Blog Tour: The Development by Jackie Kabler {Excerpt}

Hello, today I have an excerpt for you for the novel The Development by Jackie Kabler.

Blurb…

After a stressful week, TV reporter Cora Baxter is ready for a quiet weekend. But what she hadn’t counted on was witnessing the shocking death of a young woman on her way home. She discovers seventeen-year-old Leanne had been protesting against a new housing development, angering the powerful establishment. Leanne’s death is ruled a suicide, but when puzzling information comes to light, Cora decides to investigate further.

She doesn’t know what an unscrupulous businessman, a suspended police officer and hate-mail sending neighbours have to do with the case – but she knows there is a news story there.

With her eccentric camera crew on hand to help, can Cora tie the strands of Leanne’s case together – or will other forces interfere?

The Development is the third in the Cora Baxter Mysteries series.

Excerpt

At the start of the book, TV reporter Cora Baxter had a run-in with a particularly unpleasant police officer who was subsequently suspended from duty. And now DCI Gordon Gregory seems to have a strange interest in the death of a young woman, even attending her funeral…but why?

It was raining softly as Leanne Brimley’s coffin was lowered slowly into the grave, the light, steady kind of rain which appears innocuous at first but then seems to make you far, far wetter and colder than the pounding, driving kind ever does, seeping into your pores and chilling your very bones. A leaden sky glowered at the few dozen mourners who’d gathered at South Bristol Cemetery, the scattering of school friends – released from lessons early for the occasion on this Thursday afternoon – neighbours and relatives standing now with lowered heads as the vicar said his final prayers in a low monotone. Detective Constable James Jordan and Detective Chief Inspector Gordon Gregory stood at a respectful distance, watching as the committal service came to a close and the dead girl’s mother and brother, so like her with their red hair and pale skin, were led away, the mother sobbing quietly, the boy’s face tight and white despite the thick covering of freckles. As the graveyard emptied, Gregory turned to Jordan.

‘Thanks for coming, mate. I needed to see that. Things are shit at the moment – that little bitch being put in the ground has been the one bright spot in the past couple of weeks. Sorry if that sounds nasty, but it’s true.’

Jordan flinched a little, but nodded. ‘No problem, boss. I’m not on shift today anyway, so it was something to do. Fancy a pint, on the way home?’

Gregory smiled. ‘Definitely. I want to talk to you anyway. Something I need to tell you. Just give me a minute. I’ll meet you by the gate.’

He stood still for a moment as Jordan headed off across the muddy grass, then walked slowly to the graveside, where a cemetery worker was laying the last of the floral tributes on the mound of soil that now covered Leanne Brimley’s coffin. The man touched his forehead deferentially and moved away as Gregory approached, and the DCI gave him a nod, then stood in silence for a full minute, staring at the freshly piled earth. What a relief, he thought. What a bloody great relief. And when he finally turned away and went to join James Jordan, he was smiling.

You can get your copy from Amazon UK.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

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Blog Tour: And A Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills {Excerpt}

Today I have an excerpt for the book And A Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills hosted by Neverland Book Tours. 

Blurb…

Daisy Jones has hit rock bottom. Or so she believes.

A cheating boyfriend, trouble at work, having to move back in with her mother, and being forced to compare her brother’s loved-up, newly-wed status and brand-new shiny house with her own dire lack of prospects, isn’t what she imagined her life was going to be like at thirty. To top it all off, Christmas is just around the corner!

Daisy, bless her, thinks things can’t possibly get any worse, but when her ancient great-grandmother persuades her to plant a silver sixpence in the Christmas pud for luck, Daisy is about to discover that they most definitely can.
Excerpt…

They were supposed to be saving up for a place of their own (owned jointly that is, and not just by Freddie as was the case at the moment), something a little more substantial and not in the middle of hundreds of similar houses. So Freddie kept a close eye on expenditure, though he happily treated himself to the occasional Ralph Lauren sweater, and Daisy never uttered a word. She didn’t feel she could, not when he earned more than double the wage she brought home.

Taking her glass of wine with her, she grabbed the “me” bags and trundled up the stairs, with the intention of stashing her ill-gotten booty in the never-used spare room, and drip-feeding them into the wardrobe, one sneaky item at a time.

But first, she wanted to change into something a little more elasticated. The waistband of her work trousers was digging uncomfortably into her stomach – the result of too many pre-Christmas parties (plus the daily mince pies Joyce brought into work and insisted on everyone eating).

