#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Running Behind Time #RunningBehindTime – Jan Turk Petrie @TurkPetrie

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Running Behind Time BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Running Behind Time’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jan Turk Petrie Author PicJan Turk Petrie is a writer based in the Cotswolds area of England (UK). She is the author of seven published novels.
The Eldísvík Trilogy – a fast paced future-world Nordic thriller series set in 2068 in a fictional Scandinavian city state. Vol 1 – ‘Until The Ice Cracks’ – published July 2018; Vol 2 – ‘No God for a Warrior’ – published November 2018 & Vol 3 – ‘Within Each Other’s Shadow’ – published April 2019. An ebook boxset of ‘The Eldísvík Trilogy’ is widely available.
Jan has also written 4 very different stand-alone novels.
‘Too Many Heroes’ – a post-war thriller set mainly in the East End of London – published August 2019.
‘Towards the Vanishing Point’ – is a period literary domestic drama published in January 2020. It’s the story of an enduring friendship between two women and the sinister man who marries one of them.
‘The Truth in a Lie’ – is Jan’s first contemporary novel, published in June 2020. A story of love, loyalty, betrayal and the damage done by untold secrets
Jan’s latest novel – ‘Running Behind Time’ – is a time-slip novel published in March 2021. There’s a wrinkle in time on the 15:15 train from Paddington to Cheltenham Spa…
A former English teacher with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Gloucestershire, Jan has also written numerous, prize-winning short stories.

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Synopsis :

Running Behind Time CoverThere’s a wrinkle in time on the 15:15 train from Paddington to Cheltenham Spa
It’s the Summer of 1982, and Beth Sawyer is thrilled to have landed the title role in a play. It may only be in a fringe theatre in Shepherd’s Bush, but it’s the start she’s always dreamed of.
It’s the Summer of 2020, amid the global pandemic, and Tom Brookes is furloughed. Unable to face lockdown in a tiny city flat, he moves back to his mother’s cottage in the sleepy Cotswold village of Stoatsfield-under-Ridge.
Neither of them expects an everyday train journey to throw their normal lives so spectacularly off-course.
This is the story of an extraordinary encounter between two people who should never have met.

Amazon

Excerpt :

Chapter One

East Sussex, England
July 1982
Beth

The sky is darkening with unnatural speed; with it comes a silence she finds disquieting. Ominous. Gulls that had been reeling and squawking off the cliffs have mysteriously disappeared. Only moments ago, the soaring song of larks had accompanied them to the top of the headland; now the birds have all gone to ground.
Other people – perhaps twenty, maybe as many as twenty-five – have been drawn to this same commanding spot as if by enchantment or a shared instinct carried in some ancient race memory. On the way up, she’d caught snatches of excited conversation – a carnival spirit; now there’s only whispering.
It’s almost upon them. A collective hush descends on the small crowd. Faces turn upwards to wait for the spectacle about to take place.
To her left, the silvery streak on the surface of the sea dims and then goes out. Where there had been summer warmth the air is chilly; the fine hairs on her arms stand up in response.
‘This is it,’ Kyle says pulling on her arm until she sits down next to him. The dry grass feels rough against her bare legs. She can smell all the baked-hard sheep poo they’re sitting amongst.
From his rucksack Kyle pulls out his binoculars and the piece of white card he’d rescued from the bin. He’s already explained to her how this will work, how you only need to point one of the lenses at the eclipse and an image will be projected straight through the eyepiece onto the cardboard. The other lens is capped off – it isn’t allowed to watch.
On the train down, he’d read a newspaper while she listened to the Planet Suite on her Walkman – not her usual choice of music but perfect to set the mood. She’d picked up the arts supplement he discarded and read a light-hearted feature describing some of the myths that had grown up as a way of explaining an eclipse. A traditional Norse tale put the blame on wolves eating the sun. In Ancient China it was dragons. Native Americans believed a bear had taken a great bite out of it. The Ancient Greeks took the whole thing more seriously; to them it was a sign the gods were angry and foretold coming disasters and destruction. It doesn’t surprise her; now would be the perfect moment for someone in long robes to stand on top of one of these mounds, raise a wooden staff and spout some dire prophecy.
Kyle is staring down at the image on the card. Seen his way, the coming partial eclipse resembles a diagram in a textbook. He’s set the whole thing up in between them so they can watch together. She notices the small tomato stain in one corner from their takeaway pizza.
In her head she tells him, ‘You might as well be watching it on the telly.’ She’s tempted to say it out loud but that would only spoil the moment for him.
‘Remember, don’t look at it directly.’ This was ostensibly to her, but he’d raised his voice so that it would carry to any foolish person around them who might be about to do such a thing. ‘Just one look and you could go blind,’ he adds for good measure.
The darkness intensifies until it’s impossible to make out the contours of the land or the line where it meets the sky. The colours of the day have all but drained away like they’re in a black and white movie. Under her breath, Beth quotes from King Lear: These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us.
Some people are gazing skywards, wearing special glasses that look far too cheap to ward off the destructive powers of two heavenly bodies set on what, from this angle, appears to be a certain collision.
‘Beth,’ he says, interrupting her train of thought. ‘I think we’re approaching maximum. Look then, or you’ll miss it.’ His sharp elbow digs into her ribs to make his point.
To please him, she glances down at the facsimile he’s created – the scaled down version of this momentous event he appears to be content with. His way is not hers; it never was.
Drawn back to the heavens but not quite trusting herself, she shuts her eyes and lets the moment take her. Such an extraordinary occurrence – it has to signify something.
By the gradual brightening of the shades of red inside her closed lids, she can tell the deepest darkness has passed. How strange this slow process of coming back to herself – to the promise of warmth on her skin. She opens her eyes, to watch the old world being reborn. Monochrome is being overlaid with colour. The spell broken, birds wake and remember their songs. A distant lamb cries out for its mother.
Kyle caps the other lens of the binoculars; roughly folding the piece of card in half, he stuffs both into his rucksack. Standing up, he says, ‘We should head off, beat the crush at the station.’
Now that the everyday world has been restored, the colours seem so bright. Beth wants to linger here, to lie back and find shapes in clouds; follow the progress of the boat that’s just a speck on the horizon as it moves across the newly sparkling sea.
For now, she complies, brushing the grass from her legs before she follows him down the hill towards the point where the narrow path splits and goes off in different directions.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : The Mercenary #TheMercenary – Paul Vidich @paulvidich @noexitpress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Mercenary BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Mercenary’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

PAUL VIDICH Author PicPaul Vidich has had a distinguished career in music and media. Most recently, he served as Special Advisor to AOL and was Executive Vice President at the Warner Music Group, in charge of technology and global strategy. He serves on the Board of Directors of Poets & Writers and The New School for Social Research. A founder and publisher of the Storyville App, Vidich is also an award-winning author of short fiction. His novels, An Honorable Man, The Good Assassin and The Coldest Warrior, are available from No Exit Press.

