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**BLOG TOUR** Blood on His Hands by Ian McFadyen

Today, I’m pleased to be one of the blogs featuring on the tour for Blood on His Hands by Ian McFadyen, the latest book in the Carmichael series. I really like the sound of this so, hopefully, the blurb and the extract will whet your appetite too! If it does, you’ll find a link at the end to win a copy of the book.

The Blurb

When a stranger enters DI Carmichael’s local church, with blood on his hands claiming to have committed a murder, Carmichael and his team are quickly summoned.

And when the man disappears, as mysteriously as he arrived, with few clues to his identity, where he came from and where he went, Carmichael quickly realises that all may not be as it seems.

The conundrum becomes even more puzzling when, in less than 24 hours, a corpse is discovered in the boot of a Bentley car down a quiet country lane.

As the body count rises Carmichael and his team remain confounded as to who is behind the murders and what motive they have for taking so many lives. In this, the eighth gripping murder mystery from the pen of Ian McFadyen, the author once again captivates the reader with an array of beguiling characters tightly woven within an intriguing, skilfully scripted plot.

It will keep you guessing right until the end…

 

The Extract

DC Rachel Dalton manages to locate the agent of Geoffrey Brookwell, an actor found murdered in the small Lancashire village of Moulton Bank. DI Carmichael is otherwise engaged, so Dalton is instructed to conduct the interview alone.  

Rachel Dalton looked up at the large clock that hung behind where Anna Montgomery was sitting; it read 12:35pm.

“I’m afraid Inspector Carmichael has had to rush off on another case,” she explained, “so it will be just me.”

The absence of Rachel’s superior didn’t seem to bother Anna Montgomery, who just gave a faint shrug of her shoulders.

“I’m more worried about the time,” she replied. “I’ve only got about thirty minutes, then I’ll have to be off, so I can get back to Manchester for my two-thirty meeting.”

Rachel Dalton looked up into Anna Montgomery’s eyes and smiled.

“How long have you been Geoffrey Brookwell’s agent?” she enquired.

“Just over fifteen years,” replied Anna.

“And what sort of actor was he?” continued Rachel.

“A mediocre one,” Anna replied immediately and without any hint of remorse. “He had one reasonably long run about ten years ago as Dr Damien Hook in The Cumbrian Way, which lasted about three years,

but since that ended, he’s not done much. A few voice-overs and adverts, but other than that, zilch.”

“I see,” remarked Rachel, who paused for a few seconds. “And when did you last have any contact with Geoffrey?” continued Rachel.

“I haven’t seen him in months,” replied Anna, “but we spoke the other evening.”

“When was that?” Rachel enquired.

“It was Monday evening,” replied Anna. “He called me at about 5:45pm. He was very excited about some big role he reckoned he had in the bag.”

“Really,” replied Rachel. “Is it normal for actors to get a role without it going through their agent?”

Anna Montgomery shook her head. “It does happen,” she conceded, “but it’s very unusual, particularly with actors who have low profiles like Geoffrey.”

“So, what role was this?” Rachel asked.

“I’ve no idea,” replied Anna. “He was being very guarded about it, but he said that it was a major role with a big producer, that he’d been given an advance, and he was doing an improvisation for one of the scenes

with another actor, on location, the next day.”

“And what did you make of what he told you?” Rachel enquired.

Anna Montgomery held the palms of her hands upwards, as if to emphasise her bewilderment.

“Geoffrey wasn’t one to fabricate things,” she remarked, “but it all sounded a bit unusual to me. Which is what I told him.”

“But he gave you no more details about this audition or the nature of this big role?” Rachel remarked.

“None whatsoever,” replied Anna. “He assured me I’d get my agent fee but refused to elaborate any more.”

“I see,” replied Rachel. “And that was the last time you spoke with him?”

Anna nodded. “Yes, that’s right,” she replied.

“Did he mention anything about intending to go to church on Tuesday?” Rachel enquired.

“Church?” replied Anna Montgomery, her shocked voice loud and shrill. “Absolutely not. I know for a fact that, like me, Geoffrey was an atheist. What on earth would he be doing going to church; and

on a Tuesday, too? I thought that lot did their thing on Sundays.”

 

About the Author

Ian McFadyen lives in Bishops Stortford, Herts and has published seven books in the Carmichael series so far. McFadyen has built up a strong following and is particularly well supported by library borrowers – being positioned in the top 10% of most loaned authors in the last few years. Favourably mentioned alongside Wilkie Collins and Colin Dexter, McFadyen’s titles are all available in paperback and on kindle.

Social Media Links – Facebook.com/ianmcfadyenauthor & Twitter @ianMcFadyen1

 

Purchase Links

Book Guild: https://www.bookguild.co.uk/bookshop-collection/fiction/detective/blood-on-his-hands/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-his-Hands-Dci-Carmichael/dp/1912881942

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/blood-on-his-hands/ian-mcfadyen/9781912881949

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/blood-on-his-hands,ian-mcfadyen-9781912881949?term=9781912881949

Blackwell’s: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Blood-on-His-Hands-by-Ian-McFadyen-author/9781912881949

WHSmith: https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/blood-on-his-hands/ian-mcfadyen/paperback/9781912881949.html

The Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Blood-on-his-Hands-Ian-McFadyen/9781912881949

 

Competition!