She dropped her parcels on the landing by the door to the spare room, which was always kept firmly closed because there was nothing spare about that room – it was full to bursting with assorted junk, more like the “dump-it-in-and-shut-the-door-quick” room, and went into their bedroom. The state of the bed gave her a brief flash of annoyance and dismay. She’d left earlier than usual this morning, wanting to get as much done as possible before absconding for the rest of the day, leaving Freddie with the duvet pulled up to his chin and his eyes tightly shut. He hadn’t even bothered to straighten the duvet when he’d gotten out of it. And he’d left a couple of glasses on the bedside table, and- 

Hang on…

Daisy picked up one of the glasses, kicking a scatter cushion out of the way, and sniffed at the contents of the glass.

Wine?

Before breakfast?

Was her boyfriend a secret lush?

And what was that smell? The unfamiliar aftershave (if that’s what it was, and not some new cleaning product – Freddie had a habit of buying the latest item on TV guaranteed to make your home smell fresh; he was responsible for the berry and spice plug-in in the living room) mingled with an almost animal aroma. It reminded her of the way their bedroom smelled after a good session in bed. Not that they’d had a good session, or even a not-so-good session, lately. They hadn’t “done it” for a long time, if she was honest. A quick jump in the sack now and again, often over far too quickly, was all she and Freddie had managed in months.

Daisy opened the window to air the room out, then picked up the duvet from the floor and flung it on the bed.

She froze.

Those were not her shoes.

For one thing, they were far too strappy and summery (gold sandals on a wet Wednesday afternoon in Worcester? Really?) for this time of year, and for another, they were huge.

Heart hammering, Daisy placed one of her feet alongside the shoe. Maybe they were hers after all, and Freddie had taken them out of the wardrobe for some reason, though she couldn’t remember having ever bought gold shoes before.

But Daisy was a size five. These had to be a size nine at the very least.

Oh god! Everything fell into place – Freddie’s comprehensive knowledge of the contents of her wardrobe, his insistence on coming with her whenever she went clothes shopping (what man in his right mind wanted to shop for clothes with his wife or girlfriend?) and his “just so” attention to details, like what colour lipstick she had on, or how she wore her hair.

Freddie was a cross dresser. There was no other explanation.

Thanks for reading

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: The Lido Girls by Allie Burns {Excerpt}

Today I have a Excerpt from The Lido Girls by Allie Burns.

Blurb…

Escape to the inter-war years in this emotional story where opportunity can be found at the pool-side in your local lido… Perfect for fans of Pam Evans and Gill Paul 

Change is in the air…

London, 1930s: 

Natalie Flacker is tempted by the glamour of the new keep fit movement, but when she is dismissed from her prestigious job in PE she loses the life she so carefully built. Echoes of the war’s destruction still reverberate through her life, and now she is homeless, jobless and without prospects.

But connections made on a summer holiday, with her best friend Delphi, create opportunities. When Natalie is offered a summer job at a lido at the seaside, she jumps at the chance. But is she up to the challenge of taking on a group of unfit women in need of her help?

Set against the backdrop of the beginnings of the pioneering keep fit movement; this is a feel-good reminder of just what’s possible when you find the courage to follow your heart.

Spend a very British summer with The Lido Girls!
Excerpt…

They followed the chattering girls through to the Grand Hall. The hairs on her arms stood tall again. The sweeping latticed glass ceiling, way above them in the heavens, was both a hothouse that at once amplified the chatter of two and a half thousand excited women, while also bringing them closer to the serenity of the clouds above on this grey April day.

She threaded an arm through Delphi’s and they smiled at one another, sharing the thrill of the moment, the tingle in the air.

A troop of women brushed past them as they marched up and down behind banners from their home towns or counties; first Portsmouth went by, then Yorkshire was followed by a rowdy group from Yeovil. On either side of the central concourse – the same dimensions as a swimming pool, though broader and longer than anything she’d ever seen – were steep-sided seats for the spectators: the children, sisters, brothers and husbands of the women demonstrating today.

‘I want to be near the front,’ Delphi said, ‘as close to Prunella as possible.’

Natalie held back, noticing the flashbulbs coming from the front. Prunella had been the main topic of many of Delphi’s letters, but they had to be practical and not get too close. They’d both told lies so they could be there today. It would do neither of them any good to find themselves pictured in the press, nor would it help Delphi’s career prospects if she had a sleeping fit right at the foot of the stage.