Website
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GoodReads

Synopsis :

The Mercenery CoverMoscow, 1985. The Soviet Union and its communist regime are in the last stages of decline, but remain opaque to the rest of the world—and still very dangerous. In this ever-shifting landscape, a senior KGB officer—code name GAMBIT—has approached the CIA Moscow Station chief with top secret military weapons intelligence and asked to be exfiltrated. GAMBIT demands that his handler be a former CIA officer, Alex Garin, a former KGB officer who defected to the American side.
The CIA had never successfully exfiltrated a KGB officer from Moscow, and the top brass do not trust Garin. But they have no other options: GAMBIT’s secrets could be the deciding factor in the Cold War.
Garin is able to gain the trust of GAMBIT, but remains an enigma. Is he a mercenary acting in self-interest or are there deeper secrets from his past that would explain where his loyalties truly lie? As the date nears for GAMBIT’s exfiltration, and with the walls closing in on both of them, Garin begins a relationship with a Russian agent and sets into motion a plan that could compromise everything.

Amazon

Excerpt :

Knowledge of GAMBIT’s existence was limited to Mueller and John Rositske, his deputy chief of station, who was at the wheel of the Lada. They were next in line to exit the embassy parking lot, and they waited for the marine guard to raise the barrier for the lead car. Neither of the junior officers in the Lada – Ronnie Moffat, who sat in the back next to Mueller, or Helen Walsh, in the front – knew the details of the night’s operation, nor did the case officers in the decoy car being waved through.
Mueller lit a Prima and cracked open his window. The top floor of the embassy’s French Empire façade was singed with dusk’s streaking light, turning the pale stucco an ochre red. Its height set it apart from neighboring Georgian homes along Tchaikovsky Street. Soviet militia stood in guard shacks on both ends of the embassy, using their telephones to call out the comings and goings of embassy staff to nearby KGB surveillance teams. Mueller’s eyes moved to the left, beyond the militia’s shack, toward two parked Volga sedans, exhaust pluming into the bitter cold. Across the street at the bus stop he saw two Russians in quilted-cotton jackets and shabby wool caps drawn over their foreheads sharing a bottle of holiday vodka. KGB? he wondered. Or members of the million-manstrong army of Russian alcoholics? Gusting wind drove a light snow across the wide boulevard, which was empty of traffic at that hour as Muscovites left work early to celebrate the new year. Streetlamps went on one after another, illuminating the embassy like perimeter lights along a prison wall. Moscow was a city of elaborate privileges for foreigners with hard currency, but to Mueller and the other CIA officers in Moscow Station, it was a denied area – a dangerous place of provocations and surveillance. Mueller alone knew his destination that night. Two vertical chalk marks the day before on a postal box by the tobacco kiosk outside Kievskaya Metro Station had told him the meeting would go on.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : The Measure of Time #TheMeasureOfTime – Gianrico Carofiglio @GianricoCarof @HowardCurtis49 @bitterlemonpub

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Measure of Time’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Award-winning, best-selling novelist Gianrico Carofiglio was born in Bari in 1961 and worked for many years as a prosecutor specializing in organized crime. He was appointed advisor of the anti-Mafia committee in the Italian parliament in 2007 and served as a senator from 2008 to 2013. Carofiglio is best known for the Guido Guerrieri crime series: Involuntary Witness, A Walk in the Dark, Reasonable Doubts, Temporary Perfections and now, A Fine Line, all published by Bitter Lemon Press. His other novels include The Silence of the Wave. Carofiglio’s books have sold more than four million copies in Italy and have been translated into twenty-four languages worldwide. 

About the Translator :

Howard Curtis is a well-known translator from the Italian and has translated other titles in this series.

Synopsis :

One spring afternoon Lorenza, a former lover of Guerrieri, shows up in his office. Her son Jacopo stands convicted of the first-degree murder of a local drug dealer. For the appeal, Lorenza turns to Guerrieri. But he is not convinced of the innocence of Lorenza’s son, nor does he have fond memories of how their relationship ended two decades earlier. Nevertheless, he accepts the case; perhaps to pay a melancholy homage to the ghosts of his youth. He soon becomes embroiled in a fascinating judicial process tainted by unreliable testimony and hasty and incomplete police work.

Amazon

Excerpt :

“Before coming here I did my sums. It’s been twenty-seven years.”
“Oh yes,” I replied almost simultaneously, congratulating myself on my effort at originality.
“I’ve often been tempted to drop by and say hello, have a chat. Especially when I read about you in the papers in connection with some trial or other. I’ve even caught sight of you in the street, but I’ve never had the guts to call out to you.”
I’d never noticed her in the street. The last time I’d seen her was September 1987, then she’d vanished from my life. I hadn’t seen her again and hadn’t heard anything about her.
I had assumed – for as long as I’d thought about it – that she’d left Bari, which was something she’d always said she wanted to do. With a slight sense of dizziness, I realized I’d never told anyone about her, or about those months when our paths had crossed. Maybe that was why my memory of her had faded until it had become intangible. As time passes, a memory untold becomes less and less real and gets mixed up with the even more intangible material in our minds: dreams, fantasies, private legends.
I didn’t say any of this.
“What … what do you do for a living?”
“I teach. I do other things too, but basically I’m a schoolteacher.”
“Even back then you did a whole lot of things…”
“Not quite the same kinds of things… But anyway, that doesn’t matter, I’m not here to talk about me.” Her voice had hardened, as if to protect a vulnerable area.
I shrugged, tried to smile and gave her a questioning look. Her jaw muscles tightened.
“I’m here to see you for a professional reason. Meaning your profession, obviously.”
“What’s happened?”
She hesitated, then her hand went to a pocket of her jacket in an automatic gesture, as if searching for a packet of cigarettes.
“I don’t know how to begin.”
“Going to see a criminal lawyer is almost always an unpleasant experience. A person’s unlikely to feel at ease, but we’re in no hurry. My colleague Pasquale has already told me it’s something to do with your son.”
“My son, yes.”
“How old is he?”
“Iacopo has just turned twenty-five. He’s old enough to have already had quite serious problems with the law – and not just the law.” Before continuing, she breathed in and cleared her throat. “Right now he’s in prison. He’s been there for more than two years. He was found guilty of murder.”
She told me what had happened, and there was nothing good about her story.
Iacopo had always been a problem child – maybe because he’d never really had a father, but who can say? She didn’t go into detail about that and I didn’t ask any questions, just did a rapid mental calculation: he couldn’t have been my son.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : The Cracks That Let The Light In : What I Learned From My Disabled Son #TheCracksThatLetTheLightIn – Jessica Moxham @jessmoxham @Octopus_Books

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Cracks That Let The Light In’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jessica Moxham is a writer with interest in the areas of parenting and disability. Her eldest son, Ben, is severely disabled. She writes a blog at http://www.son-stories.com discussing how she and her family support him with his disability. Her blog is read by parents, health professionals and educators, among others.
Jessica has given lectures to health professionals on her family’s experience, from small groups of students to more than 100 doctors at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. She has been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live and has written for the Guardian on austerity and disability. She is also a qualified architect and has worked in London and the Middle East. Jessica now lives in London with her husband and three children, in the house she redesigned to suit Ben.
Follow Jessica on Instagram and Twitter.

