Tag: extract

Blog Tour: A Extract from Shadows In The Ashes by Christina Courtenay

Today as a part of the blog tour, I am sharing an extract from Shadows in the Ashes by Christina Courtenay. This one was just released on January 18th. This one is brimming with romance, adventure and vivid historical detail, Christina Courtenay’s gripping dual-time novel travels from the present day to the fires of ancient Pompeii.

Book Description:

The sunlight caught her gold bracelet, sending a flash that almost blinded her.
She closed her eyes, but jumped when the earth started shaking and there was an almighty boom behind her.

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

AD 79:

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

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Author’s Note on the extract: This scene is the beginning of the hero’s journey towards becoming a gladiator.

Frisia, 73 AD

‘Why do you want to go this way? We should be getting back before dusk.’ Raedwald frowned at his younger half-brother, Osbehrt, who seemed inordinately pleased with himself.

‘I think I saw that big stag here yesterday. You know, the one everyone’s talking about with the huge antlers. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we manage to kill it and bring it back to Father? He’ll be so proud of us. Come, it was this way.’

Osbehrt didn’t slow his pace and Raedwald had no choice but to follow. He’d always been told to watch over his younger half-siblings. As the eldest, it was his duty, but sometimes, like now, it was a chore he could well do without. It wasn’t as though anyone gave him credit for it either, least of all their father, Raedwulf. After the early death of Raedwald’s mother, he’d quickly remarried, and had fallen completely in thrall to his new woman. She’d done everything she could to promote the interests of her own offspring, while Raedwald was given all the hard or boring tasks. The only thing she hadn’t been able to persuade his father to do was to have Osbehrt declared his heir instead of Raedwald. Some stubborn part of Raedwulf refused to give in on that point, but that didn’t mean he liked his eldest son. Far from it – he was forever criticising, making Raedwald do more weapons training than anyone else, and expecting him to be at the beck and call of his stepmother in between.

It was unbearable, and Raedwald hated the pair of them, but he took it in silence. That was the only way he could thwart her – by not showing that she was affecting him in any way, nor giving up his rights as the heir. If she could, he was sure she’d insist on him being made a sacrificial offering to the gods. Fortunately, that wasn’t up to her.

He sighed now as he trudged behind his brother. ‘If you saw the stag yesterday, who’s to say he’ll still be there now? Deer roam far and wide. No doubt he’ll be long gone.’

‘No, no, it’s not the first time, actually. I’ve spotted him several times, and there’s a small lake nearby so he probably goes there to drink. It’s not far now, I promise.’

Raedwald rolled his eyes, but Osbehrt wasn’t looking so he didn’t see that. Honestly, this was probably a wild goose chase, but best to let the boy learn that for himself. The youth – a mere fifteen winters to Raedwald’s eighteen – raced ahead as if eager to reach their goal. From time to time, he glanced over his shoulder to check whether his brother was following, but he didn’t slow his pace. This was becoming very tedious, and it would soon begin to get dark. They should definitely be turning back, not going forward.

Just as he had decided he’d had enough, Raedwald suddenly felt something hard connect with the back of his skull. Shadowy figures materialised from the trees and surrounded him, one of them throwing some sort of net over his head while he was still stunned from the blow. What in the name of all the gods …?

‘Run, Osbehrt, run!’ he yelled, anger making his voice soar among the trees.

He tried to fight his way free of the net, galvanised into action by a fear for his brother, but although he was strong, he didn’t stand a chance. They were too many against one, and he was grabbed from all sides and held in a tight grip while someone tied his hands behind his back. His head was pounding from the vicious blow. He squinted against the fading light as he looked up to see whether his brother had managed to escape. To his surprise, Osbehrt was standing in front of him, grinning, while tossing a clinking pouch from one hand to the other. Realisation hit him harder than that thump on the head.

‘What have you done?’ he growled, a fury greater than any he’d ever felt surging through him. Why, the little rat …

‘Sold you. Mother thought it best.’ The rat in question looked unrepentant. Triumphant, even. ‘These men will take you away and sell you to the highest bidder, and they’ve guaranteed we’ll never see you again. Father’s hall and all his domains will be mine, as they should be. You’ve always thought you are so much better than me, but you’re wrong. I’ll make a great chieftain. And perhaps with you gone, Father will finally train me as he ought instead of giving all his attention to you.’

‘You’ll regret this, you little worm, and your bitch of a mother too. I will come back and kill you, brother, one way or another. You have my oath on it.’ Raedwald spat on the ground and watched as Osbehrt jumped back, glaring at him.

Some of his swagger had left him, and there was uncertainty lurking in the youth’s gaze, but he lifted his chin. ‘No, you won’t. These men will see to that. You’ll die in a Roman arena somewhere, torn to pieces by wild beasts. I only wish I could be there to watch. Farewell. I’ll tell Father not to mourn you.’

‘Don’t be too sure.’ Raedwald made his voice as menacing as he possibly could and had the satisfaction of seeing Osbehrt flinch. ‘From now on, you’d better watch your every step, because one day I will be right behind you, ready to slit your throat. May the gods curse you!’

Another blow to the head cut off the sight of the snivelling little snake, but that was probably just as well or Raedwald would have choked on his rage. Oblivion was preferable for now.

About the Author:

Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip/dual time and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a Vice President and former Chair and of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014) and the RNA Fantasy Romantic Novel of the year 2021 with Echoes of the Runes. SHADOWS IN THE ASHES (dual time romance published by Headline Review 18th January 2024) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

Contact Christina:
Twitter @PiaCCourtenay
Instagram @ChristinaCourtnayAuthor

Blog Tour: An Extract from The Perfect Girl by Kelly Golden

Today as a part of the blog tour, I am sharing an extract from The Perfect Girl by Kelly Golden. This one looks is right up my alley since it’s a thriller! I’m also currently reading it and was hoping to be able to share my review as well, but life happens! My review will come sometime this month! The Perfect Girl is available to purchase now!

Book Description:

He always said she was just a friend… What if she’d kill for more?

Sophie is perfect. She has blonde hair and blue eyes and when she smiles her teeth sparkle. And she cares; she’s passionate. Everybody loves her. So would I, except she’s my husband Mike’s best friend, and sometimes they seem a little too close for comfort.

This summer, Sophie is renting the grand house next door, bringing over fancy wine, offering to babysit our beautiful three-year-old daughter. It’s nice, actually. She’s smart and funny. Maybe the way she is with Mike – squeezing his arm, tilting her head when she laughs at his jokes – is just how she is with everybody.

But then she says something that sends a shiver down my spine – does she know something about me she shouldn’t?

And when her new husband arrives, looking slightly too familiar, I realise my time is running out. My baby girl and I are in terrible danger.

Sophie really is perfect. She has me perfectly trapped. And as my world begins to crumble, I start to wonder: does Sophie just want to steal my husband, or has she planned the perfect murder?

A completely unputdownable psychological thriller that will keep you flicking through your Kindle late into the night. Perfect for fans of The Housemaid, The Guest List and anything by Louise Candlish, Erin Kelly or TM Logan.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

A note on the extract from the author: 

This is a little way past the middle of the book with a couple of spoilers removed! Emma has come round to trusting Sophie and is trying to do the right thing, telling Mike, Emma’s husband, that she’s concerned Sophie might be being abused by her husband, Johnnie. Sophie’s reaction is predictably unpredictable.

Chapter 52 – Tuesday 19th July 2022

‘Why, oh why, would you tell Mike?’ Sophie is digging in her handbag and I can’t see her eyes behind her hair. The bag is the shape of a butterfly, black leather, brown velvet, shiny dots of red.

A field of cows flashes past. A cardboard sign advertises fresh eggs. The sun dazzles my eyes and I pull down the sunshade. ‘He’s your oldest friend. I thought you needed help.’

I need help?’ She laughs, bending forward slightly against the seatbelt and I feel myself tense. She keeps rummaging, pulls out a slender glass tube, unscrews the lid and rollers something onto her wrists then puts it back again.

The scent of jasmine fills the car. It reminds me that an hour ago I was in the surreal normality of my soap class. Freya showed me how to cut and pull a layered candle so it looked like an orchid.

‘You’re a puzzle, Emma. I thought you were good at this.’ Sophie gets the bottle out again and puts some on her neck, then more on her wrists.

I don’t know what she means. She seems unhinged. I’ve already had a very confusing morning. After my class I went to the doctor, but Maisie, the receptionist, said I’d called to change to the Monday and had missed the appointment and I had to rebook for the following week. I hadn’t called. But, of course, it was me who seemed crazy. Maisie’s look had confirmed it.