Delphi gave up on pushing through when an instruction came for them to sit down. They noisily lowered to the cool concrete floor and sat cross-legged. Delphi and Natalie squeezed into a row in the midst of a group of Scots wearing tartan ribbons on their shoulders, about half a dozen lines from the very front. They had an excellent view of the stage and the three-piece jazz band, but were safe from the photographers, and hidden from view should Delphi take a turn.

Natalie lifted her head and looked all the way behind her at the rows and rows of ladies, all in matching white shirts and black shorts. All with their hair set in waves.

For all their uniformity, the women inside the outfits were much more of a mixture than she’d expected. At her college there was a definite sort of girl who thrived there – she’d been one herself – usually wealthy, or as in her case, with a father in a respectable profession.

These ladies weren’t of one sort at all. Some were their age – surplus women as the press liked to label them, women like she and Delphi, in their thirties, still single and not much hope of that ever changing. The loss of so many men in the war had seen to that. Not that she’d ever give up the hope of finding a husband. Others around them wore more lines about the eyes, and had rounder hips. War widows, no doubt.

All of them, whatever their age or circumstance, had come more out of the need for company than exercise and so for that reason she should fit right in, but still she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was wrong to have come.

You can  purchase a copy of The Lido Girls here.

Thanks for reading and thank you to Jenny at Neverland Book Tours for putting together another fab tour.

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: Across Great Divides by Monique Roy {Excerpt}

Across Great Divides Schedule Graphic(1).png

Today I have an excerpt for you from the book Across Great Divides by Monique Roy.

Blerb…

Across Great Divides is a timeless, World War II story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit. When Hitler comes to power in 1933, one Jewish family refuses to be destroyed and defies the Nazis only to come up against another struggle—confronting Apartheid in South Africa.


As Jews, life becomes increasingly difficult for identical twin sisters Eva and Inge under the oppressive and anti-Semitic laws of Nazi Germany. After witnessing the horrors of Kristallnacht, they flee their beloved homeland, finally finding a new home for themselves in the beautiful country of South Africa; however, just as things begin to feel safe, their new home becomes caught up in its own battles of bigotry and hate under the National Party’s demand for apartheid. Will Eva and Inge ever be allowed to live in peace? Across Great Divides is a tale of one family’s struggle to survive in a world tainted with hate, and the power of love that held them all together.

Excerpt…

Situated in the city bowl of Cape Town, at the foot of Table Mountain, and within sight of the docks, District Six was an inner-city, lively community made up of former slaves, artisans, merchants, priests, fisherman, teachers, midwives, and other immigrants, as well as Muslims brought to South Africa by the Dutch East India Company during its administration of the Cape Colony. A microcosm of clogged streets, filled with butcher shops and bakeries, churches and mosques, Victorian houses, markets, and bars. While it was home to a mostly coloured community, it was also comprised a large Jewish population.

The community of people came from all over the world and different corners of South Africa, and together created a rich mix of distinctive cultures, all living in harmony. But a blighted area existed among this community. The slum was dangerous, rife with gangsters and drug abuse. This den of vices was full of immoral activities, like gambling, drinking, and prostitution, and residents were prone to social ills, poverty and alienation.

Zoe and her daughter Zola lived in the slum in a corrugated iron shack. That was all they could afford and the shacks they lived among almost touched each other. Each shack was not just made from plain sheets of metal, they were adorned with colorful rope and plastic bags, anything the residents could get their hands on to personalize their homes.

Homemade shops, barbershops and salons, and car repair shops, housed in tiny tin huts, were also vibrantly decorated. And the secrets of the community were hidden in their walls. People socialized at the busy shebeens, illegal bars run out of sterile matchbox houses, and at the spaza—small, informal shops that operated out of homes—that sold cigarettes, soft drinks, sorghum beer and milk stout, as well as necessities, like maize meal, bread and sugar.

Life was lived on the streets, but the street they lived on was not really a street. It was an unpaved, dirt road, marked by blood, sweat and tears. It breathed in the sadness and hopelessness from the heavy footsteps of the residents.

Every day Zoe thanked God they were alive. In the warm summer months, their tin shed was like an oven. In the damp, cold winters, they froze and rain water flooded into their home. They shared a dirty toilet with a few other families, and there were no showers. Instead, they washed with water from a standpipe poured into a plastic bucket.

Buying Links…

US Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Across-Great-Divides-Monique-Roy-ebook/dp/B00DQB0ON8

UK Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Across-Great-Divides-Monique-Roy-ebook/dp/B00DQB0ON8/

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/across-great-divides

ibookstore

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/across-great-divides/id668241043?mt=11

Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/across-great-divides-monique-roy/1115892591?ean=9780615832401

Thank you for reading.

