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99 Red Balloon Book Tour – Extract

99 Red BalloonsOn the book tour for Elisabeth Carpenter’s exciting debut, ’99 Red Balloons’, read an extract from the chilling tale.

Chapter 6

I lay the newspaper across the kitchen table, straightening out any creases. Ronnie used to like his paper ironing – fancied himself as one of those posh types. I only did it for him on Sundays, and his birthday. ‘It’s not because I like it straight,’ he’d say. ‘It stops the ink running.’

‘Get away with you,’ I said.

I wish he were still here with me. I’d iron it every day.

Oh, stop it, you daft fool. I can hear his voice in my head. You know you’d only iron it ’til the novelty of me being back wore off – two days, tops.

I sit down at the table. I’m daft having these conversations with myself, but after forty-six years of marriage I usually knew what he was going to say before he did.

Grace. That’s the little girl’s name.

She’s wearing her school uniform in the picture – it’s on the front page. I can’t make out the name of the school from the badge on her jumper, though I’m not sure if that’s my eyes or the quality of the print.

She was last seen walking into a newsagent’s.

Newsagent’s.

I look up at the wall. How odd. I wonder if she was getting sweets, just like—

The phone rings.

‘Hang on,’ I shout.

I shuffle the chair back and rest my hands on the table to lever myself up. Damn legs.

‘Wait a minute.’

I walk as fast as I can to the phone table in the living room. People can be so impatient these days.

Some folk only let it ring five or six times before they give up. Never enough time for me.

‘Hello?’ I say. Ron always used to tease me about my telephone voice. ‘Hello?’ I can’t have been too late, there’s no dial tone. ‘Is anyone there?’

I listen as hard as I can. Is my hearing getting worse? There’s traffic noise on the other end of the line. Are they calling from a mobile telephone or a big red box?

‘Can you speak louder? I can’t hear you.’

The click of the phone makes me jump. They’ve hung up, again. I replace the handset and wander back into the kitchen. Was that the fourth or fifth time this week?

What if it’s him? I can’t remember what he sounds like; I should remember his voice, shouldn’t I? It’s been too long. Every day I try not to think about how he broke my heart. I can’t even look at his photograph any more without it bringing back awful memories.

Tap, tap, tap.

The window rattles.

I still my breathing. My heart’s thumping.

I should get up and hide in the pantry, but I can’t move.

The handle turns – the back door opens slowly.

‘Morning, Mags.’

To read more from this book (which I read in a day!), buy 99 Red Balloons from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Escape To Willow Cottage Book Tour – Extract

Escape To Willow CottageOn the tour for the Bella Osborne’s latest book, ‘Escape To Willow Cottage’, sit back and enjoy an extract from the sweet story.

Chapter 11

‘Carly!’ said Beth, her voice sharp.

Carly spun in Beth’s direction with an exaggerated movement. With slow blinks she looked at Beth until something registered. ‘Beth! This is … um … what was your name again?’ She swung precariously back towards Jack who stopped her falling on him with one hand whilst holding the pub table steady with the other.

‘I know who it is.’ Beth was trying to suppress the annoyance that was rapidly developing within her.

‘He’s lov-erly,’ cooed Carly whilst she stroked his arm in a deliberate action.

‘I’d like to know what he’s planning on doing with my drunk friend?’ Beth retorted. Jack let go of Carly as if she were a lit firework.

As the accusation slowly registered, Carly looked hurt. ‘I’m not dunk!’ she protested as she slowly slid towards the floor.

Jack was looking blindly from one woman to the other as if he’d just been teleported there. ‘I was just …’

‘For someone that wasn’t looking for a relationship a few hours ago you’ve sure as hell come round to the idea quick!’ Beth stepped forward and grabbed Carly by one arm and hauled her into a standing position.

‘Come on! We’re leaving now.’

Carly wobbled on unsteady legs, grinned inanely at Jack and was towed away.

