Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green #BlogTour #Extract

It’s a pleasure to bring to you today an extract from Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green (if you remember I’ve a very soft spot for the first of this series, Spring at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by the lovely Rosie Green- read review here!)

Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe Blog Tour
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What they say: Jaz Winters stuck a pin in a map and fled to the village of Sunnybrook, looking for a brand new life – and after a rocky start, it’s beginning to look as if she made the right decision. Her blossoming friendship with Ellie and Fen has seen her through some dark times, and she’s managed to land two jobs – waitress at The Little Duck Pond Café and working as a weekend tour guide at Brambleberry Manor, the country house that’s been in Fen’s family for generations.

Sure, life isn’t totally perfect. There’s the irritating know-it-all guy who keeps popping up on her manor tours, for a start. He seems determined to get under Jaz’s skin whether she likes it or not. But she supposes it’s a small price to pay for the relative peace she’s found, living in Sunnybrook.

But just as Jaz is beginning to think rosier times are on the horizon, a shock encounter looks set to shatter her fragile happiness.

Will she be forced to flee from Sunnybrook and everyone she’s grown so fond of? Or will she find the strength to stand her ground and finally face up to the nightmares of the past?

This novella is part of a trilogy:

Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café
Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café
Winter at The Little Duck Pond Café

The Extract: ‘What’s going on over there?’ I ask, suddenly spotting what looks like a TV crew and their gear ambling over the grass towards us.

The man at the head of the posse comes over and says, ‘We’re here from the local news.’

‘The TV?’ asks Fen.

The man nods. ‘We were told it’s happening at four-thirty?’

Fen looks puzzled. ‘Oh, well, it’s been happening all day, really. But Mum will be so chuffed. She’s been pestering you – er, I mean calling you about the event for ages.’

The man frowns and scratches his head. ‘It wasn’t Lady Redpath who called in with the story.’

‘Oh? Who was it, then?’

‘Lord Redpath?’

‘My dad? But he’s not even here.’

The man grins and looks away, across the parkland. ‘Er, I think he might be just arriving.’

We all look over to where he’s pointing and our mouths collectively drop open. A man on a beautiful white horse appears between the trees, stops for a moment, then starts cantering across the grass towards the lake. He’s dressed in full Georgian regalia, pale breeches, dark jacket and riding boots.

‘That’s Dad?’ breathes Fen in wonder. Then a second later: ‘Christ, that’s Dad. What on earth’s he doing?’

The man refers to his notes. ‘According to this, he’s re-enacting the scene from Pride & Prejudice where Mr Darcy gets his kit off and dives into the lake?’

‘Nooooooo!’ Fen gasps, half in disbelief, half delight. ‘But he’s the shyest man I know. He must be doing this for Mum!’

We all start laughing and cheering and walking down to the lake, as Lord Redpath jumps off his horse – with surprising agility for a sixty-plus man – and strides towards the water.

‘Mum has to see this!’ shouts Fen and she turns, ready to run back to the house.

‘I’m here. What’s all the fuss?’ asks Lady Redpath, joining us. She suddenly sees what’s happening over by the lake and her mouth drops open. ‘Will?’

‘Right, let’s get down there!’ The crew are off, not wanting to miss the main event. And after a second, we all follow, Lady R linking arms with Fen and leading the way down to the lake.

‘Will?’ Lady R calls as she gets near, and he hops on one leg and looks around, having just removed one boot. Locating his wife in the crowd, he shrugs. ‘It was the best idea I could come up with. I bloody hope this lake isn’t freezing.’

‘Go, Mr Darcy!’ shouts Fen suddenly, with all the power in her lungs, and we all turn and stare at her in amazement. She glances at Ethan, who’s standing nearby, and he gives her a huge grin and takes up her words, chanting, ‘Mis-ter Darcy! Mis-ter Darcy! Mis-ter Darcy!’ And then the whole crowd are joining in.

Pulling off his other boot, Fen’s dad stands at the edge and glances back at the TV crew as if to say, Are you ready for this because I’m not sure I am! He rips off his jacket to reveal a white, flowing-sleeved shirt underneath. Then, curling his body forward, he executes a perfect dive into the waters of the lake.

I glance at Lady R. The disbelief on her face is almost comic.