The Stationery Geekette x

Book Tour: Alice by K.L Loveley {Excerpt}

Alice - Blog Tour Banner

Hey Everyone,

Today I have an excerpt for the book Alice by K.L Loveley.

Excerpt…

A home where they could build on their marriage and forge good relationships with extended family.

Indeed, the house lived up to their very expectations. That was, until the day the rain water had started to seep under the foundations of the house, seeping into the floors and rising up the walls, ruining the plaster and the floors of their beautiful home. Their hallway and downstairs cloakroom were damaged from the rising water resulting in the supporting joists and battens becoming severely damaged. Thankfully the kitchen had been spared from damage, which was a blessing. The kitchen was Alice’s pride and joy. It had cost all of her savings, which she felt was worth the expense as it made up the difference of investment she had made when they purchased the house.

This was an important issue for her in the long term as she wanted to be recognised as having equal share in the house. Between them, Robin and herself had carefully planned the design of the kitchen employing a project manager and a reliable company to install. They chose solid French oak wood, which was in a natural state with the knots of the wood visible, giving a rustic country look which was reinforced by the addition of pewter handles, an authentic range cooker and the electrical appliances integrated behind the oak panel doors. The pièce de résistance, her favourite piece of furniture, was the large dresser which stood in the dining area of the large kitchen. The dresser, with its two glass cabinets and open shelves, was where Alice displayed her prized collection of antique tureens, jugs and plates. In the illuminated glass cabinets she displayed her collection of fine crystal-ware, most of which were wedding gifts from family, and the exquisite champagne flutes herself and Robin had purchased during a memorable holiday with their friends when they visited Prague for a long weekend. Alice just adored collecting antique objects, she had a special interest in ceramics and occasionally Robin and herself would visit a local auction house and bid for something special. Robin was also interested in collectables. He particularly had an interest in clocks; with an ambition to one day own a grandfather clock. Robin already had a place marked out in the lounge he deemed suitable. They already owned a Westminster chime mantel clock that Robin had purchased from a local antiques fair which stood pride of place on an oak mantel table in the lounge. Their home was a good mix of old and new that blended together well, giving an eclectic feel to the home.

Alice entered the kitchen looking around with a deep feeling of satisfaction. She loved this room. The wintry sun shone through the kitchen window reflecting on the pine kitchen table and chairs, which had been strategically placed there to allow for the penetration of maximum light during the winter months and the bright sunshine in summer, thus giving a welcome feel to the dining area. The large bowl of fruit in the centre of the table was piled high with fresh fruit which Robin had kindly purchased on his way home from work on Friday. Robin always took on the mammoth task of the family shop, which, with six adults to provide food and drink for, was an extremely expensive shopping bill. It was one of the many bones of contention building up and festering inside Alice, eating away, waiting to erupt any day now.

She glanced at the fruit bowl, making a mental note to use some of the apples in the red cabbage dish she was planning to serve with the roast turkey and accompaniments around half past two when they would be joined by her mum and Robin’s dad. The sweet and sour red cabbage dish was one of her favourite vegetable dishes to compliment white meat and pork. Her first mother in law was of German origin and had taught her to cook some traditional German dishes. Alice herself had lived in Germany for a number of years which had been an interesting and most enjoyable experience, one which she truly appreciated, as having the opportunity to live in a different country was an experience that she felt had enhanced her life.

Sometimes Alice would reflect on her years spent in the black forest in Bavaria. She was young then and a new bride with so many hopes and inspirations. A smile forced its way into her face as she remembered her first few weeks in the village. Having a limited knowledge of the language, they ate only pork chops and potatoes for the first week as she had purchased far too many of each. The conversion to metric values was something she had needed to learn along with an improved knowledge of the language. That first bag of potatoes she had carried home from the small grocery shop had been huge and extremely heavy. The grocer must have thought she was quite insane, reflected Alice.

Even now , each Christmas, she prepared a traditional German plate full to the brim with fruit, nuts, biscuits, gingerbreads and chocolates. And she felt that some traditions should be passed on. Alice hoped the Christmas plate would remain as part of her future grandchildren’s traditional Christmas. She filled the kettle while gazing through the kitchen window, which overlooked the back garden. Alice never tired of admiring the view from this window. Throughout the changing seasons the garden mesmerised her. The resilience of nature as the first snowdrops pushed up through the hard permafrost of the land; the beauty of spring when colour burst into the garden as the many daffodils, tulips and narcissi – which she planted the first autumn after they had bought the house – nodded their heads in the early spring breeze. During the summer months the garden continued to be a blaze of colour from the array of petunia, lobelia, marigold and nasturtium which Alice lovingly planted in the borders. There was an abundance of urns and tubs scattered around the patio area, which they had laid with paving stones imported from India. In these she planted red, white and pink geraniums, reminding her of faraway Mediterranean holidays which she had shared with her family and with Robin.