Synopsis :

Jessica Moxham thought she was prepared for the experience of motherhood. Armed with advice from friends and family, parenting books and antenatal classes, she felt ready.
After giving birth, she found herself facing a different, more uncertain reality. Her son, Ben, was fighting to stay alive. When Jessica could finally take him home from hospital, the challenges were far from over.
In this hopeful memoir, Jessica shares her journey in raising Ben. His disability means he will never be able to move or communicate without assistance. Jessica has to learn how to feed Ben when he can’t eat, wrestle with red tape to secure his education and defend his basic rights in the face of discrimination. As Ben begins to thrive, alongside his two younger siblings, Jessica finds that caring for a child with unique needs teaches her about appreciating difference and doing things your own way.
This uplifting story is about the power of family love, finding inner strength and, above all, hope.

Amazon

Excerpt :

I had been in labour for many hours when I am told my baby Ben is in distress and needs to be born immediately. His heart rate is low, they say, and there is no time for local anaesthetic. There is a sharp pain and out he comes. He is immediately cut from me and carried over to a plinth where midwives lean over him, suctioning and murmuring. There is silence apart from low, urgent conversation between midwives and then doctors. People hurry in and out and pay my baby close attention. Where there should be the sound of a baby crying there is nothing.
I know very little about the realities of childbirth but I know a baby is meant to make some noise. Something has gone horribly wrong. After hours of gas and air and contractions I feel detached while also very present in a body that is tired and hurt.
I have a thought that is sharp and brittle: this might not be OK.
‘He’s not making any noise,’ I say to James.
I haven’t yet seen Ben when he is taken away to intensive care in a flurry of medics. I am told he had been born unresponsive but has been resuscitated. He now needs specialist help. It is serious. James steps out of the room to call my parents. After my mum and dad arrive, a doctor comes in and stands at the end of my bed while James holds my hand. ‘I think that at some point during your labour your baby didn’t get enough oxygen. He is now very sick,’ she says.
I ask to visit Ben and, since I can’t yet walk, my bed is pushed along bright corridors and through doors to the neonatal unit nearby. It doesn’t feel right to be travelling through the public areas of the hospital, passing the relatives of other labouring women, in the bed I have just given birth in. I check I am fully covered with a sheet.
Two midwives squeeze my bed into the room where my baby is lying on a cot, very still, plump, not yet clean and covered in tubes. I am not allowed to touch him. I don’t know what to think.
I have still not delivered the placenta so, after returning from seeing Ben, I am taken to an operating theatre to have it removed. As the doctor finishes the procedure and I am being stitched, the anaesthetist speaks to me kindly, holding my hand, and I realize that I am a person who should be treated sympathetically.
I arrive in the recovery room and am told that my baby needs to be transferred to a different hospital with expertise in a particular cooling treatment that this hospital doesn’t have.
This cooling treatment may help minimize the damage caused by oxygen deprivation.
‘Can I see him before he leaves?’ I ask.
‘I’ll see what I can do,’ the neonatologist replies. ‘I’ll speak to the transfer team.’
Ben arrives a while later in a different cot to the one I had last seen him in, surrounded by machines and tubes, pushed by a team of four people who will keep him alive for this journey. Their uniforms look professional and urgent. I can only just see Ben through the medical equipment surrounding him. They manage to manoeuvre his cot close enough so that when they open a small window in the side, I can hold his tiny hand for the first time. I didn’t know that this was how a birth could go. I don’t feel prepared for any of it.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : The Foreign Girls #TheForeignGirls – Sergio Olguin @olguinserg @bitterlemonpub @MirandaFrance1

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Foreign Girls BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Foreign Girls’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Sergio_Olguin_Sergio Olguín was born in Buenos Aires in 1967 and was a journalist before turning to fiction. Olguín has won a number of awards, among others the Premio Tusquets 2009 for his novel Oscura monótona sangre (“Dark Monotonous Blood“). His books have been translated into German, French and Italian.

The translator Miranda France is the author of two acclaimed volumes of travel writing: Don Quixote’s Delusions and Bad Times in Buenos Aires. She has also written the novels Hill Farm and The Day Before the Fire and translated much Latin American fiction, including Claudia Piñeiro’s novels for Bitter Lemon Press.

Synopsis :

Foreign Girls CoverVeronica Rosenthal has retreated to a cousin’s remote cottage in the province of Tucuman, to recuperate from the traumatic events in The Fragility of Bodies. She befriends two female tourists – an Italian and a Norwegian — invites them to stay and starts a sexual relationship with one of them. After a party they attend together, Veronica travels on alone but days later discovers that the women have been murdered. Suspicion falls on a local Umbanda priest, but Veronica starts to uncover a web of corruption, abuse and femicide in which government, wealthy landowners and a high-ranking official from the Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ are all implicated. Veronica’s investigation, with its unforeseen political dimensions, has alarmed new enemies who will try to stop her at all cost.

Amazon

Excerpt :

