an ordinary type of guy from the North of England. I am not one of these hero’s you read about in romance stories. I don’t ride a white horse and don’t possess a charger to rescue women in distress. Of course, if I did see a woman in trouble, I would try to help just like any man would do, right?

Q2. How did you meet your wife, Erin?

Our old cat went under the wheels of a car one day. I rushed him into Gateshead to the vet’s surgery. And that is when I had first met Erin. She had been the receptionist behind the desk and I’d vaguely remembered her from primary school with her bright red hair. While Erin had inputted our cat’s details into the computer, I had desperately tried to remember her name. Erin had thrown her head back and laughed at my puzzled expression and explained that she had gone to the same school, but they’d moved to Australia when she was seven.

Q3. Had you already left your first wife, Beth?

No, I had not, but from the moment I’d met Erin, I couldn’t stay away from her. After three months, and I don’t want to use the word, affair, because we were so much more than that, I buckled under the guilt and confessed my feelings to Beth.

Q4. Did you know about Erin’s troubled childhood when you met?

No, to this question, too. She told me briefly that her mother and baby brother had been killed in a car crash in Australia. She would never talk much about her childhood and of course later when I found out that her mother had waded into a river carrying her brother until they drowned, I had felt sick to my stomach. Not so much about the incident, but more the fact that I realised Erin had been lying to me from the very first day we had met.

Q5. Did you not realise that Erin was suffering from poor mental health once you had moved down to London?

I knew something was wrong because she was noticeably quiet and distant in the first few days. But I figured it was taking her a while to settle into the new rented house and that she could be homesick. Although, this didn’t make sense because it had been Erin who’d wanted to move more than I did. She had badgered and pushed me into applying for the managers role in Bexley Heath.

Q6. Did you feel homesick when you had moved?

Absolutely, I missed our little village on a daily basis, but I threw myself into my new job and instantly made new friends at work. One lady, called Josie, became a good friend and was an amazing support to me when Erin’s weird behaviour got out of hand. I’d felt completely out of my depth dealing with my wife’s aggressive outbursts. And another colleague called, Jacob, who actually saved my life.

Q7. Were there any trips home doing this time?

Yes, just the one to my daughter’s wedding. It hadn’t been an easy weekend because Erin wasn’t invited to the wedding and stayed in Bexley. My daughter had never liked Erin and refused to invite her no matter how much Beth and I had pleaded with her.

Q8. Did Erin welcome you back with open arms?  

Strangely, she was okay at first, or so I thought until I discovered her secret and then all hell broke loose…

And here’s a couple of lovely reviews:

For me, this book was brilliantly written and kept me hooked from the opening page!! It’s an utterly compelling read, and I can’t recommend it enough. It just has to get ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me !!  HEAD IN A BOOK (Oriana)

The characters were deep, with complicated pasts and it made this story shine even more. I love when it’s realistic and this was no doubt well written. Authentic characters make plots believable and Susan Willis knows how to do this. JESSICA BELMONT.

Sounds gripping, doesn’t it? Grab yourself a copy here:

Ebook   https://amzn.to/2DDhlci

Paperback   https://amzn.to/34kAVoR

Meet Susan

susan

Bio

Susan is a published author of five novels and six novellas. She lives in Co-Durham surrounded by a big family and dear friends. She works as a food technologist developing new recipes and weaving the different aspects of her job into stories.

Her last two novels have been psychological suspense. Readers who left reviews on amazon love her books because they are realistic with everyday people in situations that can happen.

Susan is now writing Cosy Crime Short Reads. She is incorporating up-to-date issues: poor mental health in a kidnap scene, the perils of social media, and an intruder on Skype. Next year Susan is hoping to publish these stories into a collection.

Social Media Links:

www.susanwillis.co.uk

https://www.Facebook.com/AUTHORsusanwillis

https://twitter.com@SusanWillis69

https://instagramsusansuspenseauthor

https://amzn.to/2VfLEyI

Thanks for dropping by to talk to us about your book, Susan.


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Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page

 

Meet the Characters – Thea Thomas from Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange by Jenny Kane

A warm welcome to multi-published author Jenny Kane who has dropped by to tell us about her character,  Thea Thomas,  from Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, the first novel in her brand new romcom Mill Grange series.

Set on Exmoor in Somerset, the Mill Grange stories feature Thea Thomas, an archaeologist and historian, who – when the story opens- is working as an assistant curator at the world famous Roman Baths in Bath. But, as the blurb below explains, she feels the time to leave her job has come. Not just because she feels stuck in a rut, but because she is being pestered by rather persistent ex-boyfriend, and is keen to disappear to somewhere he’ll never find her – preferably somewhere without Wi-Fi…

Mill Grange 1

A warm-hearted, feel-good romance from Jenny Kane, a Kindle #1 bestselling author.