Now as she earnestly looked out of the window there was a light scattering of frost and a ray of weak winter sunlight creeping through the clouds, adding a glisten to the tiny drops of water on the stone bird table that her parents had made for her fortieth birthday. She breathed a deep sigh, remembering the two other gardens the bird table had enhanced. For three years it had stood majestically in the small back garden of the house she had shared with her first husband. The house where her children were born, the little garden where they had played as children. The garden had also been home to Anne Marie’s pet rabbit Snuggles. What a good life Snuggles had, thought Alice. She was allowed to freely roam the garden from dawn to dusk, going into her cosy hutch every evening, following a simple prompt from Anne Marie. Consequently, Snuggles lived to a ripe old age. A little smile crept over Alice’s face as she remembered the mounds of rabbit mess she regularly swept from the patio area.

Following the divorce, Alice was intent on saving enough money to move up the property ladder and into a detached house, which she eventually achieved by working in her full time position in addition to working as a supply nurse to provide weekend hospital cover. The bird table went with her, providing a free lift to a perky little frog which had sat in the bowl and much to Alice’s surprise jumped out at her as the table was lifted out of the removal van. However, within a year of achieving her ambition, Alice was on the move again, this time with Robin and into their first home together. Consequently, once again the table went with her, but minus the frog that time. Her love of gardening she had inherited from her father, who kept an allotment in addition to the small garden that surrounded their family home. There was always a supply of fresh vegetables and soft fruits such as blackcurrants, strawberries and gooseberries to be shared amongst the family.

When Ann Marie was a small child she loved to spend time with her granddaddy in the allotment and as she grew up her love of the land had continued. Both Alice and her brother were keen gardeners, a very useful interest to have inherited. Looking out of the window , her attention was drawn to the garden swing, as a light breeze set it gently rocking. It was covered in debris from the conifers and would need a good clean before the summer arrived. She looked up towards the conifers, hoping to catch sight of the other robin in her life; the little bird with its proud red chest and friendly attitude. That morning, there was no sign of her favourite little bird. Perhaps she might see him later, while she drank her mid-morning coffee in the conservatory that backed onto the garden, giving tremendous views and a very useful place to store her more tender plants away from the winter frosts.

There was a time when she had hoped to have a greenhouse, but perhaps now wasn’t the time to be dreaming of such additions to the garden. Staring out of the window, Alice was lost with her thoughts, troubled by what she knew she must discuss with her husband. The sooner she did, the sooner the heavy burden of stress hopefully would begin to ease and release the tension she felt throughout her body. Her troubling thoughts were overridden by the sound of a click from the kettle, signalling the water was boiled. If only my problems would evaporate into the air like the steam from the kettle, thought Alice as she made herself a coffee. The lovely aroma as the hot water hit the granules relaxed her a little, allowing Alice to concentrate on the task in hand.

Robin preferred tea in the morning, so while the tea was brewing Alice sipped the freshly made coffee. The best drink of the day was always the very first one following a restless night’s sleep. Alice carefully carried the mugs up the stairs, each one balanced on a saucer, which always amused Robin. He said she was the only woman he knew who was so fastidious as to use a saucer with a mug. Just one of the many things which made Alice different. And Robin and Alice were certainly different from each other in many ways. Fundamentally, they had different views and opinions. Alice tended to have a positive outlook in life, always looking for the good in a person or situation. Mathew, on a number of occasions, said his mum would have made a good defence lawyer and would probably have found something good to say about the Kray twins. Robin tended to be more negative and pessimistic, and probably more realistic than his wife. Very apt with quips, Robin could also be unashamedly sarcastic which Alice found difficult to cope with at times.

While Alice enjoyed continued learning and trying new activities, Robin was content to watch the television or go to the local pub. He preferred going to working men’s clubs where he could enjoy a game of bingo and watch live entertainment. Of course, Alice joined her husband on these occasions, enjoying the entertainment herself but not the bingo or the meat raffles, which she found most amusing when the prize of a pack of sausages was won.

If this sounds like the sort of book you would enjoy you can purchase it here.

Thanks for reading.

The Stationery Geekette x