Prologue

FROM: Verónica Rosenthal
TO: Paula Locatti
RE: Radio Silence
Dear Paula,
This is going to be one long email, my friend. Apologies for  not replying to your previous messages nor to your request, so elegantly expressed, that I “stop sending fucking automatic replies”. Originally I intended not to answer any emails during my vacation and anyone who wrote to me was meant to get a message saying I wouldn’t be responding until I got home. But what has just happened to me is shocking, to put it mildly. I need to share it with someone. With you, I mean. You’re the only person I can tell something like this. I thought of ring- ing you, even of asking you to come, because I didn’t want to be alone. But I also can’t behave like a teenager fretting about her first time. That’s why I decided not to call but to write instead. On the phone I might beg you to come. And, to be honest, there’s other stuff I want to tell you, things I could never bring myself to say in person, not even to you. Written communication can betray our thoughts, but oral so often leads to a slip of the tongue, and I want to avoid that. There’s a slip in the last sentence, in fact, but I’ll let it go.
As I was saying, what I write here is for your eyes only. Nobody else must find out what I am going to tell you. Nobody. None of the girls, none of your other friends. It’s too personal for me to want to share it. Come to think of it, delete this email after you’ve read it.
I told you that I was going to start my trip in Jujuy, then go down from there to Tucumán. Well, I didn’t do that in the end. A few days before I set off, my sister Leticia reminded me about the weekend home that belongs to my cousin Severo (actually, he’s the son of one of my father’s cousins). He’s not only a Rosenthal but also part of ‘our’ legal family: a commercial judge in Tucumán. I think he’d love to work in my dad’s practice, but Aarón has always kept him at arm’s length. He’s forty-something, married to a spoiled bitch and father to four children. Anyway, Severo has a weekend cottage on the Cerro San Javier, and whenever he comes to Buenos Aires he insists that we borrow it. I checked and the house was available for the time I needed it, so I decided to change my route: to start in Tucumán, stay a week in Cousin Severo’s house and then go on to Salta and Jujuy. I thought it wouldn’t be a bad thing to spend a quiet week there, resting and clearing my mind after the very shitty summer I’d had.
So I arrived at the airport in San Miguel de Tucumán, picked up the car I’d rented and swung by the courts to see my cousin and collect the keys to the house. I spent half an hour in his office exchanging family news (his eldest son starts law this year – another one, for God’s sake). I graciously declined his invitation to lunch and, with barely suppressed horror, another invitation to have dinner at his house with the wife and some of the four children. He gave me a little map with directions (even though I had rented a GPS with the car – although God knows why, since you can get anywhere just by asking) and a sheet of paper with useful telephone numbers and the Wi-Fi code. He told me that a boy came to clean the pool once a week and there was a gardener too, but that they came very early and had their own keys to the shed, that I wouldn’t even know they were there (and he was right, I’ve never seen their faces). He offered to send me ‘the girl’ who lives in their house in the city, but I declined this invitation.
If you saw my cousin’s house you’d go berserk. It’s hidden away behind a little wood on the hillside. A typi- cally nineties construction, Californian style: huge windows, Italian furniture, BKF butterfly chairs (uncomfortable), a Michael Thonet rocking chair which, if it isn’t an original, certainly looks the part, a spectacular view (even from the toilets), a Jacuzzi in almost all the bathtubs, a sauna, a well-equipped gym, huge grounds (looking a bit sparse now that autumn’s on its way), a heated swimming pool, a changing room, a gazebo which is in itself practically another house and lots, lots more. Plus full cupboards, a wine cellar and more CDs and DVDs than you could possibly ever need. Never mind a week, it’s the kind of paradise to hide away in for a year.
And that’s what I’ve been doing. Reading, spending time in the pool, watching movies. Even though there’s Wi-Fi I haven’t gone online; I haven’t watched the news or read the papers. If there had been a coup, a tsunami in Japan or World War Three had broken out, I would be none the wiser.
It feels like a kind of professional and life detox. After spending the summer covering for other people at the maga- zine who were on leave, writing pieces no one was interested in, and feeling no appetite to get my teeth into a proper story, I needed this: to be far from the relentless noise of the city – no friends, no guys, no family. Nothing. It’s the first time since Lucio died that I’ve been able to spend time alone with myself. And I’ve needed it. The summer was hard. I don’t need to tell you that.
A few days ago I decided to go out for a bit. It was still light when I set off in the car with no particular destination. The mountain road in this area is really beautiful, so I was driving along, taking in the view without worrying about anything. After a thousand twists and turns, the road came to a kind of seaside town, like a cool resort: a few pubs, boutiques with hippie clothes, groups of shouting teenagers. The usual.
I stopped at a bar that looked promising and had a park- ing spot right beside it. Inside there weren’t many people. I sat down at a table near the bar and asked for a Jim Beam. It seems my order caused a stir because, when the glass of bourbon arrived, I noticed some guys on a nearby table were staring at me – them and the barman too. I focussed on my maps and guidebooks. I wasn’t there to flirt with the locals.
Soon after that, two girls arrived. I didn’t actually see them come in and go up to the bar. It was their voices I noticed first. Or rather the voice of one of them who, in very good Spanish but with a foreign accent, asked the barman where they could buy “una cuerda”.
I think it was the word cuerda that got my attention, and I immediately imagined that these two women were looking for rope to tie up some man, not thinking that cuerda can also mean “string”. The barman must have thought something similar, because he asked them “Una cuerda?” in a surprised tone of voice. The foreign girl clarified: “Una cuerda para la guitarra”.
The barman said if they were looking for a music shop they should go to the provincial capital, San Miguel de Tucumán. The other girl asked if they could call a taxi to take them there from the bar. And I, who had been listening as though I were part of the conversation, offered to take them myself.
I don’t tend to have such quick reactions. And I still don’t know what prompted me to make the offer: whether I was starting to get bored sitting there, or I wanted to talk to someone after so many days alone, or that the fact they were foreign girls prompted a sudden urge to be a good ambassador for my country. Anyway, the girls were happy to accept the offer.
As for what happened next, I’ll be brief. I realize now that the reason I included so many unimportant details in what I wrote before was to put off the most important part, the only thing I really want to tell you. That I need to tell you.
Petra, Frida and I quickly bonded in the way that people who meet while travelling often do. We talked about our lives over empanadas in a restaurant on the edge of town. Petra is Italian, sings and plays the guitar. The other girl, Frida, is Norwegian and spent a year living in Argentina. That was when they got to know each other. And then they made a plan to meet up again to travel together in northern Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.
They both speak perfect Spanish. Frida has a slight Castilian accent because she studied in Madrid. Petra, on the other hand, sounds really Argentinian. She lived in Milan with a guy from Mendoza for more than a year and after that she was in a relationship with someone from Córdoba. Nothing like pillow talk to improve your accent.
On more than one occasion we raised our glasses to all the idiot men who have ruined our lives. My Italian and Norwegian friends would have been right at home on a night out with you and me in Buenos Aires.
We decided to travel on together, at least until we reached the city of Salta (they want to spend a few days there, but I’d rather press on to Jujuy). Yesterday I went to pick them up so they can move into my cousin’s place. There’s plenty of room.
The girls are a lot less prudish than me. They sunbathe topless and don’t mind walking naked out of their rooms. I’ve tried to follow suit, at least by going topless next to the pool. They’re two lovely, cheerful girls, a few (but not many) years younger than me.
I’ve realized from one or two things they said that there is, or was, something between them.
Last night we got drunk on some whisky that my cousin is definitely going to miss. Don’t ask me how – or how far – things went, but Frida and I ended up in what you might call a confusing situation.
There it is, I’ve said it.
It was nice, unnerving, exhilarating.
I don’t want any jokes, or winks, or sarcasm from you. Is
that possible? Or for you to cling to the edge of the mattress if we end up sharing a bed when we go to the hot springs at Gualeguaychú.
I’m writing all this from my bed (alone, obviously). Midday. I woke up with a crashing hangover. But even so, I remember absolutely everything that happened last night. I still haven’t left the room. There’s too much silence in the house. Ah well.
Kisses, Vero

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : The Mind’s Eye #TheMindsEye – Miles M. Hudson @milesmhudson

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Mind’s Eye’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Miles Hudson Author picNotionally, I’m a school physics teacher. I’ve worked in a variety of schools in north-east England and started recently as the PGCE Physics tutor at Newcastle Uni. I also write a whole load of textbook materials for schools, my biggest titles being A Level Physics books for Edexcel exam board courses.
And I’m the inventor of the Best Fit Line Ruler. I ran a small business making and selling those but after ten years and 50,000 rulers, I’ve stopped making them.
I have a major passion for writing fiction. My future-set series of novels, starting with 2089, is about a gently post-apocalyptic, Orwellian future England. You could say ‘sci-fi’, but it’s not really lasers and spaceships; ‘dystopian’ catches the themes well.
I’ve also developed a great series of detective novels featuring the duo Penfold and DS Tony Milburn. Based in Durham City CID, DS Milburn and his civilian foil, the kiwi surfer, Penfold, solve cases that take in high stakes such as murder and big heists, but in a very cerebral way. Holmes and Watson for the 21st Century, if you will.

Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

Everything anyone sees and hears is recorded and available to view online. Our eyes and ears are remotely wiretapped. There can be no secrets. But… what if the surveillance system had been hacked, and you weren’t actually committing the crimes people saw you committing? Jack Smith and Vicky Truva are on the run, again.
In 2089, Jack was banished to an island in the Bristol Channel for blowing up the old GCHQ building to destroy the surveillance computers. 18 months later, those responsible for his conviction suffer arson, assault and explosion. Eye witnesses attribute these crimes to Jack. The surveillance system is fixed, but he appears to be evading it. That should be impossible.
With his friend, Vicky, Jack returns from exile to try to prove that he is not the criminal. A militia posse, including Vicky’s brother, pursue them across climate-changed Gloucestershire. The surveillance system functions erratically. Can Jack and Vicky outrun the posse long enough to work out what’s wrong with it? And find out who really committed the crimes? And can they catch them?

