But before we get to the excerpt from Sheryl’s novel, a bit about the author, herself…
Sheryl Browne grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. She wears many hats: a partner in her own business, a mother, and a foster parent to disabled dogs. Sheryl has been writing for many years, the road along the way often bumpy. She was therefore thrilled beyond words when Safkhet Publishing loved her writing enough to commission her to write for them.
Sheryl’s debut novel, Recipes for Disaster – combining deliciously different and fun recipes with sexilicious romantic comedy, is garnering some fabulous reviews and has been shortlisted for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Festival of Romance Award. Sheryl has since been offered a further three-book contract under the Safkhet Publishing Soul imprint. Somebody to Love, a romantic comedy centering around a single father’s search for love and his autistic little boy, launched July 1. Warrant for Love, bringing together three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly, released August 1 and A Little Bit of Madness releases Valentine’s Day 2013.
Take it away, Sheryl!
Hi Melanie! Thank you so much for hosting me! I’m thrilled to be here on your beautiful site! Today, I’m sharing the fifth of eight excerpts from Warrant for Love. I hope you enjoy! Please do leave your comment and (appropriate) suggestions as to what YOU might do if you found yourself in Lee’s situation.
Warrant for Love
Love, blackmail, lies, adultery, entrapment.
Three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly.
Life for Paul sounds like your typical country song. He comes from a broken home, his wife is divorcing him, he’s got no place to live, he’s losing custody of his son, and his sergeant, who’s sleeping with his wife, is a loud-mouthed braggart who won’t let up on him – not even at work.
Leanne’s caught her (now) ex cheating on her again, but before she can give him the what-for, she’s wrongfully arrested for soliciting – by Paul and his partner. One thing leads to another and things could be looking up for Paul, except for Leanne’s friends – quarrelling mom Nicky and financial goddess Jade – have it out for her ex.
Leanne wants closure, Paul wants a home, and Nicky and Jade want revenge. Blackmail, lies, adultery, entrapment. Will it all work out in the end or will Paul uphold the law? It sounds like he needs a Warrant for Love.
Lee tugged her vest top over her shorts… jimjams grass-stained she’d discovered… and perched herself on the edge of her bed.
She tried not to listen to Paul move around in his room. Clunk his wristwatch onto the bedside table. His shoes onto the floor. Unzip… Ahem.
Lee couldn’t fall into a relationship with him. It would be madness with her emotions flying all over the place and, anyway, Paul had obviously changed his mind.
But, oh, it was torture, knowing he was just the other side of that wall. Reassuring, too, but she couldn’t help wishing there was no wall at all.
She had a quick gulp of water as her errant mind conjured up his handcuffs, then travelled slowly around front and attempted to tiptoe below belt level.
Blooming frustrating, it was.
Ah, well. She kicked off her flip-flops, and would have snuggled under the duvet, had not a great fat spider sat down beside her.
Lee squeaked, terrified, and leapt fast for a flip-flop. It was huge. A house spider as big as the house, with huge, hunched… scurrying…
She hit it.
It dropped to the floor. Lee sprang on the bed.
‘Help!!’ she screamed, woman of substance nowhere in evidence.
In an instant, Paul banged through the door, wearing boxers and not much else. ‘What? What’s wrong?!’
‘I’ve got no shoes on,’ Lee said feebly.
Paul scratched his head. ‘You’ve got no clothes on.’
‘There’s a spider!’ Lee squealed as it scurried towards him.
‘Christ, Lee…’ He ran his hand over his neck. ‘I thought there was someone… ‘Oh, blimey.’ Paul backed off. ‘It is a bit big, isn’t it?’
‘Get it!’ Lee danced on the duvet.
‘Lee, just calm down.’ Paul skirted around the intruder as it came to rest in the corner. ‘It won’t hurt you.’
‘Lee…’ Paul laughed. ‘It’s just a spider. It’s probably more scared than…’
‘It’s not! I’m arachnophobic! And don’t laugh at me. I can’t help it. I’m sick of apologising for my shortcom… Oh, my God, it’s moving.
Get it!’ Lee clutched a pillow and a useless flip-flop to her breast and backed up on the bed.
