Country Lovers by Fiona Walker #BlogTourExtract

Feeling very lucky to be able to share an extract from Country Lovers with you all today!

About the book

They say you should never go back, but glamorous Ronnie Percy did just that, to the home she ran away from with her lover.

But not everyone is finding it easy to forgive and forget.

Daughter Pax, fighting for custody of her small son as her own marriage disintegrates, is furious to have to spend New Year’s Eve waiting for some stranger her mother has invited to help run the family stud farm.

Even more annoyed is the staunchly loyal stud head groom, Lester. Does Ronnie think he’s lost his touch with the horses? And anyway, who is this so-called Horsemaker, Luca O’Brien? Why does he seem to be running away from something? And what is the true story of his relationship with grey stallion Beck, once destined for the Olympics, now broken and unrideable, screaming his anger from the Compton Magna stables.

Passionate, sexy, gripping, laced with her trademark wisdom and humour, this is bestselling Fiona Walker at her dazzling best.

 

country lovers cover.jpg

Extract

Utterly professional in work mode, Bridge had waited to say it into her hall mirror afterwards, but she winked now, satisfied it was God’s truth. She had a reputation to protect; her three riding friends delighted in being shocked by their Belfast black sheep. Youngest and most urban of the four, and with the shortest and hottest marriage, Bridge’s chippy streak meant she took on the plums in her fellow riders’ mouths with her pierced tongue. She considered it her duty to be the naughty kid at the back of the middle class. Historical novelist Petra, Yorkshire-born and determinedly left wing, might fancy herself the arty boho outsider, but she had a barrister husband, independently educated children and a working gun dog. Farmer’s daughter Mo – perpetually broke, always dealing with a family crisis and juggling three jobs – ate home-reared guinea fowl and hunted twice a week. And Gill, grey-haired, gung-ho equine vet, mother of three and Laura Ashley devotee, was an original Sloane Ranger, if endearingly supportive. They were all diamonds, this mounted big-sisterhood, whose kindness and honesty had seen Bridge through giddying ups and downs during her first year in the village, their endless good humour and wise counsel keeping her sane, their poshness a running joke to a dock-worker’s daughter from Ardoyne.

It riled rebel-hearted Bridge that her family now accused her of being the snob, especially sister Bernie, who claimed this was because they were born either side of midnight on the twenty-first of March, meaning she, as the older twin, was a generous, broad-minded Pisces while Bridge was a tough, ambitious Aries. ‘That’s also why you argue with everyone,’ Bernie had insisted when they’d last spoken across whatever time zone divided them, ‘it’s star-crossed.’

Bridge – who held no truck with astrology – thought she argued with everyone because she was just plain cross. There nothing starry about Bridge Mazur.

‘Sous Vide can stuff her fecking job.’ She thrust her chin up, still smarting from the rejection. She’d never dream of telling the Bags that the cook had accused her of being out of touch, finding every hole in her CV and tripping her up on her data protection know-how.

‘Good for you!’ Gill rallied.

‘She doesn’t deserve me.’ Bridge summoned a big smile to show the others she wasn’t bothered, turning to look at the pretty old limestone inn as they trotted past it. The painted hoarding boasted a grand reopening of ‘Suzy David’s The Hare at Compton’ on Burns Night. ‘Which is a pain in the arse because it’s fecking well-paid and practically next door.’

‘Utter hell to work with, I should imagine,’ Gill reassured her as they slowed back to walk at the junction. ‘They said that poor little Russian she danced with on Strictly had to go into therapy afterwards.’

‘I feel much the same after taking to the dance floor to “Come on Eileen” with my husband,’ Petra pointed out. ‘And Charlie can’t rustle up a seared plantain black rice risotto afterwards.’

‘Is it going to be all veggie food, then?’ Mo read the hoarding in alarm.

‘Vegan.’ Gill shuddered. ‘Her raw food fine-dining restaurants are all the rage: Cirencester, Cheltenham and Chippy have one. The Bardswolds are the last preserved limestone outpost south of Birmingham. Sous Vide vient ici. Allumez les feux, mes copains!’

