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Hush Hush Tour – Extract

Hush HushOn the book tour for Mel Sherratt’s brand new book called ‘Hush Hush’, enjoy an extract from the chilling tale.

Eddie pinched the bridge of his nose. He wanted to punch out, hit the wall, throw the desk across the room, anything to rid himself of the feeling in his chest. He wouldn’t let his grief show in public, not even to his family. But Josh had been his friend since they were young boys and he trusted him more than he ever had any member of his family.

‘What the hell went on here last night?’ he yelled, slapping his hand down on the desk.

Jade visibly jumped. ‘Don’t look at me!’ she pouted.

‘I’m not. But someone knows something and I intend to find out who by the end of the day.’

‘Ed, I’m sorry.’ Leon walked round the desk to him and put a hand on his shoulder.

‘Yeah, I’m sure you are.’ Eddie shirked it off.

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

‘Well, there was never any love lost between the two of you. I also know what’s been going on. Josh told me what you’ve been doing to make more money on the side. I was as pissed off with him getting involved as I am with you. It’s stupid. And would you stop with the snivelling, Jade?’ Eddie snapped.

Jade pulled herself upright. ‘I have feelings!’ she shouted. ‘Josh was my friend too. I can’t believe he’s gone.’

‘I can’t believe someone would kill him at the gym.’ Leon ran a hand through his hair. ‘And what the hell is she doing turning up here?’

‘Grace?’ Eddie said, noting his brother had evaded his accusations. His informant at the police station had told him she was back. He hadn’t been too pleased about it at the time, and had hoped their paths wouldn’t cross so soon. He’d wanted to get a handle on her before deciding whether they needed to get her on side, to recruit her to their team.

‘Yeah,’ Leon responded. ‘As a fed, she’s a threat. As a person, she’s not welcome at all.’

‘I think she made it perfectly clear she didn’t want anything to do with us.’ Eddie reached for his phone. There were already seven messages waiting for him – news was getting around.

‘I didn’t get that impression,’ Jade said. ‘I think she was shy, maybe overwhelmed to meet us all in one go. Aren’t either of you intrigued to see what she’s like?’

‘No, and you aren’t going to find out either,’ Eddie remarked. ‘She isn’t family and never will be.’

‘But that’s—’ Jade began.

‘But nothing.’ Eddie glared her way. ‘You’ll do as you’re told.’

Jade folded her arms and stuck out her chin. ‘You might think you can still bully me – both of you – but you can’t tell me what to do now that Dad isn’t here. If I want to see my sister, then I will.’

You can buy Hush Hush from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Starlight On The Palace Pier Tour – Extract

Starlight On The Palace PierOn the book tour for Tracy Corbett’s new book called ‘Starlight On The Palace Pier’, enjoy an extract from the tale.

Becca suspected she was in for an interesting evening. Clearing her throat, she faked a confidence she didn’t feel and addressed the group. ‘Shall we get started? For those of you who have tap shoes please put them on, and then find a space on the floor.’

Five minutes of faffing followed as Wanda and Miriam struggled to locate their shoes, put them on and tie the laces. Miriam was dressed in a brightly patterned smock dress, whereas Wanda wore the full dance regalia: Lycra catsuit, leg-warmers and top-of-the-range tap shoes. Nick and Cassie, who looked like they’d just come from work, were dressed in head-to-toe grey.

Collectively, it was a sight to behold.

Becca was just thinking it couldn’t get any more bizarre, when the doors opened and another woman joined them. ‘Sorry, I’m late,’ she said, hurrying in. She dropped her bag, tripped over it and then dropped it again when she tried to pick it up.

‘That’s Mi-Sun,’ Wanda said, in a loud whisper. ‘She’s from Korea.’

And Becca thought dealing with the kids was hard.

Still, at least this lot weren’t running around the room screaming. Not yet, anyway. ‘As we have two new people in the class and I’m new myself, let’s start with a few basic steps to get us warmed up. Okay?’

Four expectant faces stared at her.

Mi-Sun ran to join them, tripping up as she did so.

As a fellow klutz, Becca could empathise. ‘Okay, could you all spread out so you’re not on top of each other?’ They shuffled about. Wanda and Miriam both wanted to be at the front. Nick and Cassie hid at the back. Mi-Sun was left in the middle on her own. ‘Right. The first step we’re going to learn is called the shuffle.’