‘Okay. Okay.’ Paul said, his voice calm, his face serious. She was petrified, he realised. Pretty in the shorts and vest, but petrified.
He actually wasn’t far off petrified, himself. He hated spiders. ‘Just stay calm and stay where you are. I’ll get it.’ He headed for the landing.
‘Where are you going?’ Lee almost climbed up the wall.
‘To get a glass.’
‘No-o-o. It’ll be gone when you get back. And it’ll creep out again while I’m sleeping. Please get it.’
‘I’ll get it. I’ll get it. I promise. Just stay calm.’ Paul tried to reassure her. ‘Flip flop,’ he said, surgeon-like as he turned to face his own worst nightmare. Under-stair cupboards were crawling with the bloody things. Or that’s how it seemed, if you were four years old, and locked in there with them.
He braced himself, flicked it out of the corner, and flattened it. Felt like a murderer, but flattened it anyway.
Felt pretty good actually. He smiled as Lee flung her arms around him.
‘I feel really stupid.’ She sniffled into his shoulder.
‘Don’t.’ Paul stroked her hair. ‘We all have our private demons.’
‘It bounced off the bed.’
‘Bounced?’ Paul chuckled. ‘Did it test the springs first?’
‘You’re laughing at me.’ Lee pulled away.
‘I’m not, Lee.’ Paul pulled her back. ‘I’m laughing at me. I’m terrified of the buggers.’
Lee blinked up at him. ‘You are?’
‘Yep.’ Paul smiled. ‘Almost as terrified as I am when I meet some psycho on the streets, but I guess it’s easier to face it than admit it, if you’re supposed to be macho-man.’
Lee scanned his eyes and must have realised he was telling the truth.
‘Sorry,’ she said, her face nestled back in his shoulder. ‘I’d get them myself, if only they’d stand still long enough. They only ever seem to come out when it’s dark, don’t they? When you’re alone.’
‘I know.’ Paul pulled her closer, recalling how alone he’d felt in the dark. ‘Tell you what,’ he said, his mouth close to her ear, his hand tracing the curve of her back, ‘we’ll get one of those sonic insect repellent things. Innovations sell them, I think.’
‘Do they work?’
‘Dunno. It’s worth a try though.’ Paul brushed his cheek against her hair. Lee lifted her head, and…
‘Hello, Mumsie-wumsie,’ Drew said, from right outside Lee’s door on the landing.
Paul and Lee hastily disengaged.
‘Shoot.’ Paul hurriedly left, thinking that more prudent than hiding under the bed. ‘I, er… ‘ He raked his hand through his hair as he met Drew’s eyes. ‘Spider,’ he offered, by way of explanation.
‘Ye-es.’ Drew looked him up and down. ‘So, where’s the white charger? Parked next to the Mondeo?’
‘Word of advice, Paul. Knights don’t do it naked.’
Paul nodded soberly, arms folded over his nakedness. ‘I guess I’d better go and get dressed. Undressed. Go to bed.’ He coughed and stepped past Drew.
‘Good idea.’ Drew clumped onwards. ‘Oh, incidentally, that’s the airing cupboard.’
‘You don’t say.’ Paul closed the door to the linens within.
‘Pssst,’ Lee hissed, when Drew’s door closed. ‘Everything okay?’
Paul smiled. ‘I think he thinks you were after my body.’
Drew yanked his door open and headed for the bathroom. ‘She is. But only if you promise not to scream.’
‘I won’t.’ Paul laughed and risked a step closer to Lee, whose adoring smile made him feel as if he had ridden in on a white charger, rather than charged in wearing his boxers.
‘Night, Lee,’ he said, running a finger down her nose. ‘And you’re not alone, by the way. I’m right next door. If you need me, just call.’
Finding footprints on the windscreen for her boyfriend’s car as evidence of his infidelity was worst case scenario for Lee. What would YOURS be? What would you do about it? Witty but NOT too rude suggestions, please. One name will be randomly selected from the blogs taking part to receive a copy of Warrant for Love.
Find out more about Sheryl:
Romantic Novelists’ Association
Sheryl is a loveahappyending featured Author and Editor.