Amazon

Minds Eye Graphic 2

Excerpt :

Prologue
31st January 2091, 11.40am The Doughnut, Cheltenham

Dira had seen a man carried off a jetty by the wind and into the swollen waters of the Severn. He never resurfaced. He hadn’t personally witnessed it – Dira had watched the audiopt surveillance images from thirty kilometres away, on a screen in his workstation at the Doughnut. The audio feeds from two Newnham residents showed the man fall into the dark water passing the village landing stage. Aluen had asked Dira to come and watch that same footage with her. She had said something seemed ‘off’.
From a first floor corridor window, he looked out to see wet leaves helplessly drawn into a vortex. Wild air swirled around the courtyard inner circle of the Doughnut. The giant building had a perfect wind trap in its centre. The constant rain had been hurled against the long windows for three days. Dira realised his hands were gripping the steel handrail tightly. He blinked away the memory of a screen showing the man falling in and turned from the rain-streaked windows to walk into Aluen’s office.
‘What’s up, boss?’ Dira breezed.
She smiled – Dira was at least thirty years her senior, and neither of them considered Aluen his boss. He had been a technician supporting Newnham’s sifters since the days of her predecessor’s predecessor.
She had a huge space all to herself. In its historic GCHQ days, this had been an open plan office for thirty analysts. Now, Aluen wallowed alone in the middle, and the rest of the room was pretty much bare. As with most sifters, she used a horseshoe of twelve screens, in three rows of four, half wrapped around herself on a big semi circular desk. They masked her view of the computer terminals piled up behind, which operated the screens, and she used only one keyboard for all of it. She also had a gestures input gizmo, which meant she worked much of the time without needing to touch the keyboard. Voice commands worked well but, as her work involved near-constant watching and listening, Aluen preferred silent control of the systems. When she was in full flow, hands and arms waving and swinging, head bobbing up and down and turning left and right, Dira regularly thought she looked like a seated dancer.
‘The algorithms have sent me these audio feeds about a probable death in Newnham, but there’s a lot that I don’t really get. I’m hoping you can help me to corroborate it.’ She worked monitoring the public surveillance system to report potential crimes back to the village of Newnham – her home Kangaroo.
Aluen sat in an oversized office chair that could swivel and roll around easily to be able to peer at any of the screens as needed. She had chocolate hair which she always wore in a functional ponytail. As Dira approached, her dark eyebrows contrasted with the pale face. They were crumpled together in concentration, eyes flicking up and down between two screens.
‘OK, what are you looking at?’
‘Right, watch this one first.’
Aluen played a piece of video showing an average-sized man with short hair standing near the end of a boat jetty. It was the Newnham jetty location he’d watched previously – he’d guessed correctly. Dira recognised the Old Ferry Crossing pilings and boardwalk. The jetty was short but, at the time the feed was recorded, the tide was full, and the water roiled around and under it.
The audio playback screen identified the first feed as having been detected in Roy Lu’s auditory and optic nerves two days previously. Aluen and Dira could see the events on the jetty unfold precisely as Lu had observed them through his own eyes and ears. He saw the jetty man bend and then stand up straight. The wind gusted strongly, and the man on the jetty was blown off into the water. Mr Lu ran out on to the jetty himself but could not see the man in the water at all. The wind was still gusting powerfully, and Mr Lu backed carefully along the centre of the wooden walkway, so as not to suffer the same fate. He was shouting and calling the whole time. He clearly did not know the unfortunate drowned man as he only called in generic terms, never using a name.
‘Looks like an accident, I don’t think you’d need to report that in the KangaReview. It’s a sad incident, but there’s nothing for the Kangaroo to rule on in terms of criminal actions.’
Aluen continued scrutinising a different screen on which playback was paused. She spoke without turning from the still image. ‘Right, yeah. So, now look at this one.’
She pointed away from the paused screen to another one above the first video feed. The same story played out, except this time from the point of view of a different witness, a man called Anton Belling. The only real difference was that Mr Belling stayed put in his fishing spot on the bank adjacent to the jetty. He saw the unidentified man fall in the water, stood up to see better, and then watched Roy Lu race onto the slippery wooden planks to aid the one who had fallen in. Mr Belling clearly knew Mr Lu, as he called for him to be careful, using the name ‘Roy’.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Killing The Girl #KillingTheGirl – Elizabeth Hill @wickedwriteruk

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Killing The Girl’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Elizabeth published ‘Killing The Girl’ in April 2019, which has won the ‘Chill With A Book’ Premier Readers Award and Book Of The Month for October 2020. She is now busy working on her second novel, Killing The Shadowman.
We all love a great murder mystery and ‘Killing The Girl’ explores the reasons why an ordinary woman kills. What pushes her to her limit of endurance and sanity? And could that woman be you?
Elizabeth is a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors, The Bristol Fiction Writers Group and Noir At The Bar, Bath. She was a speaker at the 2019 Bristol Festival of Literature.

Website
Twitter 

Synopsis :

• Publisher : Independently published (27 April 2019)
• Language : English
• Paperback : 310 pages
• ISBN-10 : 1093123737
• ISBN-13 : 978-1093123739

A perfect life, a perfect love – and a perfect murder.
For over forty years Carol Cage has been living as a recluse in her mansion, Oaktree House. Fear is her constant companion. She’s been keeping a secret – and it’s about to be unearthed.
When she receives a compulsory purchase order for her home, she knows that everyone is going to find out what she did to survive her darkest weeks in 1970. She writes her confession so that we can understand what happened because she wasn’t the only one living a lie. The events that turned her fairy-tale life into a living hell were not all they seemed.
She’s determined not to pay for the mistakes of others; if she has to suffer, then they will too.
Carol Cage has a terrible secret … and she’s about to exact retribution on everyone who’d let her suffer.

Amazon

Excerpt :

Part 1
Prologue

Perry Cutler and I buried Frankie Dewberry in the orchard. He lies close to the garden wall, under the shade of the apple trees. Over the last forty-odd years, I’ve spent many hours sitting on the wooden bench we placed next to his grave. It’s a peaceful spot near the boundary wall running to the south-west of my estate. Sitting near him comforts me. I tell Frankie how restricted my life has been since his death. I tell him how sorry I am that our daughter, Francine, died so young. Although I loved him, I never tell him I’m sorry he’s dead.
Outside my study window, the trees and bushes sway stiffly in the winter breeze; their shifting branches stripped bare in the cold air. January is my least favourite month, with its grey, joyless days and cruelty towards my garden.
On my desk, my notebook lies waiting for my reluctant attention. The sick feeling I’ve had this last month stirs as I touch it. It lists the many tasks I have to complete; inventories to write and documents to sign. Chilly air surrounds me as Frankie’s spirit enters the room. Shivering in his ghostly presence, I reread the newspaper article. My house is to be demolished to make way for a ring road. They will find Frankie’s resting place when they cut into the soil protecting my lover, my darling man. Police will ask questions. Strangers, who know nothing about me or my pain, will look at me in disgust.
After they have finished with his skeleton, we can arrange his funeral so they can lay him to rest in consecrated ground. We will say prayers and sanction his long-awaited trip to heaven, although when I killed him, I was sure that he went straight to hell.