‘Oh, I know this.’ Miriam launched into a demonstration, followed by Wanda, who wasn’t about to be outdone. What with Miriam’s curves and Wanda’s cleavage, there was quite a lot of bouncing going on. The floorboards got a good workout.

‘That’s great, ladies. But let’s break it down for the rest of the class.’ She waited until the floor stopped vibrating. ‘The shuffle is a combination of two basic moves, the brush and the strike. Let’s start with the brush.’ She was met with three concerned expressions and two bored ones. Miriam and Wanda failed to hide their frustration at being made to start from the beginning.

Oh, well. Nothing she could do about that. Even with no teacher training she knew she could only go as fast as the slowest person in the group.

Becca turned to face the mirrors. ‘Stand on one leg and lift your other foot. Now swing the foot forward, brushing the ball of your foot against the floor.’

You can buy Starlight on the Palace Pier: A gloriously heart-warming read that will make you laugh out loud from Amazon

Kiss Of Death Book Tour – Extract

Kiss Of DeathOn the book tour for Paul Finch’s thrilling new book called ‘Kiss Of Death’, which is the seventh book in his Detective Mark Heckenburg series, read an extract from the tale.

A third or fourth heavy blow sounded from the other side of the church.

Initially, the vicar wondered if the warm summer air was carrying an echo from some distant workplace. On the church’s south side, you could see the roof of Farmer Holbrook’s barn on the far southern edge of the wheat field next door. But that was the only building in sight, and there wasn’t likely to be much work under way on a tranquil Monday evening.

When he heard what sounded like a fifth blow, it was a sharper, flatter sound, and louder, as if there was anger in it. The vicar opened the gate, stepped onto the path and walked towards the church’s northwest corner. As he reached it, he heard another blow. And another, and another.

This time there was a smashing sound too, like wood splintering.

He hurried on to the church’s southwest corner. Yet another blow followed, and with it a grunt, as of someone making a strenuous effort.

On the building’s immediate south side lay an untended part of the grounds, the weathered slabs of eighteenth-century gravestones poking up through the long summer grass. Beyond those stood the rusty metal fence cordoning off the wheat field. It might be a sobering thought that, once you were on this side of the church, you were completely screened from the road and any passing traffic, but the vicar didn’t have time to think about that. He rounded the final corner and strode several yards along the south-side path, before stopping dead.

A man with longish red hair, wearing patchwork green/brown khaki, was striking with a wood-axe at the vestry door. He grunted with each stroke, splinters flying, going at it with such gusto that he’d already chopped a hole in the middle of the door, and very likely would soon have the whole thing down.

The soles of the vicar’s black leather shoes had made barely a sound on the worn paving stones, but the man in khaki had heard him; he lowered his axe and turned.

The mask he wore had been chiselled from wood and depicted a goat’s face – but it was a demonic kind of goat, with a humanoid grin and horns that curled fantastically. The worst thing about it, though, was real: the eyes peering out through the holes notched for them were entirely human, and yet they burned with living hatred.

You can buy Kiss of Death (Detective Mark Heckenburg, Book 7) from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Pieces Of Her Book Tour

Pieces Of HerOn the book tour for Karin Slaughter’s chilling new book called ‘Pieces Of Her’, sit back and enjoy an extract from the tale.

PROLOGUE

For years, even while she’d loved him, part of her had hated him in that childish way that you hate something you can’t control. He was headstrong, and stupid, and handsome, which gave him cover for a hell of a lot of the mistakes he continually made—the same mistakes, over and over again, because why try new ones when the old ones worked so well in his favor?

He was charming, too. That was the problem. He would charm her. He would make her furious. Then he would charm her back again so that she did not know if he was the snake or she was the snake and he was the handler.

So he sailed along on his charm, and his fury, and he hurt people, and he found new things that interested him more, and the old things were left broken in his wake.

Then, quite suddenly, his charm had stopped working. A trolley car off the tracks. A train without a conductor. The mistakes could not be forgiven, and eventually, the second same mistake would not be overlooked, and the third same mistake had dire consequences that had ended with a life being taken, a death sentence being passed, then—almost—resulted in the loss of another life, her life.

How could she still love someone who had tried to destroy her?