Giveaway to Win 5 x Paperback copies of Blood on His Hands (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494341/?

 

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Ruby by Heather Burnside

I’m really pleased to be one of the blogs on the tour for Ruby, the latest book from Heather Burnside, and I’m thrilled to be able to share an extract with you.  Heather spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester and she draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels. If you are a fan of Martina Cole or Kimberley Chambers, then Ruby could just be the book for you!

Follow Heather:

Facebook: @HeatherBurnsideAuthor

Twitter: @heatherbwriter

Website: https://heatherburnside.com/

The Blurb

The stronger sex.

Ruby has always been strong. Growing up with a feeble mother and an absent father, she is forced to fight the battles of her younger siblings. And when a childhood experience leaves her traumatised, her distrust of men turns to hatred.

On the streets.

With no safe place to call home, Ruby is desperate to fit in with the tough crowd. She spends her teenage years sleeping around and drinking in the park, and by the time she is sixteen, prostitution has become a way of life. But Ruby has ambitions, and she soon moves up the ladder to become the madam of her own brothel.

The brothel.

But being in charge of a brothel has its down sides, Ruby faces her worst nightmare when an enemy from the past comes back into her life, and gang intimidation threatens to ruin everything. Can she find a way to beat her tormentors? And will she be strong enough to see it through?

The Extract

 

August 1991

Nine-year-old Trina was helping her mother, Daisy, with the housework. As they worked, they both sang along to Tracy Chapman while two of Trina’s younger brothers were playing noisily, drowning out the sound of the stereo.

‘Shut up your noise!’ shouted Daisy, her Jamaican accent still pronounced after more than twenty years in the UK. ‘I can’t hear meself think.’

The two boys stopped their play-fighting, looked at each other and giggled.

‘Get up the stairs,’ said Daisy, clicking her tongue in annoyance.

‘No, we want to play out,’ said Ellis, the older of the two boys.

‘Go on, and take Tyler with you,’ said Daisy.

Trina looked across at her youngest brother, Tyler, quietly playing with his battered toy cars in a corner of the room. He was so different from the other two, Ellis and Jarell, who could be such a handful.

‘Go on, hurry up,’ said Daisy. ‘Let me get me work done.’

Trina put down the duster she was using and walked over to Tyler, ready to take him by the hand.

‘No! Not you, Trina,’ said her mother. ‘I need your help.’

‘But who’s gonna look after him?’ asked Trina.

‘Them two can,’ said Daisy.

Catching the expression on her mother’s face, Trina knew she wasn’t in the mood for arguments. She picked her duster back up and carried on with what she was doing, despite her qualms about the ability of Ellis and Jarell to look after Tyler, who was only three.

Usually the responsibility fell on Trina to look out for her three younger brothers – Ellis, aged seven, six-year-old Jarell, and Tyler – when her mother was busy cooking, shopping or washing. But today was cleaning day and Daisy often asked Trina for help. It seemed to Trina that her mother was overwhelmed with the amount of work involved in looking after a three-bedroomed house and four children. Nevertheless, she undertook her tasks every Saturday without failure, not happy till every surface was dusted, hoovered and cleaned.

Daisy was a respectable woman who took pride in having a clean home. Despite her status as a single parent on benefits, she did her best to maintain her high standards and set a good example to her children. She was an attractive woman in her thirties, of average height and with a womanly figure. Trina took after her mother in looks, but not in height for she was very tall for her age, something she had gained from her absent father.

Trina looked up from her dusting as the boys dashed excitedly to the front door. She was envious of them. It didn’t seem fair that she should have to stay and help her mother while the boys got to play outside. But that’s the way it was and she had long ago come to accept her status as the oldest child. Not only was she the oldest but she was also a girl, which made a difference as far as her mother was concerned. Girls helped with the housework; boys did not.

‘And keep a tight hold on him!’ Daisy shouted to her two eldest boys as they fled out through the front door.

They were no sooner outside than there was a knock on the door. Daisy clicked her tongue again.

‘What on earth’s the matter!’ she called, trying to ignore it.

There was a second knock. Trina said, ‘I’ll get it, Mam,’ happy to put down her duster again.

But before she got the chance, they heard a man’s voice outside. ‘Daisy! I know you’re in there so answer the door,’ he shouted.

Trina continued making her way towards the front door till she felt her mother’s sharp pull on her shoulder.

‘No,’ she whispered. ‘Get behind the curtain. Don’t let him see you or there’ll be hell to pay.’

Alarmed, Trina quickly took her place with her mother, standing to one side of the open curtains so they couldn’t be seen through the window. Daisy was busy peering through a gap at the edge of the curtains. A shadow fell across the window and the man’s voice came closer.

‘Open the door, Daisy! I know you’re in there. I’ve just seen the children leave,’ shouted the man.

A look of concern flashed across Trina’s face as she picked up on the grave tone of the man’s voice.

‘I think it’s Mr Dodds. Shouldn’t we let him in, Mam?’ she whispered.

