Today I help close out the blog tour for Chloe: Never Forget by Dan Laughey. I will be sharing an extract of the novel.
An off-duty detective gunned down. A dead woman. A student missing, feared dead. And now, a former policeman in search of his past. All these people, dead or alive, have one thing in common. D.I. Carl Sant must discover what it is.
A series of cold-case enquiries leads D.I. Sant and his colleagues to investigate a botched assassination plot dating back to the 1980s. The deeper they dig into the case, the more secrets are revealed, including shocking connections to the infamous National Front.
Meanwhile, the memory of former P.C. Tanner, survivor of the assassination horror, is beginning to recover. Sant must find Tanner, and find out who is behind it all – before his superiors lose their rag and more lives are lost.
The following extract is from Chapter 5 of CHLOE: NEVER FORGET. It’s from the point of view of an elderly gentleman who has spent his later life trying to forget his former years as a policeman. But then someone visits, and now he’ll never forget.
Your name is Nigel Fleming. You think.
Your visitors are few and far between.
The consultant specialist or whatever she’s called pops her head around the door once in a while. The postman is a friendly chap too. The neighbours stick their noses into your business too often, but that can’t be helped.
What you almost never get is a new visitor.
You never answer the door to cold callers or charity beggars or meter readers. For all you know, the cretins might invite themselves in, raid your fridge, piss in your toilet.
And yet the other day, believe it or not, a new visitor did come your way. A young lady. Or was it two? One girl or two? Perhaps two was wishful thinking.
Ha ha! Mrs Fleming will be jealous!
Yes, you were flattered. Don’t deny it, Nigel.
And they asked you so many questions. And showed you pictures of their lives. Other people’s lives any road. Stories of lives once lived.
And they played music to you. Other people’s music any road. Not very good music. But music all the same. They even gave you an iPod thingy.
And then they showed you a video. A home video. Their video. Not a very good video. But a video all the same. They didn’t give you that.
The whole experience was exhausting quite frankly.
Frankly, it was.
Can you remember any of it? Not much, sadly.
But you do remember one thing. They warned you to keep a low profile; not to speak to strange people; not to answer suspicious calls.
They did have a way with words. And they were so sincere. So utterly fretful about your welfare.
They’ve done something to your brain, Nigel. Those two young ladies, if you weren’t seeing double, have frazzled your senses something rotten.
And now you’re sat up in bed and the nightmares have returned and you don’t know what’s hit you. Not yet.
TICK TOCK TICK TOCK.
Your body clock is ticking, but your brain-dead head is coming to life.
Halloween, Nigel. Buses, Nigel. Police officers killed, Nigel. Police officers wounded…
And now it’s on the radio. The news is playing tricks with your mind.
TICK TOCK TICK TOCK.
They’ve found a dead body, Nigel. A dead woman, Nigel. A dead woman called Marie Jagger, Susan Smith, Sheila Morrison.
Sheila, Sheila, Sheila.
Is that really her name? Her real name?
What is your real name?
Nigel Fleming? No.
What is it?
It’s time you remembered.
About the Author:
Dan Laughey is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University where he teaches a course called ‘Youth, Crime and Culture’ among other things. He has written several books on the subject including Music and Youth Culture, based on his PhD in Sociology at Salford University. He also holds a BA in English from Manchester Metropolitan University and an MA in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds.
Dan was born in Otley and bred in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, a hop and a skip away from the Leeds setting of his Chloe novels.
His crime writing was purely academic to begin with. He’s written about media violence and tackled the age-old concern about television and video games influencing patterns of antisocial behaviour in society. After years of research and theoretical scrutiny, he still hasn’t cracked that particular nut.
He’s also written about the role of CCTV and surveillance in today’s Big Brother world, the sometimes fraught relationship between rap and juvenile crime, football hooliganism, and the sociocultural legacy of Britain’s most notorious serial killer – the Yorkshire Ripper.
All in all, Dan’s work has been translated into four languages: French, Hebrew, Korean and Turkish. He has presented guest lectures at international conferences and appeared on BBC Radio and ITV News in addition to providing expert commentary for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.
Today I will be sharing an extract for my spot on the blog tour for Pink Ice Creams by Jo Woolaston.
Intent on fixing her broken marriage and the alcohol-fuelled catastrophe that is her life, Kay Harris arrives at her grim and grey holiday let, ready to lay to rest the tragedy that has governed her entire adulthood – the disappearance of her little brother, Adam.