If you enjoyed that short sample from the book, you can buy Escape to Willow Cottage from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Just For The Holidays By Sue Moorcroft

Just For The Holidays‘Just For The Holiday’s is the latest book by Sue Moorcroft.

In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy. Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together. But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with.

Sue is back with a jolly and warm hearted story set against the warm climate of France.

Leah has decided to go on holidays with her sister, Michelle, her two teenage children and her brother in law. The only reason she is included in the holiday, is to be a buffer as Michelle and Alister are splitting up and Michelle announces that she is pregnant and needs some time with the baby’s father to help sort her head. So Michelle, needs to act as mother on the holiday and look after her children, but it’s just for the holidays.

The story is a warm hearted tale with a pretty cover. Leah is a lovely lead in the story, she has a huge heart and even though it frustrates her, she would do anything for her sister even if it is against her better judgement. She loves her niece and nephew dearly and enjoys nothing more than rolling up her sleeves and cooking with the pair of them. With caring for two boisterous teenagers and a suddenly injured Alister, Leah becomes slightly distracted with her handsome next door neighbour Ronan and his EMO son, Jordan.

After a series of failed relationships behind her, she’s wary of starting something new but with his Irish charm and masculinity, Leah is drawn to Ronan and decides that maybe she could have a relationship, but like her role as a mother, her relationship could just for the holidays.

The story is primarily seen through the eyes of Leah but there is also the inclusion of Ronan’s perspective as he deals with his attraction towards Leah and also Jordan, his son’s perspective adds a sweet and innocent perspective to the summer story.

A charming, poignant story and filled with wonderful, energetic characters. This book is a story about starting over, new beginnings and young love, ‘Just For The Holidays’ is the perfect summer holiday book

You can buy Just for the Holidays from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Annie Darling

True Love at the Lonely Hearts BookshopAnnie Darling lives in London in a tiny flat, which is bursting at the seams with teetering piles of books. Her two greatest passions in life are romance novels and Mr Mackenzie, her British Shorthair cat. ‘True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop’ is the second book in her ‘Lonely Hearts Bookshop’ series.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    Hello! I’m Annie. Long time reader, fairly new writer of lighthearted romantic comedy. I live in London and I like bookshops, cats, long walks… (This is starting to sound like a dating profile!)

    I’ve always loved love stories, always wanted to write one, had so many false starts but then I ended up writing first draft of ‘The Little Bookshop Of Lonely Hearts’ in a frenzied six weeks and everything fell into place.

  2. Can you tell us about your new book ‘True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop’.
    It can be read as a standalone but it’s the second book in my ‘Lonely Hearts Bookshop’ series, set in a Bloomsbury bookshop, Happy Ever After, “a one stop shop for all your romantic fiction needs.” It’s the story of Verity Love, Happy Ever After’s manager, vicar’s daughter, middle one of five sisters, Pride & Prejudice obsessive and introvert. She absolutely does not want a relationship and neither does posh architect, Johnny. But to get their meddling, matchmaking friends to leave them alone, they join forces to do the summer season of weddings, birthdays and barbecues. But things don’t go quite according to plan.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Jane Austen (of course,) Jackie Collins, Jilly Cooper and JK Rowling. All the J’s and some very lively discussion!
  4. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    At the very beginning, when I have my idea and outline and I’m raring to go and anything seems possible and I’m going to write the best book ever. Alas, disillusionment soon sets in.
  5. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Nick and Nora Charles from Dashiell Hamnett’s ‘Thin Man’ series. #relationshipgoals
  6. From books to films, what’s been your favourite adaptation?
    The BBC production of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I will accept no substitutes.
  7. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    I wish I’d had the courage and the self-belief to take the plunge and start writing much earlier.
  8. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Oh gosh! Difficult one. Maybe ‘The Collected Mapp’ & Lucia novels by EF Benson – I’m sure you can get them in one volume so it’s not cheating. ‘Lace’ by Shirley Conran and ‘The Mitford Letters’.
  9. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Read! Read! Read! You can’t be a writer without being a reader first.
  10. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A great big pot of tea.
  11. And finally Annie do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I’m hard at work on the third book in the series, Nina’s story, ‘On The Shelf At The Lonely Hearts Bookshop’, out next spring.