‘Is that one of her dishes?’ Mo sniffed.

‘It’s all smoke and mirror glazes.’ Petra winked at Bridge.

country lovers pic.jpg

 

 

Thanks, as ever, to Vicky at Head of Zeus for providing me with this extract to share!  As you can see, the Blog Tour is running for another couple of weeks so you should check out some of the other blogs for more extracts and reviews!

Follow Fiona:

Twitter: @fionawalkeruk
Facebook: @fionawalkeruk

Pre-order links:

Amazon
Google Play
Kobo
iBooks
Follow Head of Zeus:

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @headofzeus
Instagram: @headofzeus

 

 

A Mistletoe Miracle by Emma Jackson #BlogTourReview

About the book

At the Everdene Hotel, snowflakes, romance and mayhem are in the air … 

A cosy hotel in a sleepy, snow-covered village should be the perfect setting for a Christmas to remember … But for Beth, returning to her childhood home after a disastrous break-up looks more like a festive fiasco.

With her mum stranded in a blizzard and most of the hotel staff off sick, Beth is forced to take the reins, impress a mystery hotel reviewer, and somehow find a way to work with Nick, the very grumpy – and  very gorgeous – pilot who is staying for the holidays.

Between mince pie emergencies, deadly decorations, and two dozen disgruntled guests, Beth might just find a miracle under the mistletoe this Christmas …

Heart-warming and hilarious, this is the perfect festive romance to curl up with this winter.   Perfect for fans of Heidi Swan and Sue Moorcroft.

a mistletoe miracle cover.jpg

My thoughts

My Christmas book obsession is getting some serious fuel this year!

To say I enjoyed this book is such an understatement.  It’s a really nicely paced, well-written romance with lots of Christmas joy and spirit thrown in for good measure.

I loved the awkwardness between our main characters, Beth and Nick.  It made the book, and their romance, all that much sweeter and brought about a sense of their relationship building over a much longer time period than it did, which I appreciated.

A Mistletoe Miracle has everything you could want in to a Christmas romance – romance, drama, a little mystery and a whole lot of magic.

Thanks so much to Emma Jackson and Orion for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I wish you the very best of luck with it, Emma and look forward to reading more of your books in the future!

a mistletoe miracle blog tour

You can follow Emma on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram
or on her website.

A Mistletoe Miracle is available to purchase on Amazon.

a mistletoe miracle extra.png

A Million Dreams by Dani Atkins #BlogTourReview

About the book 

Beth Brandon always dreamed of owning a florist, but today the bouquets of peonies and bright spring flowers are failing to calm her nerves.  Because today, Beth has a life-changing decision to share with her husband.

Izzy Vaughan thought she and her husband would stay together forever, but sometime last year, their love began to fade.  They both find such joy in their young son Noah – but is he enough to keep them together?

Eight years ago, something happened to these two women.  Something that is about to bring them together in a way no-one thought possible.

a million dreams cover.png

My thoughts 

Firstly, look at that cover. It’s so eye-catching and dreamy.  I love it.

Dani has delivered an absolutely beautiful, emotional and thoroughly enjoyable book.  I loved every page even though I had the age-old reader problem of wanting to read it during every spare minute all the while being conscious of the fact that I never wanted to be done with the story.  I was captivated.

Even though there is quite a lot going on in this book (the blurb hides all of this very well!) it doesn’t feel forced at all and the story flows really well.  It feels like something that could absolutely happen to someone in their life – but that’s all I’m going to say about that!

Read it – you won’t regret it.  You will need tissues and possibly some chocolate though!

Thanks so much to the publisher for my copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I loved every, single part of this emotional rollercoaster ride!

Please take the time to check out the rest of this blog tour, which continues right into December.

a million dreams blog collage.jpg

Follow Dani:

Twitter: @AtkinsDani
Facebook: @DaniAtkinsAuthor

Buy links:

Amazon
Kobo
iBooks
Google Play

Follow Head of Zeus:

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @headofzeus
Instagram: @headofzeus

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry #BlogTourReview

Welcome to my day on the blog tour for this beautifully written, funny and warm book!