Lord R is emerging from the water, shaking himself off like a dog, and everyone is cheering.

‘He needs a towel,’ murmurs Lady R, coming to her senses. ‘I’ll get you a towel, Will!’ she shouts and starts back across the grass to the house.

Author Bio

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café, published on 18th June 2018, follows the first in the series, Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café.

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#BlogTour #BookReview Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal

Today I’m beyond excited to be part of the blog tour for the brilliant ‘Sisterly Love’ by Michelle Vernal!

Sisterly Love

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Length: 349 pages

Purchase Links

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What they say:

Nobody’s Perfect Are They?

Rebecca Loughton’s bumbled her way through her thirty-something years making a few cock-ups along the way. Of course, these wouldn’t be so obvious if it wasn’t for her golden haired, older sister Jennifer.

In a bid to escape Jennifer’s lengthy shadow and to find her happy ever after Rebecca, high-tails it out of her hometown of Christchurch to the other side of the world landing a legal secretary job in the buzzing city of Dublin. A few drinks later, all she has to show for her new life is an embarrassing one-night stand and a dollop of flirtatious banter with her boss Ciaran, who just happens to have a predatory receptionist in hot pursuit of him.

Amidst plans of preventing such a merger, Rebecca receives news that Jennifer’s picture perfect life has a big, fat crack down the middle of it in the form of a philandering husband. Summoned home to look after her sister’s children and cooking school while she works on her marriage, Rebecca finds the reality of looking after two young children along with the bizarre array of guests booked into the cooking school grim. The only bright spot on her horizon are Ciaran’s e-mails but then she meets David Seagar whom she thinks might just be the ending to her happy ever after but will he prove to be far from perfect too?

The Review

So we meet Rebecca, who’s been drafted in by her sister to look after the kids after said sister’s marriage breaks down to fly back to their home town (Rebecca moved to Ireland some time ago) in Cristchurch.  I have to start by saying all settings were excellent, in particular the finer details, her home household with it’s Addam’s family type portrait, her apartment in Dublin (me: yay-it’s set in Dublin!), or her sister’s decadent family house.

The comedy and smart remarks were totally me, the fact that there was two kids present to send everything in a spin and that her and her ‘try-to-get-out-of-anything’ friend, Melissa, was helping mind them? Just brilliant.

Now I’ll admit I had tiny issues, Rebecca wasn’t always the world’s most likeable protagonist and I’d say the book was more comedy than romance (I didn’t totally believe any of the romance to be honest), but all in all I loved this book, with it’s non stop pacing and bam, bam, bam approach to everything that happened. Any issues I found in terms of believably were miniscule and didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for a book I absolutely DEVOURED, nodding along and smiling, in just a few hours. I’ll most definitely look forward to making my way through this author’s back catalogue.

I’ll never forget when Cher Lloyd was first on the X Factor, and after one of her particularly amazing performances, Cheryl said (puts on Cheryl accent:)”You’re right up my street you are” (or something close to that anyhoo!). THAT is how I feel about this book.

Thanks so much to Rachel’s Random Resources for this book in return for an honest review and of course for allowing me to be part of the blog tour.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the author

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Hello, my name is Michelle Vernal, and by way of introduction, I’m Mum to Josh and Daniel and am married to the super supportive Paul. We live in the garden city of Christchurch, New Zealand with our three-legged, black cat called Blue. BC (before children) Paul and I lived and worked in Ireland, the experiences we had there have flavoured my books.

I’ve always written, but it was only after my first son was born that I decided to attend a creative writing course at Canterbury University. Oh the guilt dropping him at pre-school so I could learn the basics of story writing, but oh the joy of having conversation to contribute other than the price of nappies that week! The first piece I ever penned post course was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. I went on to write humorous; opinion styled pieces of my take on parenting, but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel. Six books later and a publishing deal with Harper Impulse here I am. These days I write for a North Canterbury lifestyle magazine and my latest book Sweet Home Summer has just been released by Harper Impulse.

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#BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway One Summer Weekend by Juliet Archer

Apologies to everyone I let down yesterday when I failed to post this, my blog post for the tour of One Summer Weekend by Juliet Archer.