When she had been with him—and she was decidedly with him during his long fall from grace—they had raged against the system: The group homes. The emergency departments. The loony bin. The mental hospital. The squalor. The staff who neglected their patients. The orderlies who ratcheted tight the straightjackets. The nurses who looked the other way. The doctors who doled out the pills. The urine on the floor. The faeces on the walls. The inmates, the fellow prisoners, taunting, wanting, beating, biting.

The spark of rage, not the injustice, was what had excited him the most. The novelty of a new cause. The chance to annihilate. The dangerous game. The threat of violence. The promise of fame. Their names in lights. Their righteous deeds on the tongues of schoolchildren who were taught the lessons of change.
A penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, a dollar bill . . .

What she had kept hidden, the one sin that she could never confess to, was that she had ignited that first spark.

She had always believed—vehemently, with great conviction— that the only way to change the world was to destroy it.

CHAPTER 1

“Andrea,” her mother said. Then, in concession to a request made roughly one thousand times before, “Andy.”

“Mom—”

“Let me speak, darling.” Laura paused.

“Please.”

Andy nodded, preparing for a long-awaited lecture. She was officially thirty-one years old today. Her life was stagnating.

She had to start making decisions rather than having life make decisions for her.

Laura said, “This is my fault.”

Andy felt her chapped lips peel apart in surprise. “What’s your fault?”

“Your being here. Trapped here.”

Andy held out her arms, indicating the restaurant. “At the Rise-n-Dine?”

Her mother’s eyes traveled the distance from the top of Andy’s head to her hands, which fluttered nervously back to the table. Dirty brown hair thrown into a careless ponytail. Dark circles under her tired eyes. Nails bitten down to the quick.

The bones of her wrists like the promontory of a ship. Her skin, normally pale, had taken on the pallor of hot dog water.

The catalog of flaws didn’t even include her work outfit. The navy-blue uniform hung off Andy like a paper sack. The stitched silver badge on her breast pocket was stiff, the Belle Isle palm tree logo surrounded by the words police dispatch division.

Like a police officer, but not actually. Like an adult, but not really. Five nights a week, Andy sat in a dark, dank room with four other women answering 911 calls, running license plate and driver’s license checks, and assigning case numbers.

Then, around six in the morning, she slinked back to her mother’s house and spent the majority of what should’ve been her waking hours asleep.

Laura said, “I never should have let you come back here.”

Andy pressed together her lips. She stared down at the last bits of yellow eggs on her plate.

“My sweet girl.” Laura reached across the table for her hand, waited for her to look up. “I pulled you away from your life. I was scared, and I was selfish.” Tears rimmed her mother’s eyes. “I shouldn’t have needed you so much. I shouldn’t have asked for so much.”

Andy shook her head. She looked back down at her plate. “Darling.”

Andy kept shaking her head because the alternative was to speak, and if she spoke, she would have to tell the truth.
Her mother had not asked her to do anything.

Three years ago, Andy had been walking to her shitty Lower East Side fourth-floor walk-up, dreading the thought of another night in the one-bedroom hovel she shared with three other girls, none of whom she particularly liked, all of whom were younger, prettier and more accomplished, when Laura had called. “Breast cancer,” Laura had said, not whispering or hedging but coming straight out with it in her usual calm way. “Stage three. The surgeon will remove the tumor, then while I’m under,
he’ll biopsy the lymph nodes to evaluate—”

Laura had said more, detailing what was to come with a degree of detached, scientific specificity that was lost on Andy, whose language-processing skills had momentarily evaporated. She had heard the word “breast” more than “cancer,” and thought instantly of her mother’s generous bosom. Tucked beneath her modest one-piece swimsuit at the beach. Peeking over the neckline of her Regency dress for Andy’s Netherfield- themed sixteenth birthday party. Strapped under the padded cups and gouging underwires of her LadyComfort Bras as she sat on the couch in her office and worked with her speech therapy patients.

Laura Oliver was not a bombshell, but she had always been what men called very well put together. Or maybe it was women who called it that, probably back in the last century. Laura wasn’t the type for heavy make-up and pearls, but she never left the house without her short gray hair neatly styled, her linen pants crisply starched, her underwear clean and still elasticized.

Andy barely made it out of the apartment most days. She was constantly having to double back for something she had forgotten like her phone or her ID badge for work or, one time, her sneakers because she’d walked out of the building wearing her bedroom slippers.