About the book

Last winter she had a plan.

Lucy fell in love with tumbledown Rosemary Cottage as a child. So thirty years on, when she loses her city job and discovers the cottage is for sale, it feels like fate. She’ll raise her children in Burley Bridge and transform the cottage into a B&B with her husband.

But a year can change everything . . .

Now Lucy is juggling two children and a B&B, but on her own. Christmas looks set to be their last on Rosemary Lane – until she meets James, a face from her past and someone who might offer a different kind of future . . .

Should Lucy leave the cottage behind? Or could this winter on Rosemary Lane be the start of something new?

Curl up with a cosy winter read that fans of Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews will love.

snowdrops on rosemary lane

My thoughts

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane is an absolutely wonderful story.  I found myself totally captivated from the opening chapter and I stayed awake very late just to finish it in one go as I was quite reluctant to put it down!

The characters are utterly lovable and endearing.  I loved getting to know them all, which was made quite easy and pleasurable by Ellen Berry’s descriptions.

There are so many really nice touches and nods to Christmas but this book is not what I’d call over-the-top Christmassy although it is quite festive.  It’s very subtle and makes for a lovely read.

There is joy and sadness in abundance, with a very many heart-warming, uplifting moments too, all of which I was very thankful for while reading.

This book is, for me, the total emotional package and a thoroughly enjoyable, poignant read.

Thanks so much to Avon for my copy of this book in return for an honest review on this blog tour.

You can purchase a digital copy of this book here, and I’d highly recommend you give it a read!

Snowdrop-Blog-Tour-Banner.jpg

 

Kim, Leon & The Sky Path to Africa by Barnaby Allen #BlogTourExtract

Kim Leon Cover

Extract 

CHAPTER III

Kim wiped the rain from his eyes. He ran a hand through his hair. Nothing made any sense though by now. Normality had been blown away. Yet there he was. Engaged in a conversation with a donkey.

“I’m coming in Leon!” Kim opened the gate to enter the paddock. “I’m coming in.”

Although he couldn’t admit it, Kim was enthralled. He began to stride across what was now a bog. Water seeped in from the tops.

Leon turned to look once, but he was otherwise disinterested. The boots and mud were not his problem. Kim called out to him. He tried to sound cool and controlled.

“What do you mean by, umm, visit, exactly? Leon? Is it something taken from your memories? Or do you, somehow… well… visit places? Somehow go… somewhere?”

“I visit indeed, as the word implies. Geographically, to leave this field and head away to the great elsewhere. Often overseas. Why do you ask?”

Kim drew nearer. He looked around him, but no one was watching. That would have been awkward. He didn’t wish to appear odd.

“But how? How on earth? It’s not possible! You just zoom off somewhere?”

“Night flights. There’s only a few of us that can manage it these days. Night flying. At night, we can’t be seen. And we’re not missed by our owners. You’ve heard those tales about witches and broomsticks? And UFOs these days?”

Kim nodded, too amazed to speak.

“All nonsense of course. Invented by humankind as they never could credit an animal. The old bigotry, especially against my kind. ‘Stupid donkey’, ‘silly asses’ and the like! Explanations involving flying broomsticks and hags! I ask you – who’s the stupid one?”

Kim nodded with a laugh, but Leon continued.

“Little green men all intent on world conquest! Who on earth or in space would want to conquer this place? Live in the murk of our pollution? Risk death by war and disease?”

Kim nodded. He had to agree. He would have been be an ass not to.

“Of all the unfeathered animals only some donkeys can fly. Well, apart from the bats. ‘Aviated asses’, I say. It’s not grannies sweeping the sky boy! It’s us. Our ears mistaken for tall witches’ hats, and the long tails…”

“For broomsticks!” Kim interjected. “Your tails taken for old broomsticks. Narrow at the handle and spreading out with bundled long twigs at the other end!”

Kim laughed. Leon looked and smiled at him.