 

Pre-order  links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Nd4O3g

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Sgd6sg

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2T65ahm

iBooks: https://apple.co/2pMSz6b

 

With thanks to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Home by Karen Osman

I am pleased to be part of the paperback blog tour for Karen Osman’s The Home. With plenty of 5-star ratings on Amazon, and with a previous book The Good Mother being such a fantastic read, this is definitely one to catch! It is my pleasure to be able to share a great extract with you.

 

 

It was the one place she should have been safe.

Angela was just a baby when she was abandoned, and a children’s home is no place to grow up. When manager Ray takes girls off to his ‘den’ in the garden, they always come back crying…

So, when wealthy couple James and Rosemary come to choose a child to adopt, Angela is desperate to escape.

Years later, Angela starts to search for her birth mother, Evelyn, hoping to heal the scars of her childhood. But strange and sinister events start to unfold. And Evelyn fears she may not survive her daughter’s return.

 

 

Angela

Angela squeezed herself onto the Tube, trying not to breathe in the smell of sweat from the bodies pressed up against her. This wasn’t where she wanted to be on the Friday night of the Summer Bank Holiday weekend, but her parents had invited her specifically. In fact, she had been slightly intrigued as to what may have prompted the invitation for her to spend the long weekend with them. Angela tried not to think too much about the Astoria nightclub. It would have been a brilliant night out and her friends had been talking about it for weeks. Angela wasn’t too bothered about the drugs, but she did like the music. When you worked in a stressful industry like law, you needed a release. Besides, she thought, she worked hard and she deserved a night out once every so often. Yet here she was, jammed on the Tube on the way to her parents’ home in Tetbury. It was a good two-hour journey from her office in central London and she was getting the 4.15 p.m. from Paddington, which had meant leaving work early. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been outside her law firm during working hours other than to grab a sandwich to eat at her desk. Normally, she’d be ensconced in her cubicle working at least a sixty-hour week, often going in on weekends as well.

Escaping the stifling odour of the underground at Paddington, Angela got on the mainline train, happy to have found a seat, and took a few moments to straighten her new Jaeger suit. The eye-catching shade of green was perhaps a little too much for the corporate environment of Kings Solicitors, but it went fabulously with her dark hair and she knew she pulled it off by the number of admiring glances she received. The tailored trousers and fitted jacket with shoulder pads were so flattering. Besides, she didn’t want to blend in with all the other associates in the office, and this was just one way to be remembered by clients and the senior partners. Satisfied with her appearance, Angela pulled out some papers from her bag and began to work.

*

Angela had her own key to her parents’ house, a pretty bungalow, built of traditional Cotswold stone, and as she let herself into her childhood home she inhaled the familiar aroma: a mixture of clean washing, fresh flowers, and the trailing scent of her mother’s Estée Lauder perfume.

It was a few moments before she became aware of the stillness. She was used to the television being on or her mum talking animatedly on the phone about one of her various committees. Leaving her key and overnight bag in the hallway, Angela walked curiously through to the living room. Her mum and dad were sitting next to each other on the sofa, holding hands, and talking quietly.

‘Hello, darling! We didn’t hear you come in!’ Her mum got up to embrace her and Angela gave her a perfunctory kiss on the cheek. Normally, she would drop down on the sofa, complaining about the journey, but there was something about her mum that evening that made her think twice.

Pre-order links:

 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2M50ma4

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2LmFsya

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ErDoUc

iBooks: https://apple.co/2VZ8rRX

 

With thanks to Aria and to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

**BLOG TOUR** Three by K J McGillick

Today, I am pleased to be one of the blogs opening the tour for Three, the latest book by K J McGillick. This looks like a thrilling one!

 

 

THREE: Deception Love Murder

Inviting a stranger into your home can be dangerous. Inviting a stranger into your life can turn deadly.

 How would you feel if you discovered your death was meticulously planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why. All you could do was wait.

Emma has it all-a job she loves and a man who professed to love her.

Or did she? How could she be so blind?

When her lover’s car is found burned and abandoned in another state, the police come asking some hard questions. What she discovers upends her world completely. Jude had been living a double life right under her nose. A deceitful life, a treacherous life. Who was this man that had already groomed another woman to take over Emma’s life? A woman who was Emma’s body double and now dead.

Why had she so easily trusted this psychopath with her heart? Betrayed on every level, consequences not of Emma’s making were nipping at her heels. Tick. Tock.

THREE is a gripping crime thriller that will have you hooked. A fast-paced psychological thriller that has been compared to the works of Dan Brown. It can be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the Path of Deception and Betrayal series.

 

 

“If you can convince me I am in possession of stolen property, I will consider more carefully allowing a search without a warrant. I don’t want anything to do with stolen goods. But I didn’t hear anyone say anything about stolen property. All I heard Detective Chavez say was these are two paintings in question that may have been lawfully acquired by Jude and as far as we know there is nothing illegal in their ownership. For some reason, Jude may have them in his possession, and as far as I can tell that is not illegal. Jude is a lot of things, but I can’t say I ever thought of him as a thief. So, no to a search,” I responded.

“Then we will be leaving. Thank you for your cooperation. Please call us if you need anything further. We shall inform the agent you will be by the bank to check your box tomorrow,” Chavez said.

“Again, technically it’s not my box, but I will do it. If we’re done here, I think our food delivery is here. You better step out of the way once Lucy realizes food has arrived,” I suggested as I corralled everyone toward the door.