One Summer Weekend

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Purchase from Amazon UK

What they say:  One summer weekend can change everything …

Alicia Marlowe’s life as an executive coach is well under control – until she meets her new client, Jack Smith. Jack’s reputation precedes him and Alicia knows immediately that he spells trouble. Not least because he reminds her of someone else – a man who broke her heart and made her resolve never to lower her guard again.

Taking Jack on as a client is a risk, but one that Alicia decides to take for the good of her career. As long as she keeps him in his place, she might just make it through unscathed. But Jack has other ideas – including a ‘business’ trip to the Lake District. One summer weekend with him is all it takes to put Alicia’s carefully organised world in a spin …

The Review: We meet Alicia Marlowe as she meets a new potential client for ‘Coaches for Growth,’ and she is not impressed by what she sees. I was straight in, straight away as we also met Jack Smith, whose reputation as single handedly turning around a company that was in severe difficulty preceded him. I knew I liked Jack straight off the bat, and enjoyed how they interacted with each other, even though Alicia did at times come across as being slightly over dramatic, jumping to every cliche conclusion about him not being serious, and being a womanizer. I enjoyed their time in the office, but it was after the twenty percent mark, where Jack took Alicia to the beautiful Lake District, that things really kicked off for me as they pretended to be a couple for the lovely Bill and Midge. I enjoyed the scenery and settings, although for once I wished I could have gotten even more of a feel for both, given the beauty of this cover (isn’t it gorgeous?)and the location.

The romance in this book is impeccible, turning a couple who I wasn’t sure of the chemistry of, into a partnership that I willed to work. With both struggling from past hurts, we got some drama that I really enjoyed. I flew through this book in one lovely Summer’s afternoon and it was perfect for this. Thanks so much to Rachel’s Random Resources for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

And now for the giveaway!!!

Win PB Copies of The Importance of Being Emma and Persuade Me (Open Internationally)

Giveaway – Win PB Copies of The Importance of Being Emma and Persuade Me (Open Internationally)

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To enter simply click here

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

About the author

Juliet Archer 2

Juliet Archer writes award-winning romantic comedy for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. She has been known to spend many happy hours matching irresistible heroes with their equally irresistible chocolate counterparts – watch out for the dark nutty ones!

Her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, won the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Her second novel, Persuade Me, was shortlisted for the 2011 Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read Award.

Juliet’s third book, One Summer Weekend, is out in June 2018. You can also read her short stories: Incense & Insensibility in the Choc Lit Love Match anthology, and Love Rules in Choc Lit’s Kisses & Cupcakes anthology.

Juliet was born and bred in North-East England and now lives in Hertfordshire. She gives talks all over the UK and in the USA about the classic authors who inspire her work. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Jane Austen Society. Her non-writing career has spanned IT, acquisitions analysis, copy editing, marketing and project management, providing plenty of first-hand research for her novels.

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#BlogTour #Bookreview The Distance by Zoe Folbigg

 Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the charming ‘The Distance’ by Zoe Folbigg

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What they say:  From the author of the bestselling novel,The Note, comes this beautiful, romantic tale of finding love in the most unexpected places. Under the midnight sun of Arctic Norway, Cecilie Wiig goes online and stumbles across Hector Herrera in a band fan forum. They start chatting and soon realise they might be more than kindred spirits. But there are two big problems: Hector lives 8,909km away in Mexico. And he’s about to get married.

Can Cecilie, who’s anchored to two jobs she loves in the library and a cafe full of colourful characters in the town in which she grew up, overcome the hurdles of having fallen for someone she’s never met? Will Hector escape his turbulent past and the temptations of his hectic hedonistic life and make a leap of faith to change the path he’s on?

Zoe Folbigg’s latest novel is a story of two people, living two very different lives, and whether they can cross a gulf, ocean, sea and fjord to give their love a chance.

The Review: Cecilie Wiig, who works in a library and a cafe, is a fan of Depeche Mode. As you will see above she goes online and finds Hector Herrera, who is living a very different life in Mexico, where he is being emotionally blackmailed by his girlfriend of six years, Pilar, into marrying him. The book has a timeline that skitters about, as we see both through the forum and everyday life, how Cecilie and Hector are kindred spirits, even though they are literally worlds apart. We also get another pov, that of Kate, who suspects her husband may be cheating on her. I found Kate’s story the easiest to read and looked forward to how the three stories were going to join up.