“Yes! You’ve got it! Pretty obvious when you know. But if you don’t… well, simple folk prefer to dwell on magic. Wizards and evil witches, spirits and the ghastly, long- dead walking about, conveniently at night mind you, when humans can’t see as well. It makes me laugh on occasion, you know; makes me really laugh”.

Kim was standing next to Leon now. He reached over to pat him. He tried to wipe away a few leaves from Leon’s mane. The heavily matted mane made the task harder. It was thick. Like bristles packed close together and standing upright. It hadn’t been trimmed for years, Kim reckoned. It had grown long enough to reach Leon’s ears. His mane, nevertheless, gave Leon an air of wise authority. It also made him look eccentric. But that suited this entire morning of discovery. Eccentric in the extreme!

Leon nodded and let the boy stroke him. Goodness was not so much about what people did for you, but in being generous enough to let them do it, even if you’d prefer they didn’t. Leon wasn’t big on being patted or stroked – he found it condescending, part of the ‘silly-old-nice donkey’ routine. He permitted it out of generosity. He spoke again:
“I could take you with me. If you wished it. Would you like that, boy?” He turned his neck to look. Kim couldn’t answer for a moment. “Well, would you? Speak!”

“Y-yes. Very much. You mean, to fly up into the sky and travel to another place? Riding on your back like…er…”

Kim was going to say something about donkey rides, but thought the better of it. Leon wouldn’t like any such comparison.

“As if I were a magic carpet, Kim. As if I were the wind itself that carried you. Yes.”

Kim nodded quickly. That sounded a lot more exotic than donkey rides at Skegness.

“I’ll see you this evening then. Go to bed first. Not to worry the parents, you see. Come back when you can walk out unseen.”

Kim nodded again. He crossed the paddock, slowly, avoiding the worst patches. He made his way back to the farmhouse. He looked back at the donkey who stood grey in the grey.
Back inside Kim took a hot shower. He dressed himself in his pyjamas and a sweater. He made his favourite sandwich, (Marmite with butter and peanut butter), and poured out a glass of milk. He then climbed up the stairs to his bedroom.

The house was an old, thatched farmhouse. It was painted in the East Anglian traditional pale pink. It had stood for some four hundred years. Its rooms and staircases had low ceilings. The house was cosy and interesting, though not too warm on a day like this.

There were window bays that peered out from under the thatch. Kim’s bedroom had one of these. The window provided a clear view of the paddock and fields. Kim chewed on his sandwich. He imagined what would shortly come to pass – to fly up over all of this, and to see the lights of Suffolk towns and then, perhaps, the sea. Kim shook off his slippers. He lay back on his bed smiling to himself. This night might be the most important night of his entire life.

Sky Path to Africa BT Poster .jpg

About the author

Barnaby Allen was born in Suva Fiji, as his father was working there for the British Crown.  he was introduced to literature by his mother, who liked to recite poetry and had a gift of telling engaging stories.  As an adult, Barnaby Allen worked in education in several countries, mostly teaching English.  He loved travel, classical music, discussions, current affairs, Pacific affairs, family, good food and board games.  Barnaby’s children also had the benefit of Barnaby telling stories to them and making the characters come alive with acting out different roles.

 

Thanks, as always to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for including me on the blog tour for this very special book!  You can catch the rest of the blog tour above!

 

 

Her Perfect Lies by Lana Newton #BlogTourReview

About the book

When Claire Wright wakes in hospital, she doesn’t recognise the person staring back at her in the mirror.  She’s told that she has the perfect life:  she’s beautiful, famous, with a husband and a house to die for.

But Claire can’t remember anything from before the devastating car crash that’s left her injured.  And now she’s surrounded by strangers, saying they’re her family and friends.

As Claire discovers the person she used to be she must also unravel the mystery that surrounds the accident.  But the more Claire uncovers, the more she will be forced to face up to the dark secrets from her life before.

cover174787-medium

My thoughts 

I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose all of my memories.  Can you?

I think that’s why this storyline caught me on its hook very quickly.  It kept my intrigue levels peaked for the whole read.  It is a book packed full of tension and suspense.