I hadn’t heard Aunt Mary leave the room while I was speaking to the detectives and had started to escort them to the door, but she must have left. As I reached for the door to open it for the food delivery, she marched in the room blustering. I knew with one look she was out of control. It was my mistake. I had overlooked her evening dose of her prescription in the craziness of the day.

Aunt Mary stood wearing her yellow raincoat and pink wellies, carrying a black umbrella in one hand and hairspray in the other ready to fend off any enemies.

“So, you boys are the law?” she thundered. “Well, that’s good. Really good. You finally caught up with the two of them?”

If her outburst weren’t so embarrassing, I would have burst out laughing watching the detectives. Chavez’s jaw gaped wide. Detective Marino looked alarmed, taking a full step backward with his hand ready to un-holster his weapon.

Chavez, who seemed to have composed himself, spoke first. “Ma’am, would you mind placing the umbrella and hairspray on the table? We are here to talk to your niece and mean no one any harm.” I could tell he had hostage negotiation skills or cared for a family member with dementia by the way he spoke to her.

“So, you aren’t here to arrest her communist boyfriend? Everyone knows he carries on with the Russians. Started with the cold war. They got him when he was still a baby, and now he spies for them. They don’t think I hear them outside down by the dock at night. They think I’m some old lady off in dreamland. But I’ve been biding my time until the law came knocking and here you are. Do you want to take my statement? If so, I don’t want Emmie implicated in this. She gets full immunity. If you give her immunity, then I will be your prime witness. Dirty commie. I haven’t seen it around, but I bet he subscribes to the Daily Worker. And he speaks fluent Russian to them, the bastard.” She snapped the umbrella toward the window and motioned toward the boat dock.

 

 

J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/KJMcGillickauthor/

Kathleen McGillick

@KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

https://twitter.com/KJMcGillickAuth

https://www.goodreads.com/Kmcgillick

With thanks to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour.

 

**BLOG TOUR** Arcam by Jason Minick

51Pv5HlKsGLI’m really pleased to be able to share an extract from Arcam the debut novel from Jason Minick. Set in his favourite part of the UK, Arcam is a crime/conspiracy theory and a sequel is already in the pipeline. The extract may only be short, but definitely leaves me wanting to read more!

The Blurb

DCI Jack Robson believes he is hunting a kidnapper…

Away from his posting in London, Robson is asked to lead an investigation in the south west of England. But what begins as a baffling local kidnapping mystery, quickly escalates into something far more sinister.

In pursuit of the perpetrators, DCI Robson joins forces with Inspector Emma Wilson and the rest of the regional CID team. Together, they attempt to make sense of the lack of evidence or motive, eventually getting drawn to the tiny island of Steep

Holm, in the Bristol Channel.

As the investigation progresses, Robson, Wilson and their colleagues find themselves facing something far beyond normal detective work. Unthinkable connections lead them to a conspiracy, so great it could change the course of humanity. The question is, can they intervene before it’s too late to prevent the appalling future that potentially lies ahead …

The Extract

She hadn’t noticed the horror spreading across her father’s face as he stood rooted to the rock ten yards away, eyes unblinkingly fixed on the dark, soaking wet industrial safety boots.

Unlike her keen-eyed father, Ellie hadn’t noticed the discolouring around the boots where they protruded from the seaweed. When he spoke again, she looked up instantly, detecting the anxiety in his shaky request.

“Ellie. Come here now please, darling.”

“What’s the matter, Daddy?” She began to cry in reaction to her father’s tone.

He swept across the area of slimy rocks that separated them and stretched forward to take her by her arm. The pain of the fall wouldn’t hit him until later – it was the grim vision that presented itself which terrorised him, as he slipped and landed on his backside a few feet away from the boots. The seaweed in front of him parted with the disturbance, to reveal the ghostly wide eyes of a man beneath the shallow surface. Ellie screamed instinctively as she watched her father vomit over the seaweed.

With thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for organising the tour and to the author for providing a brilliant extract!

Arcam

The book can be purchased here.

Contact Jason Minick on Twitter : @JMinick_Author

 

**BLOG TOUR** Vendetta by Heather Burnside

APMlSwrwToday, I am taking part in the blog tour for Vendetta, the latest book from Manchester-based author, Heather Burnside. Like her previous books SlurA Gangster’s Grip and Danger by AssociationVendetta is a Manchester-set crime thriller. I am pleased to be able to share an extract from the book with you.

The Blurb

When Adele’s brother, Peter, gets banged up for GBH she reluctantly agrees to run his nightclub, The Golden Bell. Strong opposition from Peter’s thuggish number two, Glynn, who isn’t best pleased about answering to a woman, isn’t the only challenge she faces.

The Manchester club scene of the 1990s is a dangerous place, at the mercy of illicit protection rackets and rampaging gangs, and, despite Adele’s efforts to keep everything legal, the club is beginning to feel like a poisoned chalice.