But the road to recovery is pitted with the pot-holes of her own poor choices, and it isn’t long before Kay is forced to accept that maybe she doesn’t deserve the retribution she seeks. Will the intervention of strangers help her find the answers she needs to move on from her past, or will she always be stuck on the hard shoulder with no clear view ahead and a glove box full of empties?
Pink Ice Creams is a tale of loss, self-destruction, and clinging on to the scraps of the long-lost when everyone else has given up hope.
As the mistakes mount during her solo venture, Kay soon realises that leaving her husband Martin, in particular the vein in which she left – embittered and vengeful – was her biggest mistake of all. Their marriage was less than perfect but she should be more grateful to him. He married her – despite her lower social standing, her lack of life experience, her baggage. And so she defends his actions, his cruelty, as she doesn’t deserve any better than this… does she?
‘What is it?’
Martin has returned from work earlier than anticipated. I have hastily shoved half a bottle of Chardonnay into the tumble dryer and am failing to shield the concave glass with my knees. Please don’t look, please don’t look. He stands in front of me, his eyes over-bright and excited, a ten year old in a grown man’s body, the calm before the storm.
‘I don’t like surprises Martin.’
‘You’ll like this one.’
I hold my breath for fear of exhaling a cloud of wine-stink, whilst my hand fervently stumbles around in my jeans pocket searching for a mint, a chewy. I am nervous, of what could be in the box, whether I have pushed the bottle far enough into the dryer, and why he has come home early, unexpectedly.
‘Come on Kay, you’re spoiling it.’
‘Sorry, pass it over then.’
‘No, you’ll drop it. I’ll hold it, you lift the lid.’
Mint located, nerves controlled. Deep breath in, slow release out. Come on, step forward. One… Two… nearly there… and lift.
‘Well? Do you like it?’
‘It’s a kitten.’
‘I know that, I bought it. Well?’
‘Say something then. Why aren’t you saying anything?’
He knows why. My eyes are already starting to feel hot, the corners watery and ticklish, willing to be closed tight to fight the oncoming itch, the uncontrollable sneeze.
‘I’m allergic to cat hair.’
‘Does it always have to be a negative with you?’
I need to make light, avoid the inevitable.
‘So has it got a name?’
‘You name it.’
‘Okay, erm… Paddy?’
‘What sort of a stupid name is that?’
‘Well, it has big paws.’
‘It was just an idea, Martin. I don’t mind. What do you think?’
I pick the kitten up out of the box and hold it up. It is tiny and shivering and completely terrified, snatched from its mother too early. It has defecated in the box and the fur on its back legs is matted with piss and shit.
‘Wait, look what I bought for him!’
Martin rifles around in a carrier bag that I hadn’t seen him bring in. He places objects onto the table one by one, his excitement building with each item like a child emptying a Santa sack.
‘His very first toy. Watch.’
He whips a coloured stick out of the bag like a flamboyant magician, the bag floats to the floor and the wand circles above his head before dancing a figure of eight. Yellow ribbons and red feathers follow the trail in a blur.
‘Cats like the chase, see? Put him on the floor.’
Regretfully I do as I am bid and gently place the trembling mite on the tiles, still trying to bend my body in front of the tumble dryer door. Smack! The feathered cane lands a foot away to the left of the kitten and is still. Then, only gently at first, Martin shakes it back and forth, building up steadily to a great crescendo, a dramatic swish across the kitchen floor. The cat does not move, only shrinks.
‘Come on! It’s a little birdie, look!’
Smack! It lands again, this time on the other side and once more lies momentarily still as it awaits attention. Then, it starts to bounce tap tap tap tap flicking up perilously close to the kitten’s nose. The kitten cowers.
‘Just leave it Martin, it doesn’t understand. It’s too young.’
‘Of course it does. Animal instinct.’
‘Oh shut up Kay, what the fuck do you know?’
Here it comes.
‘Look at it, it’s nearly as pathetic and stupid as you are.’
‘Leave it alone.’
‘Or what? You don’t even like the bloody thing. Oh Martin… I’m allergic to cats, poor me, poor me, pour me another drink!’
I turn my attention to the kitten, picking it up carefully and running its back legs under a warm trickle of tap water. I can barely see through my raw, quarter-mast eyes, but my hands feel slowly around the work surface and manage to locate a fluffy tea-towel which I wrap the kitten in and hold it firmly against my chest.
‘Don’t start please Martin.’
‘Do you think I’m stupid? Do you think I don’t see the half empty bottles, every day? You’re not exactly Queen of hide and seek, are you?’
‘It just helps.’
‘Who? Not me, it doesn’t help me. You’re an embarrassment, a fucking catastrophe.’