In her efforts to rediscover the people in her life, and to battle her sudden memory loss, Claire Wright bumps into some things that she may have been better off never rediscovering.  Is that a chance you’d take?  After reading this book, I’m not sure!

I was gripped all the way to the finish line and the author has created a really thrilling plot that left me with chills and lots of questions of my own.

Anticipation levels whilst reading = HUGE!

I enjoyed Lana’s writing style so much.  It flowed very easily and is incredibly descriptive in parts.

Thank you so much to Jess at Harper Collins for including me on this blog tour and for the copy of this book, which was given in return for an honest review.

Her-Perfect-Lies_BTB.jpg

 

 

Look At Me Now – Simone Goodman #BlogTourExtract

With thanks to Boldwood Books, I’m thrilled to be bringing you this fun extract from Look at me Now by Simone Goodman.  Hope you enjoy it!

Extract

Chapter 1

‘Oops!’ Rushing into the television station where I work, escaping the demonic gale that’s sweeping across London this morning, I slide delicately across the wet tiles inside the entrance.

I say delicately.  But it’s more hope that I look like an accomplished ice skater as I clunsily regain my balance.  Being a healthy size 14 – I don’t consider myself fat, I’m just not reed thin – there’s a risk I’ve come off more like a comedian on a banana skin.  Thankfully, no one other than Mitzi, our receptionist, is here to hold me accountable.

‘Golly, Gracie, are you okay?’ Mitzi calls from across the foyer, where she’s sitting behind the front desk, most likely reading a script.

‘I’m okay, Mitzi.’ By all accounts, my near miss looked distinctly less than elegant.  Laughing, I steady myself on the death-tiles. It could have been worse. I could have toppled right over my own feet.

It’s only a short few hundred metres dash from Oxford Circus Tube station to my workplace, our studios located in a narrow but deceptively cavernous Georgian building on Soho Square. My umbrella blowing inside-out against the pelting rain and wind this morning, I covered the distance as quickly as possible. My dash best described as a nippy jog, it’s the most exercise I’ve done in months. It’s early January, the time for New Year resolutions. Possibly, it wouldn’t be the worst idea for me to consider joining a gym?

‘I’ve been warning someone will break their bones on those tiles,’ Mitzi says.

‘We could do with a non-slip mat here,’ I agree.

‘We could do with a lot of things around here,’ Mitzi sighs.

She reminds me of Daisy Lowe, the model. Dark hair. Doe eyes. Cherry-red lips. Though her role is to welcome visitors, Mitzi looks the part for television. Like many people who work here, she yearns to be in front of the camera.

I have my own show. But it troubles me, more and more lately, that I don’t look like I belong. This isn’t to say I don’t have my finer points. Pragmatically speaking, we all do. What can I tell you? My eyes are sometimes so blue as to appear violet. Almond-shaped, they’re generously framed with oodles of long, thick lashes. My dark locks cascade to below my shoulders and, at thirty-three years of age, I’ve not got a single grey hair on my head. My complexion is creamy, free of lines and, generally, spots. But before you picture me as some uber-glamourous cross between a young Elizabeth Taylor and a brunette Katy Perry, bear in mind I’m the more robustly packaged (sometimes size 14 plus) version. Some days, I fear I’m veering more into the territory of a Dawn French and Melissa McCarthy lovechild – without their comedy vehicles for kicks. But surely no one likes a thin chef?

I host my own daily cookery show, Gracie Porter’s Gourmet Get-Together.  The title is a bit of a misnomer. It’s impossible to prepare gourmet meals, haute cuisine of several aesthetically balanced and rich courses of food, within a short thirty minutes allotment of air time. Notwithstanding that with preparation of the set, the ingredients and me, it takes almost a full day to pre-record every show that then airs across the whole of England, Scotland and Wales at 10.30 a.m. the following week. Also, there isn’t much ‘getting together’ with my format. I like to think I’m always engaging with my audience as they tune in to connect with me from the comforts of their own homes, but the original concept had me hosting the occasional special guest: other chefs, celebrities and perhaps the more interesting politician. With none of us, including my producer, Robin, moving in celebrity circles, with Westminster MPs otherwise occupied with their scandals, solicitations and squabbling and me reasoning that any chef who wants to be on television would surely want their own show, we failed to deliver. When no one pushed us, we let it slide. We don’t even have a live audience. It’s pretty much me and the crew who chow down after a recording finishes. On this basis, my cookery show has aired daily for almost a year and a half.