Meanwhile, Glynn is playing his own ruthless game, and when a savage gang attack has devastating consequences Adele is ready to walk away. But Peter has always stood by her and she owes him big time. Besides, where else would an ex-con find work? And someone has to protect her brother’s empire from his enemies. Right now, Adele knows she is the only one that Peter can trust, but the stakes may soon get too high…

The Extract

Adele had now been managing the Golden Bell for several weeks. She was enjoying the challenge but it was difficult trying to keep up with the office work while also keeping an eye on things inside the club. It was late when she arrived at work on that Monday after another busy weekend. She walked up the back stairs carrying her cup of freshly brewed coffee, which she’d collected from a nearby sandwich shop.

On the way to her office she passed her brother’s old office and spotted Glynn through the door that was slightly ajar. Not for the first time she felt a pang of irritation at the way he had made himself so at home in Peter’s office. She wondered just what he found to do in there or was it perhaps just his way of making a statement?

‘Morning!’ he shouted sarcastically as she tried to creep past unnoticed.

Adele grunted in response then continued on her way. Yet again she could feel annoyance burgeoning inside her and regretted her decision to retain her old office. Initially she had planned to move into Peter’s office but had then changed her mind when she’d realised the logistics of shifting all her files and computer. But the main reason she had decided to keep her old office was because the safe was kept there, and she wanted it where she could see it.

Adele hadn’t been at her desk long when she received a call from Glynn to say that a lady had arrived to see her.

‘OK, send her to my office,’ she instructed.

‘What’s it about?’ he asked as though he had a right to know.

‘You’ll find out soon enough,’ said Adele, quickly replacing the telephone receiver.

Expecting a knock on her office door, Adele was surprised when two minutes later Glynn barged in instead. ‘Hang on there a minute,’ he said to someone outside the door. Then, looking across at Adele, he said, ‘It’s Margaret Jackson to see you.’

The statement sounded more like a question but Adele wasn’t prepared to let him know just who Margaret Jackson was. At least, not yet anyway.

‘OK, send her in, please,’ she said frostily.

Glynn spun around but was stopped by Adele just as he was walking back out of the door. ‘Oh, and, Glynn?’ she said. He turned back till he was facing her again, a look of annoyance on his face. ‘Can you make sure Peter’s office is clear and tidy, please? I’m going to need it shortly.’

‘What d’you mean?’ he asked, his tone aggressive and his eyebrows knitted together in anger. ‘I’m working in there.’

‘What exactly are you doing?’ she asked.

He sidled up to her desk, leaning across till his face was inches from hers, then said in a low growl, ‘None of your fuckin’ business.’

Adele felt the first stirrings of fear as her heart rate speeded up. ‘It is my business,’ she said, trying to disguise the slight quiver in her voice. ‘Peter’s left me in charge so I decide who works where. You shouldn’t need an office anyway. I mean, security isn’t exactly an office-based job, is it?’

She didn’t hide the cynicism she displayed whenever discussing security with Glynn. They both knew it was a glorified title used to describe what really went on. It was a protection racket. Glynn and his gang would offer to protect pubs and clubs from trouble, at a price. If the owners and landlords didn’t buy into their services, Glynn and his gang would make things very difficult for them until they paid up.

Adele had a good idea of what their work entailed, and she wanted nothing to do with it. She’d agreed to run Peter’s legal businesses but wasn’t prepared to get involved in the shadier side of things, which Peter had left in Glynn’s hands.

‘I’ve got things I need to sort out and I need a fuckin’ office to do it in,’ he snarled.

‘And what sort of things are they?’ she asked, knowing he wouldn’t want to discuss any of his activities with her.

‘None of your fuckin’ business,’ he repeated, then he stomped out of the office, leaving Margaret Jackson outside in the corridor.

‘Come in!’ shouted Adele, realising that the poor woman would be bemused by Glynn’s lack of manners.

Margaret Jackson strode into the office. Aged in her late forties, she stood tall and smart in a grey tweed fitted jacket and black knee-length skirt. Her hair was drawn back from her handsome face in neat layers. It was a face that spoke of experience and a no-nonsense approach, and Adele noticed a wry smile cross her lips and an amused twinkle light up her eyes as she approached the desk.

‘Don’t worry about him,’ said Adele. ‘Please, take a seat. What can I get you to drink?’

‘Nothing for me, thanks,’ said Margaret, who appeared unfazed despite Glynn’s stroppiness.

Adele smiled across the desk at her, sure in her own mind that Margaret was the perfect choice for the job of bookkeeper and personal assistant. As she took in Margaret’s cool demeanour she knew that this woman wouldn’t let Glynn push her around. And she was the perfect age too. Adele had had enough of Glynn flirting with the bar staff downstairs; she could do without him playing up to the office staff too.

‘So, Margaret,’ Adele began. ‘I explained to you in the interview that you would be responsible for all the accounts for the nightclub, the sunbed shops and the bookmakers. I’ll be in as much as I can to help you but with the nightclub to run it won’t always be early, I’m afraid.’

‘That’s all right,’ Margaret assured her. ‘If there’s anything I’m not sure about I can always put it to one side till you’re available.’

As Adele ran through the basic requirements with Margaret, she warmed to her more and more. Margaret had a confident, efficient air about her and Adele felt sure that she would be leaving things in capable hands. It was a relief because she was struggling to keep up with everything since she had taken on responsibility for all Peter’s businesses, and it would be good to have a second pair of hands.