    Thank you for having me your blog. xxx

Follow on Twitter Annie Darling for updates.

You can buy True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Perfect Prey Book Tour – Extract

Perfect PreyOn the book tour for Helen Fields’ gruesome new book, “Perfect Prey’, read an extract from the unsettling tale.

Tripp looked like he didn’t know which way to run.

‘In you come, Tripp,’ Callanach instructed. ‘And you should shut your door, Bunny. It’s late.’

Safely inside, Tripp was a shade of beetroot.

‘New neighbour then, sir? She seems very, um, enthusiastic.’ Tripp raised his eyebrows and seemed to be struggling to control a grin.

‘Was there something important, detective constable? Only I was hoping to get some sleep for the first time in several days.’

‘Of course, yes. Couldn’t send the files over the internet. No time to securely encode them. Here you go.’ Tripp opened a laptop, and clicked on a folder in which two items sat. As the first played, Callanach could hear the now familiar song that the band had been playing when Sim Thorburn had hit the floor. The footage was taken from a few rows in front of the victim, on a mobile phone whose owner was obviously taking a selfie of herself singing along. For a split second, in the background, a shadow passed across Sim’s face. As the shadow cleared the screen, Sim could be seen slightly out of focus, looking down towards his stomach, his face registering confusion. Then he lurched to one side, out of shot.
‘Is that all?’ Callanach asked. ‘It doesn’t tell us any more about the attacker.’

‘One more piece of footage,’ Tripp said. ‘Top right-hand corner of the screen.’

Tripp pressed play. More mobile footage, this time obviously designed to show the scale of the audience, mobile held high in the air, turning around in a three-sixty loop. After a few seconds, Tripp pressed pause and pointed.

‘There,’ he said. ‘Only in shot for a second, but it’s clearer than in the previous footage.’

Callanach looked more closely. Sim Thorburn was hidden from view, but he could see Merel and Niek De Vries. To the left of them, walking in profile, was an adult with dark brown hair flopping over their face. The attacker was wearing large, dark sunglasses. Tripp let the video play to show the person’s sudden change of direction away from the camera and into the crowd.

‘Male or female?’ Callanach asked.

‘Can’t be sure,’ Tripp replied, closing the lid of the laptop. ‘But not that tall, slim and therefore able to move about relatively unnoticed. Caucasian. Hair could be natural or dyed.

Might even be a wig. Clothes didn’t stand out to anyone, so no help there.’

‘Perfect camouflage,’ Callanach said, leaning back on the couch and closing his eyes.

‘Could it be someone from one of the homeless shelters, do you think?’ Tripp asked. ‘Sim would have come into contact with plenty of people suffering mental health problems. No one keeping tabs on them, no one to recognise them.’

Callanach shook his head.

‘I wish I believed that, Max,’ he said. ‘Because sooner or later the person you’re describing would get arrested for something else, have a breakdown and confess, get drunk and show someone the knife. This took planning. It needed care and consideration. More than that, it needed nerves of fucking steel. Can you imagine the psyche of a person who can walk through a crowd of thousands, take out a weapon, cut hard and deep and precisely, then not rush away? To walk on slowly through the crowd, certain you’ve done such a good job that you have the time to get out of there, whilst putting the knife out of sight, making sure you don’t emerge from the crowd covered in blood. This person knew how to cut. They may be a psychopath but they’re not mentally ill, not in the way we think of it. This is someone who feels nothing at all. No panic, no fear, no sense of danger. Nothing at all.’

‘How do we catch them then, sir, if they’re that good?’ Tripp asked.

‘You know what, Tripp? I don’t have a fucking clue.’

Fancy finding out what happens next? You can buy Perfect Prey from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.