Previously, I worked as a normal chef. I prepared mouth-watering meals in lovely places where people came to eat. When it comes to food, I’m a consummate professional. As far as television goes, I’m still cutting my teeth.

From the beginning, both investment and expectation of our little cookery show has been low. Being at the bottom end of a long list of hot shows and hotter stars left me below the radar – and this has suited me fine. Things changed late last year after Titan Media, the US entertainment giant, acquired a large chunk of our relatively tiny UK operations. This afternoon, at 3 p.m., I have a meeting with the American executives who now run things to discuss my ‘future services to the company’. It hasn’t escaped me that not everyone summoned to such meetings returned from their New Year breaks. People have been literally disappearing from the studios in droves. And I know my ratings aren’t the best.

I don’t disagree with Mitzi that things around here could be better. However, today is a day for putting the best, most confident and upbeat version of me forward.

‘I’m sure things will settle down and everything will be fine again soon,’ I assure her. I put my wet umbrella inside a cotton shopping bag.

Behind me, the front doors burst open. I turn to look. Shadowing the doorway, wearing her long, spectral black-hooded cape, stands Zelda the Magnificent, our resident daytime television psychic.

‘Gracie,’ Zelda declares on seeing me. ‘Dahling.’ Her voice is deep and melodic. Her accent is old Budapest enchantment. She’s like a darker, earthier Zsa Zsa Gabor. ‘Please, stop for Zelda,’ she implores in her dulcet tones. ‘I have, for you, a vision.’

look at me now cover

You’ll find Simone on Twitter , Instagram and on the Boldwood Books website.

Look at me Now is available to buy here!

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Abbey Clancy #Review

About the book

Popstar Jessika Malone can’t believe her luck! Not only has she signed a major record deal and is topping the charts with her latest single, she’s just been offered the chance of a lifetime: a tour with gorgeous megastar Cooper Black…

It’s everything she’s ever dreamed of – except that it means travelling thousands of miles from her boyfriend, Daniel, just when he’s finally popped the question!

Far from home, her relationship is tested more than Jessika ever imagined – will she make it home for Christmas before it’s too late?

cover173705-medium.png

Another Christmas book in October! These publishers know how to keep me smiling.

This is an honest to goodness, laugh out loud, really well written and enjoyable read.  It’s full of festive romance and it’s written with a tonne of personality and great warmth.

I especially loved the behind the scenes peaks at tour life and how the members of the band were such great characters! 

It is a standalone read that you’ll get completely wrapped up in.  Even if it’s not your thing, and you purchase a copy for a friend, you’ll know that 45p from the purchase price, when bought in Asda, goes to Tickled Pink for breast cancer research.  Why not pick up a copy today and do your bit for a fabulous cause at the same time!

Huge thanks go to Mills & Boon and Abbey Clancy for my copy of this fab book!

Enjoy!

xoxo

 

Sins of the Fathers #BlogTourExtract

About the book 

Sins of the Fathers follows Father Ramón, a priest with a problem. How can a normal healthy young man cope with both the demands of the priesthood and his attraction to women? Appealing to the bishop doesn’t help. Fifteen years later, Ramón comes out of prison. Instead of feeling guilt and remorse, he is now bent on revenge against those who testified against his shocking exploitation of children. Most are easy to find but there is one last piece missing in his puzzle: Andrea. Meanwhile David Hidalgo continues to pastor his church. Can David help halt Ramón’s revenge, or will there be further casualties?

sins of the father cover

Extract

Chapter 1
CAFÉ CÓRDOBA – FOLLOWING SPRING

Andrea Suaráz Morán did not like the way the guy at the corner table was looking at her. She carefully set down the tapas he had ordered – sardinas a la plancha, pinchos morunos, albóndigas, chorizo en vino – and a bottle of San Miguel and headed back to the safety of the bar.