When she had finished explaining everything to Margaret, Adele said, ‘Oh, there’s just one more thing. Glynn runs a security business for my brother. You won’t really find yourself getting involved in that side of things but the security staff will sometimes come to put the takings in the safe until we can take them to the bank the following day.’

Margaret nodded her understanding although Adele wasn’t sure that Margaret knew what was meant by ‘security’. ‘I want you to have a spare set of keys to my office and the safe,’ Adele continued. ‘If I’m not around would you please make sure you count the cash and lock it up in the safe? Also, ask which of the businesses it relates to, whether it’s one of the sunbed shops, the bookmakers or security. We bank the money for the security business but other than that you won’t have to get involved.’

‘Yes, certainly,’ said Margaret.

‘Right, well, I guess that’s about it, then,’ said Adele. ‘The only thing that’s left is for me to show you your new office.’ Then she got up from her seat, walked past Margaret and said, ‘Follow me.’

To Adele’s consternation when she reached Peter’s office Glynn was still sitting at the desk. He quickly slipped some papers inside a file as she knocked sharply on the door then stepped inside.

‘Glynn, I think it’s time for me to introduce my new bookkeeper and personal assistant, Margaret Jackson,’ she said.

Margaret strode confidently across the room and grasped Glynn’s hand then shook it profusely. ‘Pleased to meet you,’ she said, with a hint of sarcasm.

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With thanks to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

Buy links

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2OYW3JI

iBooks: https://apple.co/2MpVHz7

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2P2v1Bt

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2OW79PR

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**BLOG TOUR** The Home by Karen Osman

83A01E96-B546-4FB6-939A-C823CB9285E2I am pleased to be the latest blog on the tour for Karen Osman’s new book, The Home. Her book, The Good Mother, was one of my favourites of 2017 so I’m really happy to be able to share an extract of her latest book with you.

The Blurb

It was the one place she should have been safe.

Angela was just a baby when she was abandoned, and a children’s home is no place to grow up. When manager Ray takes girls off to his ‘den’ in the garden, they always come back crying…

So, when wealthy couple James and Rosemary come to choose a child to adopt, Angela is desperate to escape.

Years later, Angela starts to search for her birth mother, Evelyn, hoping to heal the scars of her childhood. But strange and sinister events start to unfold. And Evelyn fears she may not survive her daughter’s return.

The Extract

2

Angela

Angela squeezed herself onto the Tube, trying not to breathe in the smell of sweat from the bodies pressed up against her. This wasn’t where she wanted to be on the Friday night of the Summer Bank Holiday weekend, but her parents had invited her specifically. In fact, she had been slightly intrigued as to what may have prompted the invitation for her to spend the long weekend with them. Angela tried not to think too much about the Astoria nightclub. It would have been a brilliant night out and her friends had been talking about it for weeks. Angela wasn’t too bothered about the drugs, but she did like the music. When you worked in a stressful industry like law, you needed a release. Besides, she thought, she worked hard and she deserved a night out once every so often. Yet here she was, jammed on the Tube on the way to her parents’ home in Tetbury. It was a good two-hour journey from her office in central London and she was getting the 4.15 p.m. from Paddington, which had meant leaving work early. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been outside her law firm during working hours other than to grab a sandwich to eat at her desk. Normally, she’d be ensconced in her cubicle working at least a sixty-hour week, often going in on weekends as well.

Escaping the stifling odour of the underground at Paddington, Angela got on the mainline train, happy to have found a seat, and took a few moments to straighten her new Jaeger suit. The eye-catching shade of green was perhaps a little too much for the corporate environment of Kings Solicitors, but it went fabulously with her dark hair and she knew she pulled it off by the number of admiring glances she received. The tailored trousers and fitted jacket with shoulder pads were so flattering. Besides, she didn’t want to blend in with all the other associates in the office, and this was just one way to be remembered by clients and the senior partners. Satisfied with her appearance, Angela pulled out some papers from her bag and began to work.

*

Angela had her own key to her parents’ house, a pretty bungalow, built of traditional Cotswold stone, and as she let herself into her childhood home she inhaled the familiar aroma: a mixture of clean washing, fresh flowers, and the trailing scent of her mother’s Estée Lauder perfume.

It was a few moments before she became aware of the stillness. She was used to the television being on or her mum talking animatedly on the phone about one of her various committees. Leaving her key and overnight bag in the hallway, Angela walked curiously through to the living room. Her mum and dad were sitting next to each other on the sofa, holding hands, and talking quietly.

‘Hello, darling! We didn’t hear you come in!’ Her mum got up to embrace her and Angela gave her a perfunctory kiss on the cheek. Normally, she would drop down on the sofa, complaining about the journey, but there was something about her mum that evening that made her think twice. While Rosemary appeared as polished as ever, with her sleek silver bob and ever-present string of pearls, her face looked worried and drawn beneath her welcoming smile. Instead, Angela turned to her dad, who gave her a hug and, as she’d known he would, asked her about her journey. He didn’t trust public transport and drove his beloved Jaguar wherever he needed to go, much to her mum’s frustration.

‘How are you?’ Rosemary asked, already walking to the kitchen to put the kettle on, Angela following behind her. ‘How’s work going?’

‘It’s fine, Mum, thanks. Busy, as always.’

‘Have they given you your promotion to senior associate yet?’