Chapter 1
Now – January

There’s not been a schedule requiring my strict adherence since the birth of Francine and motherhood duties. Now the number of things that must be done to enable me to leave my home overwhelms me. Doing nothing is preferable. No one will die if I stay in bed and read; inactivity tempers the crushing sensation that my life is out of my control. But dread edges closer, carrying with it the knowledge that I have to act, do, process, move. Those verbs build into a crescendo, threatening to stifle me. I pull the sheets over my head and, to distract myself, ponder that I hate verbs. But now my feet itch with frustration at my inability to step up to the tasks required to secure my future, and I should get out of bed to calm them.
I’m moving into Perry’s house until a new replica of my home, Oaktree House, is built using many of the bricks, tiles, fixtures and fittings of the original. We will be kind to the environment as we churn up the green belt and replace it with tarmac. We will build my new home on the other side of Perry’s farmhouse, in one of my fields. There will be a house, a copse and an orchard in the new setting. It will be exactly the same. But Frankie will not be resting close by. I will miss him. It will be the first time we have been apart in over forty years.
They leave my post in a letterbox next to the locked gate at the end of the lane adjoining the main road. This is where the new road will carve through my land as it progresses along its destructive route. Leaving my home once a day to collect it is a must, as failure to collect it will cause alarm to the post-person, who may call the police. A police presence upon the land concealing my dead boyfriend is not conducive to a quiet life. That thought spurs me on as I shower, dress and eat breakfast.
Wearing my heavy coat and wellington boots, I hesitate on the threshold. One day, I chide myself, I will leave the confines of my home without giving it a second thought. Gathering my nerves, I step out as though into the unknown, instead of into an area secured by walls and locked gates. The twelve-bore and air rifle sit in the hallway cupboard, and on days when I need extra support, I rest one of them over my arm. Why an empty gun that I’ve no intention of using calms me defies explanation; I suppose the weight comforts, and the menace any trespasser might imagine when confronted, boosts my confidence. There’s no intention to kill anyone else. I’m not a killer. I’m someone who makes bad choices.
In front of me, in a circle of grass, is a magnificent oak tree. It has a twin growing behind the house, in Dawnview Wood, on the path leading down the hillside to the rabbit warren of council streets below. That other tree has distressing memories surrounding each branch and leaf. Guilt and damnation ooze from its core like poison gas. That tree will remain untouched by the coming destruction–an act of God, or whoever decides I need reminding of the frailty of human nature. It will remain to symbolise what happens when you mistakenly place faith and trust in the wrong person. My new house will be further away from it, so that is some consolation.
My driveway is large and circles the tree. Making my way across it, I try not to think about a time when all this will be gone, but to, as one of my counsellors puts it, ‘live in the moment as it is now, not the future, nor the past’. Nevertheless, I cannot shut out the imagined noise of future traffic screeching along. Or the disturbance to nesting birds and scurrying voles, field mice, foxes and arguing magpies as they live, die, and kill, unaware that their time is running out. There’s a wish on my breath for strength as I suck the atmosphere in and commit it to memory. More sadness to add to the depressiveness of life. Reaching the lane, I hang on to a fence post and breathe and count and breathe and count.
The lane runs through a wooded area that conceals my house from the road. No one can come along here, as the gate by the road is padlocked, except Perry. Perry has keys to every lock on my estate and in my home. Not that he would enter my home, but he has them anyway. He will only venture into the orangery adjoining the kitchen. There’s a reason he won’t. I shall explain in my confession.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Alter Ego #AlterEgo – K A Masson @kamasson_writer

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Alter Ego BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Alter Ego’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

S90B6583-for book sqI live in London with my teenage son and our black cat Slinky, and have worked in graphic design for over 20 years, bringing to life the words of others. I began writing Alter Ego almost by accident. I emailed Faber Academy on a day when someone had just pulled out of their ‘Start Your Novel In A Week’ course. Without that stroke of luck, I may never have got further than the first few chapters.
I’ve always loved books with a psychological element; My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and the Dublin Murders series by Tana French are among my favourite books. I’m fascinated by the crazy things that normal people do, when pushed by anger, fear, jealousy, and hate.
I’m an avid runner, and love cinema, photography and art. I couldn’t live without coffee and I’m a decent meringue baker.
You can find out more about me at my website.

Synopsis :

Alter Ego-cover (1500x2327)-7.09.20Pounding on the door. My seven-year-old son shaking me awake. My head fuzzy with sleeping pills. The hallway flashing with blue light. This morning my life will change forever.
Alex Kendrew is juggling single parenthood, work and dating; with a wild, impetuous streak that’s hard to keep in check, she struggles to find a balance and feels perpetually guilty for the choices she makes.
In K.A. Masson’s domestic noir thriller, Alex begins a passionate affair when an old flame gets in touch. But one morning, the police arrest her for his attempted murder. Someone is framing her; can she prove her innocence as the evidence mounts against her?
Start reading Alter Ego today – a fascinating portrayal of a woman caught between her desires and responsibilities.

Amazon

Excerpt :