Whenever people in New York asked Andy what her mother was like, she always thought of something Laura had said about her own mother: She always knew where all the tops were to her Tupperware.

Andy couldn’t be bothered to close a Ziploc bag.

On the phone, eight hundred miles away, Laura’s stuttered intake of breath was the only sign that this was difficult for her. “Andrea?”

Andy’s ears, buzzing with New York sounds, had zeroed back in on her mother’s voice.

Cancer.

Andy tried to grunt. She could not make the noise. This was shock. This was fear.

This was unfettered terror because the world had suddenly stopped spinning and everything—the failures, the disappointments, the horror of Andy’s New York existence for the last six years—receded like the drawback wave of a tsunami. Things that should’ve never been uncovered were suddenly out in the open.

Her mother had cancer. She could be dying.

She could die.

Laura had said, “So, there’s chemo, which will by all accounts be very difficult.”

She was used to filling Andy’s protracted silences, had learned long ago that confronting her on them was more likely to end up in a fight than a resumption of civil conversation. “Then I’ll take a pill every day, and that’s that. The five-year survival rate is over seventy percent, so there’s not a lot to worry about except for getting through it.” A pause for breath, or maybe in hopes that Andy was ready to speak. “It’s very treatable, darling. I don’t want you to worry. Just stay where you are. There’s nothing you can do.”

A car horn had blared. Andy had looked up. She was standing statue-like in the middle of a crosswalk. She struggled to move. The phone was hot against her ear.

It was past midnight. Sweat rolled down her back and leached from her armpits like melted butter. She could hear the canned laughter of a sitcom, bottles clinking, and an anonymous piercing scream for help, the likes of which she had learned to tune out her first month living in the city.

Too much silence on her end of the phone.

Finally, her mother had prompted, “Andrea?”

Andy had opened her mouth without considering what words should come out.

“Darling?” her mother had said, still patient, still generously nice in the way that her mother was to everyone she met.

“I can hear the street noises, otherwise I’d think we’d lost the connection.” She paused again. “Andrea, I really need you to acknowledge what I’m telling you. It’s important.”

Her mouth was still hanging open. The sewer smell that was endemic to her neighborhood had stuck to the back of her nasal passages like a piece of overcooked spaghetti slapped onto a kitchen cabinet.

Another car horn blared. Another woman screamed for help. Another ball of sweat rolled down Andy’s back and pooled in the waistband of her underwear. The elastic was torn where her thumb went when she pulled them down.

Andy still could not recall how she’d managed to force herself out of her stupor, but she remembered the words she had finally said to her mother: “I’m coming home.”

You can buy Pieces of Her from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The New Girl Book Tour – Extract

The New GirlSit back and enjoy an thriliing extract from Ingrid Alexandra’s chilling new book called ‘The New Girl’.

The wine is cool and crisp as it passes my lips and, after a couple more sips, the familiar warmth curls in my stomach like a cat settling in for the night. Humming a catchy tune I heard on the radio, I flip through the mail.

An estate agent advertisement, the electricity bill and a letter, the one with the brown stain on it, addressed to someone named Sophia Gates. It’s the second time this person’s mail has arrived here; Sophia Gates must have been the previous tenant. I toss the letter into the recycling, take a long pull of wine and then pause, rubbing a finger along my lips.

I knew someone named Sophia once. Or Sophie, maybe. I think for a moment but my mind’s cloudy, and I can’t remember anyone specific. It’s probably no one important, yet I have that feeling I get at times, like I’m supposed to remember something but there’s a brick wall in my mind and my thoughts stop there. A blank space, as I’ve come to call it.

My wine’s nearly gone and no one’s home yet, so I top up my glass with a bottle from the laundry. I go to my room, sit at my desk and flip open my laptop. I check my email, trawl through my newsfeed. Without planning to, I google the name Sophia Gates. Images, Facebook pages and LinkedIn accounts pop up, but I don’t recognise anyone. I’m being stupid, paranoid as usual. It must just be a coincidence.

‘Any mail?’ Cat’s voice calls from the kitchen, startling me. I hadn’t heard the door.

‘On the coffee table!’ I tell her, gulping a mouthful before hiding the glass under the desk.

Just a short taster, that really leaves you wanting more.

You can buy The New Girl from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 4th October 2018.