‘Not yet, but I’m sure they will soon.’

While Rosemary understood very little about what Angela did all day, she was so proud that her daughter had grown up to be what she called, a career woman. When Angela had graduated from university and got her place at one of London’s top law firms, her mum had never tired of telling her how different it was from when she was growing up. Back then, the most common goal in life for women was to get married and have children, although Rosemary was one of the few women of her time who had been to university. Angela was part of the late baby boomer generation and, according to her mum, had opportunities that she herself had never had. Although Angela had only experienced middle-class life and all its privileges from her teenage years, she truly believed that success depended more on the drive of the individual rather than the current expectations of the day. How else could she explain her own success? She was confident, ambitious, and slightly entitled, as so many of her contemporaries were, and her work-hard, play-hard lifestyle had sustained her through her twenties. Now, at twenty-seven, she was in her element. She had a fantastic job, earned a good salary, was about to get promoted, and partied with her friends every other weekend.

Angela pushed away the twinge of anxiety she’d felt when she saw her parents whispering. She must have been imagining things. They just wanted to spend time with her over a Bank Holiday weekend – there was nothing more to it than that.

 

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With thanks to Vicky Joss from Head of Zeus for organising the blog tour.

*BLOG TOUR** Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland #Extract

Today I am really pleased to be the latest stop on the blog tour for Bone Deep, the new book from Sandra Ireland. After beginning her writing career as a correspondent on a local newspaper, Sandra soon turned her hand to fiction, the result being her debut novel Beneath the Skin, which was published in 2016. I am happy to be able to share an extract from Bone Deep, which was published by Polygon on July 5th 2018.

The Blurb

What happens when you fall in love with the wrong person? The consequences threaten to be far-reaching and potentially deadly. Bone Deep is a contemporary novel of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal and murder. This is the story of two women: Mac, who is bent on keeping the secrets of the past from her only son, and the enigmatic Lucie, whose past is something of a closed book. Their story is underpinned by the creaking presence of an abandoned water mill, and haunted by the local legend of two long-dead sisters, themselves rivals in love, and ready to point an accusing finger from the pages of history.

The Extract

Lucie

I go to bed early, the way you do when you’re exhausted, thinking you’ll fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. That almost never happens. You just lie awake, your brain downloading data like a runaway iPhone.

I lie in bed with the lamp on, gazing up at the bumpy ceiling. I feel small, crushed, like the whole weight of Reuben is pressing my spine into the mattress. But it’s not a good weight, not his heat and his gentle roughness and all the good bits. This is the heaviness of pain, of deception, of despair.

I suppose at the start of the affair there was an element of triumph. I found it incredible that someone like Reuben would fancy someone like me. I was everything my sister was not, dark, quiet, awkward, and Reuben was colourful and careless. I was never quiet and awkward with him, especially in bed. Then triumph slipped into something darker, an unhealthy craving. My body surprised me, the way it reacted to him, ached for him. My conscience shut down. We took chances, creeping into bed together when the house was empty, trading hot-eyed glances across the dinner table. It was a game, I suppose, and Jane wasn’t part of it. I never set out to fall in love with him, and I suppose he thought he could keep me at arm’s length – emotionally, anyway.

Sandra Ireland

At first, I think Reuben enjoyed flitting between two sisters. Every man’s fantasy, isn’t it? It would never have occurred to me to give him an ultimatum, to make him choose. Starcrossed lovers are blinded by starlight. There is no way out of this without heartbreak, and the thought makes me sink deeper, until, like Reuben in that hospital bed, I am a mere outline. All I can think of is how quickly Reuben tried to save himself. Part of me had been longing for him to have an epiphany under those white sheets. You’re the one I really love, Lucie. It isn’t Jane, it’s always been you. Part of me thought that, one day, Reuben would have the courage of his convictions. Part of me thought that ‘one day’ would be now.

What if Reuben never had any courage? Something inside me wants to weep. The sheer effort of reassessing things, of seeing Reuben in a new and unflattering light, is too much to bear. I decide to get up. The bed is suddenly a desert, and I can still smell Reuben on my pillow. Dragging on a robe, I stumble into the kitchen, flicking on every switch, flooding the cottage with light, making day out of night. Nights are pretty pointless when you’re alone. Soon the kettle is bubbling into life, and I’m singing along to Take That on the radio. I’m not really in a bubbly, singy mood, but I don’t want to be alone with the strange turn my thoughts are taking. I have an unblemished, unshakeable connection with Reuben. There is no room for a stain or a wobble.

With thanks to Sandra Ireland and to Kelly Lacey from Love Books Group for organising the blog tour.

Bone DeepTake a look at the rest of the blogs on the tour!

 

**BLOG TOUR** Through His Eyes by Emma Dibdin #Extract

I am really pleased to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for Emma Dibdin’s latest book, Through His Eyes. Described as ‘the perfect summer read’, Through His Eyes is a dark, unsettling thriller about a young female journalist drawn into the life of a troubled Hollywood A-lister. It is my pleasure to be able to share an exclusive extract with you, before the publication of the book on August 9th.

The Blurb

You have to know when to say no. That’s one of the first things they tell you. But from the first day I arrived in Los Angeles, I said yes.