Extract from chapter one

Hi, I’m grabbing five minutes between meetings to send you a quick message! Love your profile – I’m a fellow Scot – I was born in Glasgow but no longer have the accent, unfortunately! Anything more you’d like to know about me, please feel free to drop me a line. Mal.
Three days after unhiding my dating profile, I was already beginning to feel the onset of online dating fatigue – man shopping should be as fun as it sounds. But the kid-in-a-sweetshop appeal of trawling through profile after profile quickly subsides when you begin to suspect the photographs are ten years old, before the men have lost their hair and gained a beer belly. And they start their ‘bit about me’ with ‘Hello, thanks for stopping by. I consider myself a gentleman with integrity, am genuine, caring and thoughtful. I’ve been told I’m good looking, charming, well-mannered, interesting, interested and engaging, fun loving with a good sense of humour.’
Anyone who feels the need to mention they possess a sense of humour clearly doesn’t. What stops me throwing the towel in completely is the prospect of being single for the next forty years, gradually drying out and becoming increasingly wrinkled and grey and crotchety.
On the whole I could scan pages of profile photos of men that had appeared as my ‘matches’, with no danger of my heart racing. Occasionally, some square-jawed, raven-haired, dark-eyed lovely would cause it to skip a beat, providing a brief interlude from the real world. Until reading his profile where he would undoubtedly prove himself to be a narcissist, only interested in women twenty-five years younger than him, with dubious beliefs, religious and political, providing too much information about his hobbies, terrible taste in music or a lack of interest in anything that isn’t sport-related.
Sometimes all of these traits are missing, but I had grown to assume there must be some unspoken rule, that if someone is not only extremely attractive but also appears to be sane, intelligent, successful and solvent, they pretty much can pick or choose from the entire site. I had learned that, in the interests of self-preservation, they were best avoided.
The odd profile made me laugh out loud though, spraying coffee all over my keyboard, as had happened earlier that morning.
‘Recently I’ve looked around and realised I’m the last one left on the dance floor and if I’m not careful, I’m headed for an undignified single existence, probably involving silver leather jackets and some kind of white sports car.’
Sadly he fell into the above category, so I decided not to darken his inbox.
I remembered this guy though. He’d ‘liked’ me a few days ago, and had looked at my profile a few times. He sounded just my type, mainly because he said he was obsessed with music – he’d listed a few bands that would get into my top ten too. His profile stated Brixton as his location which was handy; I lived not too far away. He had a line about wanting to meet someone who’d like to go to gigs with him so that he no longer look like a record company executive; on his own, in a suit and twenty years older than the rest of the crowd. His photos were a little uninspiring though; his main one a selfie taken on a train – no one is going to look their best under the harsh strip lighting of public transport. But there was one – he was in profile, sitting on a bench with a lake behind him, wearing a really good suit, tanned, expensive sunglasses, hair coiffured with just the right amount of care and product. And, I noted with delight, a slight chin cleft. A true sign of a flirt, they say. Ned, then four-years-old, had one and he was already in training.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Holes in the Veil – Beth Overmyer @Bethyo @FlameTreePress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Holes in The Veil BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Holes in the Veil’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Bethe Overmyer Author PicBeth Overmyer has authored several books—In a Pickle, a middle grade novella, and Circus in a Shot Glass, a women’s fiction novel, being among them. She’s in love with the fantasy genre, mysteries—especially when there’s tea and/or a quirky sleuth involved—, and wouldn’t say no to reading and writing in every genre but hardcore horror and erotica. Influencers to her writing include J.R.R. Tolkien and Brandon Sanderson, though Douglas Adams may be lurking in there somewhere.
Love of writing and reading has led to her leading a creative writing group at her local public library, where she once was a pupil. But she doesn’t see herself as a teacher: she’s more of a facilitator and encourager when needed. Every other week during the school year, they meet and perform various writing exercises, which each individual’s encouraged to then share.
When she’s not writing, reading, editing, drinking tea, or facilitating creative writing meetings, Beth enjoys hanging out with her writing pals for fellowship, brainstorming, and great company. You can visit Beth’s website at http://bethovermyer.com.

Synopsis :

Holes in the Veil coverHaving killed his lifelong enemy, Aidan Ingledark finds himself in possession of a map to the Questing Goblet, one of the Goblets Immortal that gives the drinker luck beyond measure. Meraude seeks this Goblet to wipe out magic-kind. Aidan and his traveling companion are determined to find it first but they must battle through illusion and doubt.
Jinn’s a Sightful seeking the Summoner. She wants to kill her mother, but her foresight ends in darkness. Can she enlist Aidan’s help and change her fate?
The threat of Meraude and her dominion are imminent in this sequel to The Goblets Immortal.

Amazon

Excerpt :

PROLOGUE

Meraude

Rage was today’s companion.
The Circle had been extinct for nigh thirty years, yet the mage queen found herself looking over her shoulder, wondering when the awful men, the Elders, would come for her. Perhaps it was insanity that drove her to take the measures she had in order to prevent the impossible or the inevitable, or perhaps it was genius. Armed women flanked her night and day, and they were paid well to do so. These sisters-at-arms were rotated six times a day, and spies, women spies, brought whispers of schemes and plans, which were immediately and mercilessly dealt with.
All doors bore six locks and six bolts, and the keys were kept by one trusted adviser and the mage queen herself. Every lock, every bolt, every window was checked six times a day by six sets of six trusted women, who were rotated. No one, however, was allowed inside the mage queen’s chambers – not to clean, not to bring food or counsel or whatever might be required. The mage queen alone held the keys, three of which she wore around her neck on a silver chain. The keys were heavy and cumbersome inside her blouse and jerkin, perhaps, but she hid the bulk with her mane of black hair, which her adviser had begun to suggest she might wish to cut, for security reasons.
The two children were moving south, out of her sight but not out of her mind. Pawns on a board, that’s what they were. They would find the Summoner, free him from the nymphs, and send him on his way. Or they could betray me, she thought, her hands shaking inside her sleeves. So much could go wrong. The children could betray her, the Summoner could be smarter than she had anticipated and take the Questing Goblet for himself, and Lord Dewhurst might decide to work for himself as well. She would kill the four of them when they had played their part in her plan. But how long must she wait?
She soaked a slice of bread in her lentil soup, watching as the firm loaf became soggy and red. Her cupbearer had tested the food in her presence moments before, but the girl had been acting strangely as of late. Perhaps she has been corrupted. The mage queen would have her questioned and executed later. The thought of one of her sisters-at-arms betraying her caused the mage to lose focus and break the bowl into shards in her lily-white hands. She cursed and sent the remains scattering across the floor. Her lovely linen trousers were ruined.
Calm yourself, she thought, before taking a few deep gulps of air. If she did not maintain control of her emotions, the Circle would win. It seemed as though they had been winning a lot lately. Men had been sighted outside of the breeding grounds, naked yet armed. They had been swiftly dealt with by the sisters and volunteer mothers.
The mage queen moved to the window and recited the only words that could comfort her inner turmoil: “They all will burn.” Again she said it, her promise. “Every last one.”

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Yearn To Fear #YearnToFear #TheLamarrSeries – Chas Murrell @MurrellChas

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

FINAL Yearn To Fear BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Yearn To Fear’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Chas Murell Author PicChas Murrell has been a Police Officer, Senior Fire Commander, Customs Coastwatch surveillance mission co-ordinator, heavy machinery mechanic, emergency medical technician/ instructor, film extra, and General Manager of an event company. He has published academic papers on liquid hydrogen and held a worldwide provisional patent for a nonlinear mathematical calculation. He survived Australia’s largest gas BLEVE in 1987, and has provided operational support to some of Australia’s largest natural disasters in North Queensland.
On a personal level he has suffered from relentless and debilitating migraines all his life, is father to four and pop to two. He and his artistically entrepreneurial wife live in Tasmania, which looks very much like Scotland and they wouldn’t have it any other way. A direct descendant of Robert the Bruce (King of Scots), history runs deep in Chas’s veins, along with a profound knowledge of both World Wars. You may even come across him online playing World of Tanks.
In his Australian spy thriller books you will get to know Chas’s knowledge of technology, intrigue, crime, espionage, weaponry, banter, romance and even whisky… yet above all, there is believability and no loose ends.