‘Please Martin, there’s no need to make an issue out of it.’
‘Listen to yourself, for pities’ sake. Normal behaviour is it, hiding wine in a tumble dryer?’
He grabs me by the collar and forces my head towards the floor, my body has no choice other than to follow it. Then, jerking the scruff of my neck to knee level he hauls me across the tiles. Snatching open the tumble dryer door, he grabs my arm and shoves it as far as it will go into the metal drum. I can feel his breath, hot on the nape of my neck.
‘Come on then, reach. That’s what you want isn’t it? That’s all you’re good for.’
About the Author:
Jo Woolaston lives in Leicestershire, England with her extreme noise-making husband and two lovely sons. She tries to avoid housework and getting a ‘proper job’ by just writing stuff instead – silly verse, screenplays, shopping lists…
This sometimes works in her favour (she did well in her MA in TV Scriptwriting, gaining a Best Student award in Media and Journalism – and has had a few plays produced – that kind of thing) but mostly it just results in chronic insomnia and desperate tears of frustration. Pink Ice Creams is her first novel, she hopes you liked it.
Today I will be sharing an extract for my spot on the blog tour for the novella A Little Hotel in Cornwall by Laura Briggs. This is a short one at 120 pages and available TODAY! Happy Publication Day!!!
Struggling American waitress and aspiring novelist Maisie Clark dreams of becoming a full-time writer — even though in real life she’s just lost her chance at an exclusive writer’s mentorship program that would give her novel its big break. Desperate, she decides to take a chance and ask her favourite writer, a celebrated but reclusive English novelist, to help her find a second chance.
When she receives the author’s reply in an envelope with a Cornish postmark, Maisie decides not to take the writer’s half-hearted ‘no’ for an answer. With nothing to lose, she takes off for the author’s last known location, a beautiful hotel on Cornwall’s western coast. But when the hotel mistakes her for the latest applicant for a maid’s position, Maisie finds herself given an opportunity too good to lose … and a chance for a summer adventure far bigger than she ever imagined.
Surrounded by breathtaking Cornwall and working in an elegant hotel, Maisie’s world becomes one of secret identities, quirky friends, and unintentional mishaps — and despite reminders of past relationship disasters, a certain handsome, charming local resident Sidney Daniels has her conflicted about her heart’s desires, too.
Will Maisie find the chance she’s been waiting for — and a possible new romance — in her perfect Cornish summer?
Buy A Little Hotel in Cornwall here.
Thanks so much to Jessica for allowing me to share an extract from my new novella, A Little Hotel in Cornwall. This scene shows the heroine Maisie’s first impression of the quaint Cornish village she has traveled to in search of an elusive—and famous—English novelist who may just hold the key to her dream of becoming a great writer.
I set down my suitcase and shoulder bag and looked around. The bright sunlight was reflected on the water of the ocean in the distance, like a current of diamonds on its surface. I waited for the realization to sink in that this view of the sea below and the village above belonged to a foreign country.
I had spent part of my precious savings to come here, to find the dot on the map that represented the hotel Penmarrow. I knew it was highly possible that Alistair Davies was already gone, but it was still the best chance I had of meeting him. If he would read only a few chapters with his red pencil in hand, I would once again qualify for the Ink and Inspiration. Granted, alone and without a mentor to guide me through the rest of its process, but with a definite chance of salvaging my dream.
Port Hewer welcomes you, said the sign, with words below it in Cornish. A nice wooden sign with a seascape painted in one corner. I could see a quaint village waiting for visitors in the distance — on my map, it had been a tiny red dot between legendary places of west and south county, like Penzance and St. Michael’s Mount. I could see a grand building perched high above the sea and the village, as if watching over them both. That was the Penmarrow, I imagined, from the description on its website and its photos.
Cornwall. Until now, it had only been a place in a geography book, and in books I had read. I had seen Doc Martin and Poldark on PBS, of course. I had read Rebecca dozens of times. But the scenery was more beautiful in person than I had imagined when it was only words on paper or pictures on a television screen. With the balmy breeze on my cheek, palm trees in the distance, and the sand glittering in the sun, I almost felt a little at home, even standing on the threshold of the Celtic Sea.
I lifted my suitcase again, the one containing most of my important stuff — my books, my tablet computer, and my clothes, along with all my assignments from the Tucker class, and Mr. Bubbles, too. I didn’t have much to pack, or much to leave behind. Since I didn’t know how long I was going to be here, I didn’t know what to bring.
Somehow I’ll bet this wasn’t quite what Wallace Scott pictured when he told me to take a chance for my dream.
About the Author:
Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.