Jessica Harris is a struggling Hollywood reporter hungry for her big break. When her editor asks her to profile movie star Clark Conrad, Jessica is sure her luck is on the turn. Clark is an A-lister with access to everyone. If Jessica can impress him, she’s made it.

When she arrives at Clark’s mansion in the Hollywood Hills, he is just as she always imagined. Charming, handsome yet disarmingly vulnerable. But then things take a darker turn. Clark’s world is not as straightforward as it seems and Jessica’s puff piece soon becomes something much more delicate – and dangerous. As Jessica draws herself deeper into Clark’s inner circle, events begin to spiral out of her control.

Transfixing, insightful and unsettling, Through His Eyes drops you into the mind of a young woman with everything to play for – and everything to lose…

The Extract

The Shortys are essentially the Oscars of streaming video content, honouring the best and brightest YouTubers and social media influencers. They are everything I hate about my job. I don’t answer, because I’m not technically sure I’m supposed to be taking freelance assignments during my time here, and though Justin won’t care you never know who else is listening.

‘Why don’t you sit in on this today?’

He’s gesturing towards the conference room, where the weekly editorial meeting is about to begin. As a temporary contractor I’m treated as two levels up from an intern, and do not usually warrant an invite.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Don’t get too excited – I may need you to cover for me if she asks for ideas.’

I nod and follow him in, already brainstorming in my head.

‘All right, what’s everybody got?’ Jackie Smart, the pixie-cropped, quietly formidable editor of Nest, asks. ‘I know I don’t need to remind anyone of this, but we’ve fallen just short of four million unique users for the past three months, and I want us to get over that threshold this month. Justin, want to start us off?’

‘So the high-res Rita Ora shots are in – I’m still not convinced anyone cares what her condo looks like but I guess we’re gonna find out. She’s agreed to share it on all her social channels, so we should get a decent spike out of that. We have talent lined up for the next three weeks of home tour videos… Oh, so we’re still looking for someone to take on whatever this Clark Conrad thing is.’

‘Clark Conrad?’ I say, trying to sound casual after almost choking on my coffee.

‘The one and only, although given the amount of restrictions on questions it’s gonna be hard to tell who the interview’s with.’

‘Why would Clark Conrad agree to an interview for Nest?’ Nest is where people go for a window into a more perfect world, be it Jackie Kennedy’s childhood home or Jennifer Lawrence’s first Santa Monica mansion. Nest allows you to tour the houses of people who will never know you exist. Nest is not publishing exclusive interviews with one of the most media-shy A-listers in Hollywood.

‘Because he’s very excited to talk all about the inspiration behind the remodelling of his Laurel Canyon home,’ Jackie replies. ‘It’s his post-divorce crisis pad – he’s gut-renovated it, added a new wing for his daughter, made the whole thing eco-powered. I get the sense he’s trying to rebrand himself as a cool single dad, divert attention away from the fact that his last movie bombed and America’s favourite marriage  is over.’

The Conrad family as a unit are almost more famous than Clark himself: Clark and Carol, their two beautiful blonde daughters Sarah and Skye and their golden retriever Banjo. They were on-screen lovers first, starring together in a late-nineties romantic comedy which is now remembered solely as the movie where they got together, rather than for its delightfully off-kilter plot about a woman who chases her ex to Texas in hopes of reconciliation and winds up becoming a rodeo star. Carol was the lead in the movie, but Clark was the breakout – playing the roguish cowboy who shows our heroine true love – and that dynamic held true in their marriage. As his career flourished, hers faded, and despite tabloid speculation that Carol’s first pregnancy was an accident, she seemed more than happy to transition into the full-time role of wife and mother. ‘I’m a Southern girl at heart,’ she would say in interviews for lifestyle magazines, in between glossy shots of her relaxing at home with Clark and the girls, stirring a big pot of chilli on the stove. ‘I’ve always been a homemaker.’

The Conrads had it all; they were wholesome enough to appeal to middle America, effortlessly glamorous enough to own every red carpet they attended, and just enigmatic enough to keep their tabloid appeal alive. The loss of them out of nowhere felt like a tangible blow to pop culture; so much so that the magazine I was working for when the divorce announcement happened declared an unofficial Day of Mourning, and let people drink at their desks as they wrote up coverage.

‘His architect is also thirsty as hell,’ interjects Justin. ‘Conrad is doing this guy a favour, from what I can tell. He’s desperately trying to become a thing, have you seen his Instagram?’

‘Wait, you need someone to do the interview?’ I said this too fast, I realize, too eager to make sure I’m not misunderstanding in my brain fog. ‘I’ll do it.’

‘Don’t get too excited,’ Justin tells me. ‘We’re not going to get anything good out of him. He won’t do any video, so the tour is just going to be ten minutes of this architect nobody cares about. We’re scheduled to be at the house for four hours, we’ll shoot all the various rooms, and you’llget colour quotes from the architect for each one, super-detailed. Then you’ll get twenty minutes with him, which they’ve negotiated down from an hour.’

‘I can make it work.’

 

Take a look at the rest of the blogs taking place on the tour.

With thanks to Emma Dibdin and Florence Hare from Head of Zeus for organising the blog tour.

Read my review of Emma Dibdin’s previous book, The Room by the Lake here, .

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