Twitter

Synopsis :

• Publisher : Chas Murrell (13 Nov. 2020)
• Language : English
• Paperback : 352 pages
• ISBN-10 : 0645006203
• ISBN-13 : 978-0645006209

Yearn To Fear Front CoverThe greatest scientific invention of modern times…
Capable of curing humanity…
But more adept at controlling it…
Sydney scientist, Marcus Hall, is developing a radical 5G Wi-Fi receiver for CSIRO. With access to secretive Lamarr computer chips – this technology promises billions to repair Australia’s ravaged economy. On a caffeine boosted whim, he inadvertently discovers a therapeutic breakthrough in neuroscience. Or so he thinks…
His seemingly trustworthy lab partner, Henry, is an unlikely Australian spy. His official duty is keeping tabs on the project and their Lamarr chips. But the whole project is now classified top-secret.
Marcus remains blissfully unaware of the many secrets surrounding him, until he witnesses the graphic murder of a colleague. Could this event reveal Henry as a master deceiver and ruthless double agent? Will the scientific discovery be fatal for Marcus, those he loves, and the one he yearns for? Marcus faces a soul tearing dilemma: is the only means of stopping the carnage to weaponise his prototype?
Foreign intelligence agencies realise the top-secret breakthrough is priceless. One particular spy leads the race to seize the invention. A psychological master of the long game, espionage, and extortion, his only rule according to Kung Fu: Win.
Friend and foe alike confront this psychotic mastermind. All will FEAR him, but is their FEAR real? Only the next six minutes will tell…

Amazon

Excerpt :

Prologue

Leaning forward to push the big red button marked ALERT, his six-foot frame confidently squashed the accelerator underfoot. Senior Sergeant Les Coldman sported a reli‐
able and trustworthy face, rugged yet forgettable. With an intellect sharp as a razor and dark wit to match, he was well suited to his law enforcement career, “TAC 4 copies all, responding Code 1,” he replied to the dispatcher. Red and blue strobe lights flashed their warnings off the marked police sedan, and everything else they passed. The Ford answered the demand for speed, leaping forward to respond to the urgent call for help. Diverted from interservice training at the gun range, they would now be first response to an armed siege of a man with a shotgun.
Les spoke louder than usual over the yelp of the siren as they transited a red light. “Sorry, I should have asked if you were OK with this first, Henry,” he said to his plain-clothed passenger, as a half-statement, half-question.
“I’m all good”, said Henry confidently. Following with a less bold tone he added, “Pity back-up is so far away though.”
Pleased Henry was taking this in his stride, Les added, “Well, having spent the last couple of days at the range with you, at least I know you can shoot reasonably straight.”
Henry smiled as he patted the .25 Walther TPH pistol in his exposed shoulder holster and retorted, “Damn straight, any paper target who crosses my path today won’t make it out alive.”
Despite Henry looking like an easy fit into the Bondi Beach Surf Club, larrikin sense of humour included, Les had been gratified with the on-range performance of his astute federal colleague. It seemed Henry had lost none of his proficiency from six months ago.
Almost as an afterthought, Les added, “You might be the first Secret Intelligence Service agent ever to shoot anyone, although I doubt you’ll do much damage with that peashooter.” He beamed with sarcasm. “Best you let me shoot them first!” Les grinned, then became serious, “Standard rules of engagement, Henry, just like we practice.”
Their high-speed journey took no time at all, not least because of the way Les drove. Henry braced his feet wide on the floor, keen to keep his body under control. In this moment, he was secretly glad he never skipped “leg day” at the gym. He couldn’t help but feel Les was spurring the car on more than necessary just because he could. Clutching the Jesus Handle above the passenger door Henry quipped, “Remind me to send Mr Dunlop a Christmas card!”
The patrol car almost slid sideways, under beautiful control, into James Street. Both men observed a small huddle of people around where they thought number 43 would be.
Les said, “I think we’ve found the welcoming committee.” He parked the car near the small group, the two men alighted quickly and finished donning their tactical gear as they walked toward the gathering.
The armed offender’s wife, still in her dressing gown and shaking despite the warm early morning sunshine, confirmed the details from the dispatcher. Her mentally unstable husband had chased her and the children out the back door of number 37, with a loaded shotgun. He’d been off his meds for a week. Her pale complexion exuded shock and yet, considering what her husband had just done, compassion too. She had no idea what he planned to do next.
Les asked a flurry of questions, ending by asking about access into the house. Each question served to etch her distress even deeper across her features. Both men felt enormous admiration for the way she tried, not quite successfully, to hold herself together.
She explained the back door had a security screen, and the front door a typical fly screen. A key hidden under the pot plant beside the rear concrete stairs was for the back door. “Please don’t hurt him, he’s just sick,” were her last imploring words to them.
Les thanked her, affirmed they were there to help, and bid her go inside with the neighbours. Both men started to walk towards the small, single-storey suburban house in question, while Les radioed a sit-rep, from his tactical vest.
Outlining his basic intervention strategy, Les affirmed, “OK, Hens, I’ll take the fly screen front door. If I need to enter in a hurry, I’ll shoulder it to gain entry. You take the back door, unlock it quiet as you can, and be ready to make entry to support me if things go south. If this guy John is a rabbit shooter like his wife says, he’ll be using number 6 shot, that puts the effective range of his shotgun out to thirty-five metres. Shooting us anywhere inside that range, I reluctantly point out, is really gonna hurt.”
Henry said, “That may be true, but I work for the government, no-one’s going to shoot me.”
Les could not help pointing out the facts of life to his impromptu partner. “Henry, I work for the government too, been shot at four times.”
“Yer, but I’m federal, you’re only state.” Henry’s blue eyes beamed as he cocked his smiling face at Les, who shook his head, not being able to stifle a chuckle. It released a bit of nervous tension for them both.
Approaching the house, Les said, “So, close quarter battle tech‐ niques, worst-case scenario double-tap like at the range. Questions?”
“None.”
Time to go, thought Les. “Then let’s move.”
They made their way to their assigned doors, using the available
cover that the hedge boundaries provided. They crouched as they walked but with weapons holstered, to seem less threatening if they were seen. They arrived within sight of their respective doors within seconds of each other. Both realised the wife’s stress levels were much higher than first thought. The fly screen door was out back, and the security screen out front, the exact opposite of the information given to them. No plan survives first contact with the enemy – Moltke.
Les surveyed the front door. Its sturdy aluminium frame with top-of-the-line triple locks was unfortunately familiar. The Tactical Response Group often trained with Crimsafe. The only thing that would break, if he shoulder-charged it, even at full speed, would be his shoulder. He concluded that no key meant no entry, and no entry meant only one option.
Not an overly impressive start, but at least the main wooden front door had been left open so he could see inside. He would negotiate with John from this position of slightly increased safety behind the mesh. Since there were no radio communications between them, he had to hope Henry would stick to the plan – stay put and be ready.
Through the millimetre-thick black stainless mesh, Les observed the agitated figure of a man holding a pump-action shotgun at a near-vertical angle in front of himself. John stood unshaven, of average height but above average weight. He swayed slightly in the middle of the lounge room, barely five metres from where Les stood. Les could not make out whether John’s finger was actually inside the trigger guard or not. The gaping barrel of the 12-gauge Winchester Defender was so close to being under John’s chin as not to matter. Les spoke to the man for almost fifteen minutes but made little headway. John was forthcoming with nothing other than fervent mumbling, that only added to the tracks of tears already running down his face.
During this time, Les took the scene in, and his tactical brain repeated the actions required to exercise his only option. Let’s hope not, he thought. His left side angled towards John in a non-threat‐ ening stance, while his left hand rested at chest height on the secu‐ rity door to facilitate fast action if required. He relaxed his right arm down his right side, close to his upper-thigh gun holster, which held his Glock 22 securely. The pungent odour of oriental lilies overplanted in the front garden, permeated the air.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds