Category Archives: #cover

Coming soon! A children’s picture book

Here it is, the gorgeous cover for my

children’s picture book!

children's picture book illustrated book

What’s this children’s picture book about you ask?

Well, let me tell you.

Can five completely different animals become friends?

Meet two dogs who befriend a moose on the train from Vancouver to Toronto. Along the way,  two bears – a black bear and a grizzly – join them.

Will the group overcome their differences and discover that deep down they’re all the same?

You can read how the book came to be here.

I’m thrilled with the job Aria Jones did on the illustrations. I found her on Fiverr and would use her again.

I’m waiting for quotes from two area printers. Given the fact, I’d prefer to use ‘local’ companies; I’ve requested quotes from two of them. One did the original print run of Tim’s Magic Christmas. The other is new to me but within walking distance of my house, which makes it great for picking up the finished product. The colour pictures will drive the cost up, but you can’t have a picture book without them, and black and white images aren’t going to do it.

When the buy links are available, I’ll post them here. I’ll also post regular updates on my Facebook author page as to the book’s progress.

Most Saturday’s during the summer, you’ll find me at the Brockville Farmers’ Market. As soon as the print edition is available, I’ll be there with it. You’ll find me on the east side of Market Street West next to city hall.

 

 

 

#COVER #REVEAL ~ 2nd Edition of A Shadow in the Past

Here it is – the shiny, new cover for the 2nd Edition of my debut novel, A Shadow in the Past. I’ve been busy editing the content and getting my girl ready to return to the world of print and ebooks.

When a contemporary teen is transported back in time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself in Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland and has no idea how she got there. Her last memory is of being at the stone circle on the family farm in the year 2010.

Despite having difficulty coming to terms with her situation, Sarah quickly learns she must keep her true identity a secret. Still, she feels stifled by the Victorians’ confining social practices, including arranged marriages between wealthy and influential families, and confronts them head on only to suffer the consequences.

When Sarah realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?

Here are the covers for the series side by side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated buy links to the 2nd Edition of A Shadow in the Past to follow.

 

 

 

NEW COVER MEANS UPDATED SYNOPSIS ~ I need help deciding…

NEW COVER MEANS UPDATED SYNOPSIS

A shiny new cover means updated synopsis for YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS. I mentioned when I first unveiled the ‘new and improved’ version, I needed a kicked up synopsis for the back cover, too.

This has to be the hardest part of writing the book. Boiling it down to a few paragraphs and I’ve got two variations written, but I’m not sure which one I like best. Both bring the thriller aspect forward while not removing the romantic suspense element.

Here they are:

#1

A stalker prowls the streets of Aberdeen with one person in mind. Katherine Murphy-Whithorn.

Who is he and what is his relationship to her?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the July 7, 2005, London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin, walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled, but as their second chance relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Can he survive the ordeal? Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have something different in mind.

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

#2

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin, walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled, but as their second chance relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Can he survive the ordeal? Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have something different in mind.

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

You can buy YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS from

amazon

Books a Million

Barnes and Noble

kobo

nook

iBooks

Which version of the synopsis do you like best?

Let me know by leaving a comment.

Thanks so much!

#COVER REVEAL ~ YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS #thriller #romanticsuspense

The original cover for my romantic suspense/psychological #thriller, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, wasn’t entirely cutting the mustard so decided it needed tarting up a bit. Bring the thriller aspect more to the front.

While the original cover is beautiful and I do love it, the psychological thriller aspect wasn’t shining through.

#thriller

A little more #thriller-like? I think so. So far, it’s only available on the e-book versions of the book. I still have to create the full cover wrap for the paperback, but before I do that, I also want to update the back cover synopsis to reflect the cross-genre aspect in a more fitting light.

What’s the book about, you ask?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Devastated by the death of her husband, Colin, in the London bombings on July 7, 2005, Katherine Murphy-Whithorn builds a wall around her heart determined to never let anyone in again. Settling into a comfortable routine, her life becomes mundane, until five years later when someone from her rebellious past returns to the city and begins stalking her.