Thea Thomas needs to get away from her old life… and the interfering ex who won’t leave her alone. When she lands a job heading up the restoration of Mill Grange, a stunning Victorian manor in Devon, it feels like the perfect opportunity to start afresh.

What Thea didn’t anticipate was how hostile the volunteer team, led by the formidable Mable Hastings, would be about accepting new leadership. And with the deadline looming before the grand opening, Thea is in desperate need of more volunteers.

A broadcast appeal on the local news attracts the interest of arrogant but undeniably attractive celebrity historian Shaun Cowlson, who wants to make a TV programme about the restoration. It’s hard enough adding one more big personality to the mix – but then her ex turns up as one of the volunteers! What seemed like a dream come true is fast becoming a total disaster! Can Thea find a way to save the manor?

Let’s take a look at Thea’s character profile

Age: 32

Appearance: Short brown hair, brown eyes, tomboy manner of dress. More likely to be seen in a chunky jumper and jeans than a skirt and blouse. Thea does not own high hells – I doubt she has ever picked up a lipstick in her life.

Education: Studied archaeology at Durham University

Best friend: Tina Martin.  Thea met Tina at university, where they were both archaeology students. Tina now works for the Exmoor Heritage Trust, which owns Mill Grange. It is Tina who tells Thea about the opening for a Renovation Co-ordinator and Manager at Mill Grange.

Idiosyncrasies: Thea has a habit of talking to a statue of the Goddess Minerva (the Roman goddess of wisdom), that sits in the corner of her museum based office. The goddess is often her first call for advice – even before Tina.

Personality: Rarely seen without a smile, Thea is professionally confident, but privately shy. Thea’s self esteem can easily be knocked – especially in pursuit of her quest to please everyone all the time. She dreads letting people down.

Favourite thing: Lemon cake. (Followed by cheese scones from Sybil’s Tea Rooms.)

Love life: Fairly non-existent since university – with the exception of a recent relationship with John Sommers. A relationship that she thought was just for fun – John however, had other ideas.

Three months after Thea had ended their year long relationship, John turns up, out-of-the-blue at her lunchtime coffee stop in Bath, and informs her he has every intention of persuading her that they should still be together.

Despite her polite but firm refusal, John can’t take no for an answer and begins a rather desperate, attention seeking campaign, which begins wear Thea down so much, that she decides to take the plunge and applies to work at Mill Grange – swapping her work as a Roman historian for the management of a Victorian manor that needs restoring in double quick time. For, after years of half hearted repair from a group of local volunteers, the Exmoor Trust have finally decided on a date for the house to be opened to the public.

As if having the house restored and safe for the public by that deadline wasn’t challenge enough, Thea has to deal with volunteers who heartily dislike her interfering with their work. Especially Mabel – who has an odd whiff of vinegar about her.

And then, just to make matters worse, a celebrity archaeologist – Shan Cowlson- wants to join the restoration team- a man Thea has every reason to dislike…

Buy Links (Kindle only for now)

Amazon UK 

Amazon.com 

Here are the rest of the books in the series:

Cover reveal poster - Mill Grange

Meet Jenny

Jenny Kane at Costa

Bio

From the comfort of her cafe corner in Mid Devon, award winning author, Jenny Kane, wrote the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, Midsummer at Mill Grange (Aria, 2020), A Cornish Escape (2nd edition, HeadlineAccent, 2020),  A Cornish Wedding (2nd edition, HeadlineAccent, 2020), Romancing Robin Hood (2nd edition, Littwitz Press, 2018),  Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016), and Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013).

She has also written 3 novella length sequels to her Another Cup of…..books:  Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2016). These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection (Accent, 2016)

Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015)

Under the pen name, Jennifer Ash, Jenny has also written The Folville Chronicles (The Outlaw’s Ransom, The Winter Outlaw, Edward’s Outlaw – published by Littwitz Press), The Power of Three (Spiteful Puppet, 2020) and The Meeting Place (Spiteful Puppet, 2019). She also created four audio scripts for ITV’s popular 1980’s television show, Robin of Sherwood.

The Waterford Boy, Mathilda’s Legacy, The Baron’s Daughter and The Meeting Place were released by Spiteful Puppet in 2017/2018/2019.

Jenny Kane is the writer in residence for Tiverton Costa in Devon. She also co-runs the creative writing business, Imagine. Jenny teaches a wide range of creative writing workshops including her popular ‘Novel in a Year’ course. (www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk)

All of Jennifer Ash’s and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at www.jennykane.co.uk

@JenAshHistory

@JennyKaneAuthor

@Imagine_Writing

Jennifer Ash https://www.facebook.com/jenniferashhistorical/

Jenny Kane https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011235488766

Imagine www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

Thanks so much for dropping by to tell us about your book, Jenny!


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Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page