I enjoyed Hector and Cecilie’s exchanges, even though their music and other cultural and artistic tastes didn’t really resonate with my own.  I’m afraid that although I loved the Norwegian setting, I also found the Norwegian bustle a bit confusing at times. There was surprisingly one or two scenes, both set in Mexico, that I winced a little at, finding them quite tough, but in a way I suppose I could marry it with the book in setting the scene of how different Mexico was from Cecile’s cozy Norway, or Kate’s very relatable home in England. That being said I was mesmerized by tragic back stories that made my gut twist and marvelled at fantastic settings that made everything so real that I was right there. I was very much taken by the story itself, looking to see how, if they could, they would end up together. Thanks so much to Aria for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Note: See my review of ‘The Note’ here

About the author

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Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting atCosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with Train Man a man she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. She is the bestselling author of The Note.

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http://www.zoefolbigg.com/

Twitter: @zolington

Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor

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If He Wakes by Zoe Lea

ifhewakes

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: You can always trust your best friend… can’t you?

When Rachel discovers a Twitter message arranging a romantic liaison she assumes her husband is having an affair, and follows him. What she witnesses is so much worse: a hit and run using his car.

Meanwhile, Rachel’s friend and business partner Suzie is increasingly worried about her fiancé, who’s not been in touch for days. When Suzie learns of huge debts racked up in her name she fears he has run out on her, but then the threatening calls start and she thinks something terrible has happened.

Rachel and Suzie are both about to learn shocking things about the men they love, worse than they could ever imagine… Can their friendship survive?

The Review: First off yay to the fact that the blurb actually tells you what happens! We open with Rachel who has just seen her husband knocking someone down with his car AND DRIVING OFF! Actually probably more to the forefront is-what a premise! It’s one thing if you find out your husband has done something illegal on purpose, murder, an attack … but here is something that is an accident but it’s his reaction, his reflex to the accident which is key. How can the person you adore be a person who’s gut instinct isn’t to get out, help and admit culpability?

What follows,the realisation that he had reported his car missing and so it may not have actually be him threw you, as it did or protagonist, who finds everything unravelling as we wonder whether it was her husband and what he’s going to do to keep her quiet (where my mind went). This goes on as she tries to continue her business and cope with the everyday, including two children, (one of whom, I found unlikable even to the end of the book)  At the same time her partner Suzie finds out her own life is falling apart. Suzie’s story was equally gripping and I enjoyed both tales.

I won’t tell you too much because this book needs to be read as is, with no hints as to the suffocating truth, which is tough and one I couldn’t have predicted. I do feel obliged to tell you is that I read this at a time I was down, disillusioned and by no means in the mood to read or blog so the fact that this not only kept my attention but also made me want to read on and see what happened and then share is some testament. Very much recommended. Thanks so much to Canelo and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating : 4.5/5

The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

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Length: 336 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.

Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.

The Review: I had read Distress Signals (review here) and really enjoyed but I have to admit when I read the opening chapter of this I was hopping around. Because this was fully up my street, heading more into the territory of everyday psychological thriller (kinda Kathryn Crofty for anyone who read her, for those of you who are fed up of me comparing everyone to her, I’m sorry, but she’s my holy grail in psychological thrillers to date).

Our protagonist, Alison Smith, has been called back to Dublin to talk to her ex boyfriend, who is in a psychiatric hospital after admitting to the murder of female students of St John’s University, ten years ago.  With a new killer repeating history Will is saying he has information that he will only tell her. Here is a book that sends you around in circles and back again. You wonder via both Will and the detective on the scene (who actually I wouldn’t mind seeing more of) if there is any chance at all that Will could be innocent and your eyes search out every single word trying to figure out if you’re right or wrong. You also have to take into account that at the time Alison and her best friend Liz, were going through tumultuous times and we wonder why we need to know this ( I guessed why totally wrongly a number of times!!).

I loved both the detective aspect of the book-the perfection found in the expertly done ins and outs of the system (expected of course, from someone who wrote the mecca of all writing manuals, the ‘Self Printed’ spoken of here ) and also the cautionary aspects in terms of social media and student life too (a number of ‘what the frig’ moments in terms of getting information really got me). I hated/ loved following victims knowing where it was leading and wanting to help them, but being unable to (um, because it’s a book and not real life;)).