As the curtain falls on 2010 her first love, Jared Martin walks back into Katherine´s life. Despite him being her first love, he must tear down the barrier she´s created to protect herself. Finally seeing a second chance of a life with him, Katherine couldn´t be happier until another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter returning from the Alpha Ecosse platform, on which Jared is a passenger, ditches in the North Sea. Can he survive the ordeal?

Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have his own agenda.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Kobo

Books a Million

Barnes & Noble paperback

Nook

iBookstore

 What do you think of the new cover? I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

 

#Cover #Reveal ~ EYESIGHT TO THE BLIND by Richard F. Holmes

eyesight

Eyesight to the Blind

by

Richard F. Holmes

eyesight

Genre: spiritual/paranormal/self-help

Release Date: 25/06/18

Publisher: Satori Publishing

This is an extraordinary book that tells the story of the author’s journey from a place of darkness to one of light.  You will experience a roller coaster ride of extreme highs and lows as he takes your hand and leads you on a guided tour into the depths of depression and despair.  Whilst there you will feel his pain, you will be impressed by his brutal honesty and you will also laugh… a lot!  You will then ascend; out of the darkness and into the love.

This is not just another run-of-the-mill book on the paranormal; it is also an essential guide for daily living.  Author Richard F Holmes bares his soul as he gives the reader an insight into a medium’s work and life on the road, his well over 200 out-of-body experiences and how he has experienced different realms of existence and interacted with discarnate souls.  Incredibly, he then explains how it all pales into insignificance as life starts to reveal its true meaning.

“As I take the reader through each stage of my journey from childhood to present day, I have tried to write from the perspective of the mind-set and understanding that I had at the time.  The idea is that the reader evolves with the writer through mutual experience. Although I have refrained from using bad language, the language I have used reflects who I am; after all, you can take the boy out of North London, but you can never take North London out of the boy”.

The beauty of this book however, is the central message that the author conveys via his writing.  In life you do not have to be a victim.  Each and every one of us is powerful beyond our imagination.  It is only the thought that we are not that makes us victims.  Eyesight To The Blind is an exciting and powerful book that really needs to be read from cover to cover, it combines the paranormal with spirituality, but it is also a practical guide for daily living.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK: https://goo.gl/mR2nif

AMAZON US: https://goo.gl/2mZQV3

STOP PRESS!!!

Interested in reading and reviewing this book for a review tour? If you have a book blog and want to sign up for the tour 23rd – 27th July then email brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

EYESIGHT

A Londoner by birth, Richard now lives in the South West of England.  He has written 13 books in the spiritual/self-help genre and also produced eight CDs; five of meditation and three of mantra chanting.  However, he has removed most of his prior work from circulation as he feels that it no longer represents who he is today.  As well as being a writer, Richard works in a hospice.  He is also an artist when he gets the inspiration, and worked as a medium for 17 years.

Since the so-called “shift” at the end of 2012, Richard has had what he describes as, “a series of eureka moments”, where life has started to reveal its true meaning.  As a result, he saw the futility of continuing his work as a medium and finally gave it up early in 2018.

Richard’s influences are, Ramana Maharshi, Neale Donald Walsch, Eckhart Tolle, Paramahansa Yogananda, Osho and Rupert Spira.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorrichardfholmes/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RFHolmesAuthor

Blog: https://richardfholmes.org/

EYESIGHT

 

THE GIRL IN THE GALLERY by Alice Castle #coverreveal #cozycrime

gallery

The Girl in the Gallery

by

Alice Castle

 

gallerySeries: London Murder Mystery series book #2

Genre: Cozy Crime

Release Date: 19th December 2017

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.

BUY LINK

https://MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery

ABOUT ALICE CASTLE

GALLERYAlice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph before becoming a novelist. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.

Alice is currently working on the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery. The third instalment in the London Murder Mystery series, it will be published by Crooked Cat next year and is entitled The Calamity in Catford. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing DD’s Diary at www.dulwichdivorcee.com.

She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

Alice Castle’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/alicecastleauthor/

Alice Castle is on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDsDiary?lang=en

Links to buy Alice Castle’s books: myBook.to/GirlintheGallery myBook.to/1DeathinDulwich, myBook.to/HotChocolate

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dds_diary/?hl=en

Blog: http://www.dulwichdivorcee.com

STOP PRESS!!!

Are you interested in reviewing this book? There is a review tour running 15th – 19th January 2018. Want to take part? Then email brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk for more details!

 

THE LAST OF THE SHACKDWELLERS by Lena Kennedy #cover #reveal

shackdwellers

The Last of the Shackdwellers

by

Lena Kennedy

 

shackdwellers

Genre: AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Release Date: 18th January 2018

Publisher: HODDER AND STOUGHTON

The evocative autobiography of the author Lena Kennedy who was sixty-four before her first novel, `Maggie` was accepted for publication. This book examines the inspiration for her novels, such as the bestsellers Eve`s Apples and Lily My Lovely and describes the long search for a publisher, as well as her joy at finding success.

In this, story of her life as a writer, Lena Kennedy looks back on the formative influences that shaped her career, such as the idyllic summers spent at her family`s holiday home in Kent, where among the `shackdwellers` of the woods and the simple beauty of the countryside she began to realise her growing need to express her feeling through writing. But the realisation of the need to write is only the beginning, as Lena soon acknowledged when her career took its first faltering steps, and the setback late in life that nearly robbed her of many year“s work. The Last of the Shackdwellers is told in her inimitable style, sheds much light on the life of this much-loved writer. Lena Kennedy died in August l986.

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2Bnvbxc

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2iQe4fX

 

ABOUT LENA KENNEDY

 

shackdwellers

Lena Kennedy (June 15, 1914 – August 1 1986), was an English author. Her books were mostly historical romantic fiction set in and around the East End of London where she lived for all her life. Some of her books, including her autobiography, were published posthumously.

She appeared, as a subject, on the television programme This Is Your Life shortly before her death in 1986.

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/218464.Lena_Kennedy

Amazon Author page – http://amzn.to/2Bl0V61

FOX HALT FARM by Celia Moore #guestpost #giveaway #romance

fox halt farm

Fox Halt Farm

by

Celia Moore

 

fox halt farm

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 1st November 2017

FOX HALT FARM is a compelling love story set over two decades with a backdrop of atmospheric Dartmoor, Devon. Perfect for fans of ROMANCE – this is a powerful and CAPTIVATING READ.

Opening on a cliff edge, Billy finds herself alone and betrayed. She believes everyone and everything she loves is threatened.

Richard’s world is aglow with wealth, love and unswerving family loyalty but then his perfect life crosses Billy’s. He could save Billy, her beloved dairy cows and Fox Halt Farm but this young woman isn’t in the mood to be rescued.

Nothing will stay the same. Should they trust each other? Will their secrets tear their lives apart?

Fox Halt Farm is going to be hard to put down. The story cracks along and you are caught up in Celia Moore’s vivid storytelling from the start. If you love novels by Jill Mansell, Maeve Binchy and Danielle Steel you will love this too!

Billy and Richard’s story will tug on your heart-strings. This novel is emotive, enthralling and so real – this is what could happen when two very different worlds collide.

 

EXTRACT

PART ONE

CHAPTER 1

RICHARD MARCFENN

(SATURDAY 12 JULY 1986)

There must be at least twenty irregular steps to negotiate before we reach our honeymoon hotel. I can see that my petite wife is wishing that she hadn’t worn her million dollar heels, which were never fashioned for this unforgiving terrain.

I catch something in the edge of my vision. I screw my head towards Janette, ‘Did you see that? Darling! Did you see?’

‘No. What?’ She is still focused on the steps.

‘I thought I saw something falling,’ I point at the jagged headland and I tell her, ‘I must check it out!’

Straightaway, I abandon my wife and charge ahead to the edge of the cliff.

My eyes are scrutinising the white beach far below. Nothing…

I search harder. I feel exhausted. The journey to this remote Greek island was so much longer than we expected and leaving straight from our wedding was definitely a mistake.

Concentrate! My straining eyes pick up the tiniest movement, or maybe my ears sense the faintest noise. I am aware of something, a laugh maybe?

As I make out a small indistinct shape at the bottom of the cliff, my heart pumps my blood too fast. A vein throbs in the middle of my forehead and I mouth horrified questions to no-one, ‘A child? Did they fall?’

I think I hear the haunting noise again, the ghost of another laugh?

*

Janette is watching me from the verandah of the hotel. She is with a tall woman, whose white skin is shadowed by a straw hat. My wife swipes a wayward strand of her hair away from her face, while her companion links her fingers over a pregnant bump. As I run back, I see a young man approaching them – a native islander with a confident swagger. I shout but they can’t hear me.

When they do understand, the man straightaway nods towards a steep path leading to the beach below, ‘I come with you,’ He barks before yelling back at the pregnant woman, ‘Get someone with boat there!’

‘Okay.’ From the tone of her reply it is difficult to know if she is willing, or bored?

Janette’s doe eyes look frightened, she tells me, ‘Sorry Rich, that path is too precarious. I can’t come with you. Be careful luvva.’

I kiss her, ‘I’ll be fine, please don’t worry. I love you!’

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

STOP PRESS: On special offer until 1st December! Only 99p!

**********

Designing my cover. The history behind the cover of Fox Halt Farm:

‘I have thoughts about your cover – not sure it does your book any favours…’ Those words came in an unexpected message from my wonderful mentor author Beth Webb in April. She was right of course – and so began a journey.

When Beth’s message appeared on my phone, I was blind to the importance of the design– I didn’t appreciate how vital the cover of a book plays in securing readers. Now of course, I find myself analysing every cover I come across.

Version 1:

fox halt farm

‘Give him a very clear brief – two or three paragraphs about the plot – what age group it’s for male/female readers – what emotion you want to get across.’

I wrote a six-page brief (with lots of images) to the recommended designer and he told me ‘Good thorough brief by the way, you’d be amazed how rarely I get as much to work on.’ But despite this all my ideas were lost in translation! He said ‘a hunky man with no shirt holding a woman in a flowing dress seem to be almost universal… At the very least we may have to have a bit of snogging going on.’ This led to an uneasy truce…

Version 2:

fox halt farm

I showed the potential cover to people and there was a lot of head shaking – I felt I had to go back to the drawing board – I deliberated long and hard – I wanted something unusual, a thought provoking concept, which was eye-catching.

This was when I decided to make my own oil painting from an imagined scene in my book. But then doubts began to creep in again – it wasn’t startling enough and this was how Version 3 was born.

Version 3:fox halt farm

I liked this cover but having carried out a lot of research amongst many ladies, I discovered this was design was giving a murder mystery message –Fox Halt Farm was a thriller perhaps? – The most critical feedback came from my husband – again unexpected and uninvited – but all the same, 99% of the time he is right! and he said the image looked like a poster for the local amateur dramatic society’s latest production!

And the winner is… Version 4! Just simple and effective… the best feedback for this final version, which is based on my original oil painting was unexpected too – I showed it to one of my friends who read my first draft of Fox Halt Farm and I watched as she wiped away a tear in her eye – and then another reader of my first draft said it brought a lump to her throat – I feel at last, the cover reflects the story I have to tell.

Final Version:

fox halt farm

There is a footnote I want to add to this story – this has been a tricky voyage and one I expect that rings true with many other authors – I see so many posts about angst over book covers – many authors of course have little say in the design their publisher uses – it was wonderful to be able to have the ability to choose mine – but I just want to say that there is one person I feel particularly indebted to. He came along when I was probably at my lowest point with this – and this is the testimonial I wrote for him, Harrison is just starting out and I think he can only succeed, ‘I contacted Harrison Pidgeon with my proposed images for my book cover and he carefully and thoughtfully created a stunning cover for me. This was done in a very tight timescale and I can only say I am delighted with everything. I shall definitely be using this talented designer again. I think what impressed me most was the way he listened to what I wanted and made intelligent and clever suggestions to improve the design. I also liked the way that he wrote a clear and concise account of what he had done. Thank you Harrison – it is so nice in a world full of a ‘that’ll do attitude’ to find a person who really cares about doing a job well. You exceeded my expectations!’.

Fox Halt Farm – a powerful romantic saga is £0.99 for a limited time – Available to purchase now from Amazon.

About Celia Moore

fox halt farm

Celia Moore was born in Devon, England, and grew up on a farm. Celia left the farm to have a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City district of London.

In 2000 she left the office life behind to start a new adventure of becoming an outdoor instructor and taught rock climbing, mountaineering, canoeing and even skiing, archery, rifle shooting and mountain biking. She managed an outdoor residential centre until she met her husband and now she is concentrating on gardening for a few lovely customers, running and writing.

Born fifty years ago this year, Celia has been creative ever since – from explaining why there are no chocolate biscuits left when visitors arrive, to writing glowing particulars for ugly properties; from encouraging people to have a go at a scary abseil, oil painting and writing. Celia loves it all but especially the gardening, running and the writing!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/celiamoore.books/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/celiascosmos/

Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/celiascosmos/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/celia-moore-5602129b/

Blog: https://www.celiascosmos.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CeliaMooreBooks

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#COVER #REVEAL ~ YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS ~ #romanticsuspense

yesterday

YESTERDAY

TODAY

ALWAYS

 

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Devastated by the death of her husband, Colin, in the London bombings on July 7, 2005, Katherine Murphy-Whithorn builds a wall around her heart determined to never let anyone in again. Settling in to a comfortable routine, her life becomes mundane, until five years later when someone from her rebellious past returns to the city and begins stalking her.

As the curtain falls on 2010 her first love, Jared Martin, walks back into Katherine´s life. Despite him being her first love, he must tear down the barrier she´s created to protect herself. Finally seeing a second chance of a life with him, Katherine couldn´t be happier until another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter returning from the Alpha Ecosse platform, on which Jared is a passenger, ditches in the North Sea. Can he survive the ordeal? Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have his own agenda.

YESTERDAY

Prologue

1st December 2010

The ScotRail service to Aberdeen pulled away from the platform at Stonehaven. The next stop would be his destination. As the train accelerated, the carriage swayed from side to side. The action reminded him of his mum rocking him after a bad dream. He drifted into a light slumber. When the compartment he was in crossed through a switch, it lurched waking him.

Less than thirty minutes to go. He settled back but was too excited to relax. When the Girdle Ness Lighthouse came into view, he knew he was almost back to the place he was born.

New, to him, construction dotted the landscape. Fresh graffiti adorned the stone parapets of the bridge over the River Dee. The Mitchell Tower at Marischal College, the clock tower of the Aberdeen Town House and the Salvation Army Citadel, vied for attention over the tops of the cluster of newer buildings.

He fooled the medical staff at the secure forensic unit in the south of England. After feigning rehabilitation, they released him into the community but he didn’t stay there long. He did a runner. He had unfinished business in the north east of Scotland.

Adrenalin coursed through him. Giddy with excitement, it was hard for him to remain calm. He shook his hands to try to stem some of the fidgetiness. Now, he was back in Aberdeen where it all began. How much of the city would he recognize? What changed since his departure?

Were the authorities looking for him yet? He would have to act normal so as not to attract attention. Stepping off, he adjusted his Fedora and strode across the concourse to the exit. Diesel fumes hung in the air and caught in the back of his throat. He coughed.

With the exception of the Union Square shopping complex adjacent to the railway station, Guild Street stayed more or less unchanged. Some of the storefronts in the granite buildings transformed, but overall, not a huge difference since he left.

The pavement ended at Market Street forcing him to cross over the road. He continued eastward. The location he sought should be nearby. He stopped for a breather – pressed his back against the building. The ships that supplied and supported the offshore oil industry occupied the available berths on this side of the harbour. Through a gap, the ferry to Lerwick and the terminal were visible on the far side.

The familiar Maritime Museum dominated the head of Shore Brae. Beyond that, the artery curved and became Shiprow. The cobbled road surface and pavement were difficult to traverse. Even the larger stones nearer the buildings were uneven. When he rounded the corner at Provost Ross’s House, another well-known building peeked out. He had come so far now, he couldn’t go back. He strode with purpose up the hill.

The Aberdeen Town House clock tower stretched above the roofline but that was the place he sought. Nestled between Henry’s Bar and the pedestrianized portion of Shiprow stood the As the Pages Turn bookshop.

When a customer exited holding a carrier bag emblazoned with the same signage as over the door, his heart skipped a beat. He hoped the establishment’s ownership hadn’t changed. That would defeat the purpose of his returning to Aberdeen.

The voices in his head only told him to come back. He had unfinished business with the woman with ginger hair – the one with no soul – who ran the retail outlet in front of him.

Now, to find a suitable place to wait and watch and bide his time until the moment was right.

Or, if you prefer, you can listen to the prologue…

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS is available at amazon for pre-order for the kindle now here.

DEADLY INTENT by Sheryl Browne #coverreveal #excerpt #thriller #giveaway

deadly intent

Deadly Intent

by

Sheryl Browne

 

Series: A DI Matthew Adams Thriller – Book #3 (can be read as a standalone)

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Release Date: September 6 2017

Publisher: Death by Choc Lit

18+ (some violence and language)

What if you and your family were at the mercy of a psychopath/a man with no conscience?

Just when DI Matthew Adams thinks he’s left the past behind him, it comes back to haunt him once again; this time in the form of the Conner family.

Like Matthew, the Conners have lost a child in tragic circumstances – and they’ve also found themselves in the hands of one of the most depraved criminals to walk the streets: ‘Dead-eyed’ Charlie Roberts, a drug addicted low-life with a penchant for extreme violence.

Matthew’s greatest affinity lies with Daniel Conner, the brooding father who still blames himself for his youngest child’s death. But when Daniel’s wife and daughter are tortured and tormented by Roberts, can Matthew prevent him from completely ruining his own life for an act of revenge particularly when, once upon a time, that’s exactly what Matthew would have done too?

deadly intent

EXTRACT

Daniel’s eyes flickered away from Charlie for a second. ‘Come on, baby, come out,’ he said to the daughter, who was standing hesitantly on the top step. ‘It’s safe now.’

‘Yeah, come on, baby,’ Charlie mimicked. ‘Come and join the party.’

Charlie stepped sideways, allowing the girl to exit, her eyes like a terrified Bambi’s and shaking as much as Danny boy, poor cow. Must be hereditary.

‘Give me a shout if you fancy another quick shag, sweetheart,’ Charlie called as she stepped onto the towpath.

A tic went at the side of Daniel’s mouth. He walked calmly over to Charlie and smiled, which had Charlie momentarily flummoxed, then pulled back the gun and rammed it hard into his stomach.

****

Matthew flinched as Charlie doubled up. ‘Ouch,’ he said under his breath. ‘Okay, Daniel,’ he said carefully. ‘I know how you must be feeling but you need to let him go now. He’ll get what’s—’

‘You have no fucking idea how I feel,’ Daniel shouted, glancing quickly at Jo. ‘The only way that bastard goes anywhere is feet first.’ He raked a hand angrily though his hair. ‘Got that, Charlie? Now, get down on your knees.’

Charlie looked up, astonished. ‘You must be joking. I ain’t—’

‘Do I look as if I’m joking?’ Daniel asked, his eyes burning with hatred.

‘For fuck’s sake,’ Charlie uttered, turning to Matthew, his hands nursing his stomach.

‘On your knees, Charlie,’ Daniel repeated. ‘Now!’

Matthew dearly wished he could turn a blind eye as Roberts blinked at him beseechingly, and scared witless, satisfyingly. Unfortunately, as much as he would relish seeing the abusive piece of scum get a taste of his own, he couldn’t.

‘You need to drop the gun, Daniel,’ he said, moving cautiously towards the boat. ‘Leave him to me and get your wife and child—’

‘Don’t,’ Daniel warned, his eyes and the gun still fixed on Roberts. ‘Back off.’

Matthew hesitated, uncertain. God knows, the man had every reason to … But was Conner actually going to shoot Roberts?

‘I can’t do that, Daniel.’ Matthew stepped closer. ‘You know I can’t.’

‘Stay!’ Daniel shouted, swinging the gun around, then fast back to Charlie. ‘And you,’ he grated, ‘down on your knees, while you still can.’ He aimed the gun lower, which had Charlie dropping to his knees, fast.

‘Get them out of here,’ Matthew shouted, indicating Jo and Kayla over his shoulder. Roberts had pushed Conner right over the edge. He bloody well was going to shoot him. Christ, hadn’t this family already been through enough?

‘Daniel …’ Warning himself to tread carefully, empathising with the man more than he could possibly know, Matthew tried again. ‘You can’t take the law into your own hands.’ He stopped and waited, wondering whether Daniel, who was now swaying on his feet, could even hear him. ‘You have to do this the legal way. Please, give me the gun, Daniel.’

‘Can’t.’ Daniel closed one eye.

Matthew took a breath and stepped closer. ‘Why can’t you, Daniel?’ he asked quietly.

‘Three, two, one,’ Daniel replied, nonsensically.

‘Right.’ Matthew was scared for him now. If he used that gun with police marksmen aiming right at him … ‘Which means what, exactly, Daniel?’

Daniel shrugged. ‘Bang.’ He concentrated his aim.

‘Fuck,’ said Charlie, turning a pale shade of white. ‘Don’t, Danny,’ he pleaded.

Daniel cocked the gun.

‘Look, I didn’t touch your daughter—’

‘Shut the fuck up!’ Daniel yelled.

‘I didn’t. I swear I didn’t.’ Perspiration broke out on Charlie’s forehead. ‘Danny, please. I’m sorry. Okay? I—’

‘The name’s Daniel, not Danny. Not fucking Danny boy. Daniel! Got it?’

‘Yeah,’ Charlie nodded quickly. ‘Daniel. Whatever. Just put the gun down.’

Daniel continued to stare at him.

‘Shit. This is nuts.’ Charlie looked desperately to Matthew. ‘Do something! Don’t let them go!’ He nodded past him, to where the man’s wife and daughter weren’t being persuaded to leave. ‘He won’t do anything in front of them.’

That’s probably the first, and might well be the last, time you’ve said anything sensible in your entire life, you piece of shit. Matthew looked him over derisively. Conner cared about his family. They’d endured too much to go through any more. He must know it.

Matthew drew in a breath and then took a gamble. ‘Okay, Daniel. Fine. Do it,’ he said.

Charlie gawked.

‘Go ahead. Blow his brains all over the boat if it will make you feel better.’ Matthew paused for an instant. ‘And leave your wife wondering why you did it in front of your daughter. Whether to visit you in prison, when you didn’t care enough about her, or Kayla, not to.’

Daniel tightened his grip on the gun.

His hands were shaking, Matthew noticed. Shaking badly.

‘I have kids of my own, Daniel,’ he said softly, taking another careful step towards him.

Daniel’s shoulders stiffened.

‘I know you lost your little girl, Daniel.’ Seeing Daniel reel on his feet, Matthew pushed on and prayed. He needed to get through to him. Had to.

‘You think I can’t know how you feel, but … I lost my little girl too, Daniel,’ he confided, though it almost choked him to say it. ‘I do know at least some of how you feel.’

Still Daniel didn’t move, but Matthew saw a swallow slide down his throat.

‘That bastard has piled pain on top of pain, hasn’t he?’ Matthew kept going, touching raw nerves, he was well aware of that, but what other choice did he have? ‘Persecuted Kayla and Joanne? Taunted them. Touched them, Daniel?’

Daniel’s jaw tightened.

‘Dared you to do anything about it, so he could revel in his pathetic power and beat you senseless? I know him,’ Matthew said forcefully. ‘He’ll get what’s coming to him. But you have to stop this. Now, Daniel. For the sake of your wife and daughter. Show them you care enough not to put them through this.’

‘Jesus!’ Daniel leaned to wipe his perspiring face against his shoulder. ‘Of course I care!’ he raged frustrated, and obviously confused. ‘But he’ll get out, won’t he?’

A sharp cough rattled his chest.

‘Jo and my kids are my life. Jo and Kayla … Were my … I …’ Trailing off, Daniel closed his eyes.

And lowered the gun.

‘Hah.’ Charlie levered himself to his feet. ‘No bottle. Knew it. I’ll catch up with you when I’m out, Danny boy.’ He smirked, as Matthew climbed on board. ‘Keep that pretty wife of yours warm for me, won’t you?’

Daniel brought the gun back up sharp. ‘Say your fucking prayers, freak,’ he hissed.

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ABOUT SHERYL BROWNE

deadly intent

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, heart-wrenching fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.

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