“¿Piensas que ese tío parece un poco raro o solo es mi imaginación?” she asked José as she wiped the tray and slipped it back with the others. “Hey, speak English, chica,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for.”

She rolled her eyes but knew he was right. Her English had improved enormously in the six weeks she’d been in Edinburgh, but it still needed more mental effort, particularly if she was worried or tired.

“Ok,” she tried again. “Do you think that guy is a bit weird or is it just my imagination?”

“It’s not your imagination,” José confirmed, stealing a glance from under thick black brows as he dried a glass. “He comes in twice a week, orders exactly the same, always on his own, never smiles, no tip. Definitely weird.”

“And he only ever speaks Spanish. There’s something familiar about him but I don’t know where from.”

“I’ll mention it to Martin so we keep an eye on him. When do you finish tonight?”

“Ten.”

“Ok. I’m on till eleven. Just wait in the kitchen till I’m done and I’ll see you home.”

“Would you?”

“Sin duda. ¡No hay problema, guapa!”

“Hey, speak English dude – that’s what we’re here for!”

She gave him a playful punch on the shoulder and glanced round, laughing. The guy in the corner was watching, not laughing, and that took the smile off her face.

In the kitchen, while she waited for José to finish his shift, Andrea pulled out a secondhand copy of Sons and Lovers she was trying to plough her way through. The language was a struggle; she’d expected that. What she couldn’t work out was why the British seemed to get so worked up – was that the right expression? – why they got so worked up about sex. Well, maybe that was just the mystery and also the fun about other cultures. People just see things differently, that’s all. Es lo que hay – that’s just how it is. She’d read that in Britain it was polite to keep your hands off the table at meals. In Spain just the opposite. If your hands weren’t in view, maybe you had a dagger under the cloth you were just about to stab your host with. Total opposites for random reasons. Attitudes to sex, religion, politics, humour, physical contact, even greeting friends and strangers – all different. Why? Because that’s just how it is.

She couldn’t concentrate with all the orders being shouted through, pots and dishes clattering, and onions sizzling, so she put her book down, leaned back against the slightly sticky wall, and dropped her mind into neutral. Having a real job, earning real money, and being independent again had all come in a bit of a rush but she was loving the sensation. It made her mind spin that so much could change in such a short time. It seemed incredible that it had only been six weeks ago she’d kissed and hugged Mama and Papa at security at Barajas Airport Madrid and got on the easyJet to Edimburgo – “Edinburgh”, as she now had to call it.

Less than a year before had been the monumental three-day end-of-degree party which, looking back, now felt like an official farewell to youth and a welcome to the real world. That had been as long-drawn-out a group goodbye as they had been able to manage.

Four years together at Complutense University of Madrid in the leafy suburbs to the north-west of the city had made them more than friends and closer than family – a few had even become lovers. Now they were simultaneously ecstatic at the thought of no more lectures and exams, terrified at landing directly on the unemployment scrapheap in the midst of the crisis, and heartbroken at the thought of losing each other. So they drank for three days straight and swore the current fate of 52 per cent of Spanish youth would not be theirs. They toasted their successful futures to come, cursed Prime Minister Rajoy and his infernal Partido Popular, blessed the new indignados protest movement, and prayed to San Isidro, La Macarena or any other god, saint or virgin open for business for good results and a real job. On the final evening, after many riojas too many, she and Jorge had slept together one last time for old times’ sake even though they’d broken up more than a year before. It seemed the generous thing to do. They kissed and swore they’d keep in touch, all the time knowing they wouldn’t. The morning after, she had packed the last of her stuff, took her Beatles, Dylan, and Lorca posters down, gathered up bits of discarded clothing from round the flat, left the pot plants for the new tenants, and took the metro from Moncloa to Atocha, changing at Sol. Finally, easing into her seat on the AVE train to Sevilla, she exhaled slowly, looked out the window, and dabbed away a tear.