‘Good at what?’

‘Getting what you want.’

I wish I could look at her properly, but the bends in the road are too sharp and the hedges too high for me to take my eyes off it for long. ‘What do you mean?’

‘I mean, what happens now?’

I risk a longer glimpse at her and she stares at me intently with those turquoise eyes. I’m completely lost. I try to remember what she’s said. I have the feeling I’m missing something. Her jaw is clenched so tight.

‘Sophie? Are you okay? I’m sorry I told Mike, but I was really worried about you.’

‘Fine. Fine.’ She turns and stares out the window.

‘Are you sure he isn’t hurting you?’

‘We’re married. Of course he’s hurting me. That’s what we do to the people we love.’ She seems like she’s about to snap. Or maybe this is her snapping.

‘I don’t think that has to be true,’ I say.

‘That’s because you’ve got Mike.’

I realise I’m going too fast, and slow as we approach the bronze cow. Someone has hung a garland of orange flowers around its neck.

I’m too scared to ask her what she means again. I’m out of my depth. My stomach turns. What did she mean, that I was good at getting what I wanted? Does she just mean that my life has turned out nicely, or that she knows something about how I achieved it?

About the Author:

I’m the working mum of a bossy little girl and a bossier cat called Pesto. We live in the southwest of England and escape to the beach whenever we can. I’ve never stopped writing my whole life but this is the first time I’ve published a book! 

Contact Kelly:
Twitter: @


Blog Tour: An Extract from Love Me Tender by Lorraine Mace

Today as a part of the blog tour, I am sharing a short extract from Love Me Tender by Lorraine Mace. This one looks to be quite the thriller!

Book Description:


A brutal murder . . .

Responding to a tip-off, newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Paolo Sterling arrives at an apartment block to find the dismembered body of a young woman. And with no indication of a break-in, all signs suggest the killer was known to her.

An abduction in plain sight . . .
Then the victim’s friend is snatched with no witnesses and the unanswered questions mount up.

At the same time, Sterling’s team are leading the surveillance of a local club, thought to be involved in a drug operation. But when one of his colleagues ends up in hospital close to death, Paolo begins to lose his grip.

A detective on the edge . . .
With the odds stacked against him, and time running out, can DCI Sterling uncover the truth before it’s too late? Or will this case finally tip him over the edge?

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Boy believes Sasha is his one true love but she has no idea he exists. He calls her pretending to be her estate agent so that he can get into her apartment to tell her how happy she is going to be living with him.


Sasha’s voice sent his heart soaring. He could barely breathe. Concentrate! He had to concentrate.

“Hello?” she repeated. “Who is this?”

“Miss Bristow? This is Mark Stacey from Harlow and Griffin,” he said, putting on the poshest accent he could and reading from the business card he’d picked up in her estate agent’s office. He’d been following her for days before she went into the agency and he was worried she was planning to move, so he hung around outside pretending to look at the properties on offer. He peered through the window and saw her hand over what looked like a cheque and was given a receipt. She chatted for a bit with the girl at the desk and then stood up.

As she was leaving, she called out. “See you next month!”

She walked off and he followed; she was completely oblivious that her one true love was there to protect her from other men. She hadn’t even noticed him when he’d stood close behind her at the bus stop. He remembered the floral fragrance that had invaded his senses. Cheap whore perfume sending out an invitation to any man close enough to smell it. From now on the only fragrance he’d allow would be from the roses he gave her.

About the Author:

Born and raised in South East London, Lorraine lived and worked in South Africa, on the Island of Gozo and in France before settling on the Costa del Sol in Spain. She lives with her partner in a traditional Spanish village inland from the coast and enjoys sampling the regional dishes and ever-changing tapas in the local bars. Her knowledge of Spanish is expanding. To stop her waistline from doing the same, she runs five times a week.

Author of the D.I. Sterling series of novels, Lorraine has been engaged in many writing-related activities. A columnist for Writing Magazine, she has recently stepped down from writing two columns for Writers’ Forum and also her role as head judge of the magazine’s monthly fiction competitions in order to concentrate on her own writing. She is currently writing two standalone psychological thrillers for Headline Accent.

She also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service.

Contact Lorraine:
Twitter: @lomace