I have to admit one part that I didn’t quite need was the dark voice of the ‘baddie,’ but that’s just because in general I feel that unless they’re adding something significant to the book by showing us either an actual justification for the crime, or how they do it in a way the protagonist/ police can’t, then they’re just adding a ‘scary’ voice that isn’t necessary (this is more than likely totally me though!). The other thing was the last portion of the book which wasn’t quite for me, after the slow burn the sudden crazy drama just didn’t resonate and when I realised there was so much more to go I guessed the ending. Saying that I loved the book, the everyday, the twists, the turns, setting, marking Catherine Ryan Howard for me as a definite ‘straight onto the to be read list’ author. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

#Excerpt The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw

Today I have an excerpt from The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw, which is FREE on Amazon at the moment (have downloaded my copy and am looking forward to reading!)

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Length: 399 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is about how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, but how we can sometimes get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.
It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN, because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… or does God have a higher purpose after all?
Despite that, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is neither sci-fi nor fantasy. It is a book about memory and how, if we could remember things slightly differently, would we also be changed?

In HVN, Lorna can at first remember nothing. But as her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that, maybe, she can find a way back home.

The Excerpt: The old man was as good as his word and a tray was swiftly brought by a male nurse in white clinical overalls who looked spookily like a young James Bond. On it was a plate of grilled lamb cutlets, string beans and sautéed potatoes. There was also a warm bread roll with a knob of butter and, under a silver dome, a bowl of chocolate profiteroles with cream. In short, exactly what she would have ordered in an expensive restaurant, given the choice, and if she’d ever been able to afford to eat in one. Also on the tray was a small metal jug of white wine, which made no sense. During her coma, had it become health service policy to keep patients inebriated? And why the metal jug?<

“The boss says that you’re up and about now,” he remarked, placing the tray down and making sure it was well balanced on her knees. The jug of wine and glass he placed on her bedside table. Why wasn’t there a bunch of flowers in a vase? That’s the first thing her mother would have brought. It was the first thing she always took to friends and relatives in hospital, even the ones who suffered from hay fever.

“Who was the old man? The one who was here a minute ago?” she asked, as if there might be several old men in her wing of the hospital. “Grey hair. Beard. Beads,” she added.

The nurse merely gave a small shrug. “He’ll tell you himself the next time you meet. Anyway,” he added, making for the door, and looking uncomfortable, “if there’s anything else I can do, just ask.”

“I’d like to know how long I’ve been asleep.”

“Asleep?” The nurse raised one eyebrow.

“Yes, asleep. I mean, how long have I been here?”

He didn’t reply for a few moments, hands clasped behind his back. “Not long, as far as I know.”

“And how long is not long?” she asked. “Look, if you don’t know, could I please speak to someone who does.” Lorna, running out of patience, had raised her voice. The nurse took a step backwards towards the door.

“All in good time,” he assured her and indicated the tray. “For now, you need to eat. Get your strength back.”

“Look, I really need to know how long I’ve been here. Can I see a doctor? Actually, I shouldn’t have to bloody ask that, should I? What kind of useless hospital is this?”

The nurse, perhaps unused to being shouted at, had backed himself to the door. “Anything you need, just ask. Okay?”

Lorna wanted to scream at him. “But how?” she asked instead, looking around the blank walls for a call button. “And what did he mean by not feeding the little brutes?”

“Just ask, that’s all. Your room is sound-activated so don’t worry, I’ll hear.” He touched a blank place on the wall that somehow made the pneumatic door hiss open. “But he’s right about not feeding them,” he added as the white door closed again, leaving Lorna utterly exasperated.

About the author (couldn’t help taking this from his website because it’s such a  good bio!!!)

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Charlie Laidlaw (me) is the author of two novels, The Herbal Detective (Ringwood Publishing) and The Things We Learn When We’re Dead (Accent Press).  

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault.  That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father.  That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland (quite near Paisley, but thankfully not too close) and graduated from the University of Edinburgh.  I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist.  I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics.  I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries.  Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa.  What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember.

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then.  However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian.   And that’s about it.

 

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