Sins of the Fathers Banner.png

Thank you so much to Midas Public Relations for contacting me about taking part in this Blog Tour.  I hope you all enjoy this extract that they’ve very kindly given me to share.

Further information on this series of books can be found at www.worldofdavidhidalgo.com

Snow Angels by Nadine Dorries #BlogTourExtract

About the book

Spend Christmas with the nurses of St Angelus Hospital.

Christmas is coming, but will the doctors and nurses of St Angelus get a chance to enjoy it?

Sister Emily Haycock and her husband are anxiously counting the days until the signing of final adoption papers for their precious baby Louis. But someone has got it in for them and Emily is about to get caught out in a dangerous lie.

Nurse Victoria Baker is heavily pregnant. But as the snow begins to fall, has she made a big mistake about her dates and put the life of her unborn baby at risk?

And who is the figure obsessively watching St Angelus from the shadows? Or the mystery woman who turns up one dark, windy evening, begging for a room?

In Snow Angels only one thing is certain. Christmas will be anything but peaceful.

 

Extract

‘Who the hell is it?’ he called.

His paying guests each had a key so this must be someone looking for a room. No one knocked on his door for any other reason, unless it was the postman, the milkman or Biddy Kennedy, on her way home from work, and it was too late for any of them. The wind rattled at the windowpanes with such ferocity it felt as though the room itself shook. This was not the weather or the night to be disturbing the routine of Malcolm Coffey, a stickler for everything being done by the book. The only thing he looked forward to, or dreamt about during the day, was his supper – and he often wondered, as he ate, what kind of pie his late wife would have turned out. He had served throughout the war, only to return home to find that he had lost his wife with his newly delivered son in her arms as a result of the bomb that had landed on the maternity hospital during the May Blitz nine months after his leave. He also found himself an orphan too, both his parents having lost their lives by a bomb that hit close to the dockers’ steps only two days later. The regimental major had withheld the second news from the dispatches to his posting for over a week, to give him time to absorb the shock of the first.

Malcolm had been serving in North Africa at the time and all leave was denied. Only his parents had been afforded a funeral due to their bodies being identifiable – a funeral he had not been able to attend, but Biddy Kennedy had. His wife and son lay in a concrete grave on what was once the delivery suite of the maternity hospital, both beyond identification and removal. Today, the hospital rebuilt, life came forth over death.

‘Biddy? Is that you?’ Malcolm called not expecting a reply, reluctant to rise and leave his pie.

‘Malcolm, I promised your mam, I would keep an eye on you,’ Biddy would say when she called in for a cup of tea. Biddy worked as a housekeeper at the St Angelus hospital, a plum job in the school of nursing, working for Sister Emily Horton; and one of the pleasures in Malcolm’s life was to hear all about the antics of the probationer nurses and how they ran Biddy around in circles. Over two thousand bombs had been dropped the week his family died; nearly seven thousand homes had been completely destroyed. Fire had ripped through the dock’s side streets. ‘Think of me as your mam, if you ever need one, I’m here. You aren’t alone, Malcolm,’ Biddy would say.

Malcolm had been at school with her own children and not one of them had remained In Liverpool or even in contact with Biddy. He enjoyed her visits. She had transferred from being his mother’s friend to his – and more than that, much more. Melly had her own opinions about Biddy. ‘That woman mourns her kids,’ she would say. ‘Not one of the buggers bothers to write to her. Still working her socks off and all those kids, not one of them tips up a penny, a crying shame it is. You want to watch out – she might have her eye on this place, if anything happens to you.’

snow angels blog tour poster.jpg

Thanks so much to Vicky in Head of Zeus for including me on this blog tour.  I really hope you all enjoyed the extract.

Snow Angels is now available at the below links:

Amazon
Kobo
iBooks
Google Play

Follow Head of Zeus:
Website: http://www.headofzeus.com
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @headofzeus
Instagram: @headofzeus

Follow Nadine:
Twitter: @NadineDorries
Facebook: @NadineDorriesAuthor

 

 

%d bloggers like this: