#BlogTour None So Blind by Alis Hawkins #Excerpt #BookReview @DomePress

Delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for the wonderful NONE SO BLIND by ALIS HAWKINS. My thanks to the author and the publishers, The Dome Press, for inviting me to be part of it all!

Will be sharing my review of this book today along with an extract which will hopefully give you a little flavour of what the book is abut! It’s one you need to add to your TBR pile!

About the book

West Wales, 1850.

When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery. He knows exactly whose bones they are.

Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty. But the investigation turns up more questions than answers.

The search for the truth will prove costly. But will Harry and John be the ones to pay the highest price?

Published by The Dome Press


Purchase Links

The Dome Press  £6.29

hive.co.uk  £7.75

book depository  £8.99

About the Author

Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. She left to read English at Oxford and has done various things with her life, including bringing up two amazing sons, selling burgers, working with homeless people and helping families to understand their autistic children. And writing, always.

Radio plays (unloved by anybody but her), nonfiction (autism related), plays (commissioned by heritage projects) and of course, novels.

Her current historical crime series featuring blind investigator Harry Probert-Lloyd and his chippy assistant John Davies, is set in her childhood home, the Teifi Valley. As a side effect, instead of making research trips to sunny climes, like some of her writer friends, she just drives up the M4 to see her folks.

Alis speaks Welsh, collects rucksacks and can’t resist an interesting fact.

Twitter: @Alis_Hawkins

Website: http://www.alishawkins.co.uk

None So Blind – extract

Gus’s curiosity was palpable as we stood in the stableyard waiting for the horses. Only his wariness of listening ears was saving me from an interrogation. Having told him that human remains had been found, I had avoided any questions he might have asked by fleeing upstairs, ostensibly to change but, in actual fact, to quell the shaking that had taken hold of me.

Bones confirmed what I had always feared. She was dead. But buried? Buried implied a second party. It implied – no, surely it was evidence of – murder.

A stable boy led the horses out and held them while we mounted up. ‘How far is it?’ Gus asked, nodding to the boy and taking up the reins.

‘Five minutes or so.’ In fact, had we set out to walk instead of changing and waiting for the horses, we would almost have been there by now. But it would not have done to arrive on foot. Williams of Waungilfach would have felt slighted and it was altogether too soon to allow my father to begin finding fault with me.

In two minutes we were trotting through the gates at the end of the drive. I urged my little mare up the hill towards Treforgan and we passed the hamlet’s open-fronted forge, made our way down the steep little hill past the silent, weekday chapel and the mill with its rhythmically thumping wheel, and found ourselves on the edge of the river meadows where the flat pasture was bounded by the wooded slope of the Alltddu.

Eyes averted so as to give me an impression of the path ahead, was aware of the stiff, leafless cages of last summer’s brambles lining the edge of the path and my mind’s eye conjured up memories of an exuberance of black-spattered bushes rambling up the slope. Blackberries and wild strawberries and damsons – we had picked them all. My mouth puckered at the memory of the sharp sweetness of those damsons, those days.

A sudden greeting snatched me back to the present. ‘Henry Probert-Lloyd!’

William Williams. The sound of his voice brought a slew of unpleasant recollections and I fought down an old anger. ‘Good day to you, Mr Williams.’ I dismounted and found my reins being taken by Ianto Harris.

‘I barely recognised you,’ Williams sounded somewhat resentful.

‘You look quite different!’

My hand rose involuntarily to my beard; even I was not used to it, yet, but its novelty did not excuse his tone. I gave what I hoped was a sufficiently forced smile to act as a dignified rebuke and proceeded to introduce Gus before clarifying why I had come instead of my father.

‘Yes, I see,’ Williams said. ‘It’s good of you to come yourself, of course, but I think I would rather wait until your father can attend to this himself.’

I stiffened. I might have been little more than a boy the last time Williams and I had had dealings with each other but I was a barrister now and more than competent to deputise for a magistrate.

‘Is it not,’ I suggested, ‘simply a case of confirming that these remains are human and sending for the coroner?’ Both of which Williams might have done already, had he not been so afraid of being seen to overreach himself.

‘Your father is a county magistrate—’

‘That’s hardly a necessary qualification, surely?’

‘No but, I think we should wait—’

‘And I am quite sure that he would wish us to act like sensible men’ – let him take that as a compliment if he felt so inclined – ‘and deal with this ourselves.’

Unable to look Williams in the eye and utterly unwilling to tell him why, I turned my head towards the wooded slope beside us. She was up there. That was where she had been for the last seven years. Despite all my desperate hopes and wild imaginings, she had been here all along. Dead, as I had feared. But murder… I had not, for a second, entertained that thought.

MY REVIEW

The dark and brooding cover gives you a little glimpse of what to expect when you start reading this new historical mystery series, and it’s compelling stuff from the first page to the last!

There’s a very dramatic prologue that jumps you straight into a chaotic scene and really helps set the atmosphere for what is about to follow!  When a body is found it sets everyone back to remembering one dark night, none more so than  Harry Probert-Lloyd who was dreading this discovery and is put in charge of investigating just what went on to end in such tragedy.  He is a barrister who is beginning to lose his sight, but refuses to admit defeat,and teams up with a clerk, John Davies, to track down those responsible.Both characters are quite headstrong so often go off on their own quests and I found these characters, who both have flaws of their own, make for much more interesting people to follow!

Their investigations take them amongst family and friends, and over to Ipswich as well to track down those who have moved away, and you’re always wondering why they keep finding dead ends or those who are just plain uncooperative.  The closer they get to the truth, the more troubling it is for them to want to believe.

Harry and John work so well together as a team! They upset a number of people with their questions but also aren’t afraid to work behind each others backs – they know they’re not perfect human beings but they don’t care and I think they respect that in each other!  

This is a book filled with  dark secrets and  lies, lost loves and plenty of twists and turns to keep you turning the pages with anticipation!  Can’t wait for more in this series!!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

My thanks to The Dome Press for my copy in return for a fair and honest review. Please check out the other stops on the Blog Tour!

Happy Reading!

Sunshine & Secrets by Daisy James #BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt

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Title: Sunshine & Secrets

Author Name: Daisy James

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Release Date: 19th March 2018

Publisher: Canelo

Welcome all to my stop on this wonderful Blog Tour! And what a treat we have in store today with a fabulous extract from this feelgood book, along with my review – spoiler alert – I loved this book!  Full of all the feels in the most idyllic setting!!

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Book Blurb: 

When newly heartbroken, michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.

But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected…. With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?

Pack your bags and jump right into the sun and secrets of The Paradise Cookery School. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Kat French.

Buying Links

Amazon UK

Kobo

Google Books

Apple Books UK

Author Bio:

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Author Social Media Links Twitter: @daisyjamesbooks

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

☀☀☀☀☀

Sunshine & Secrets Extract 

Millie had received the promised email from Jen and had studied the attachments during the flight. It turned out her sister hadn’t told her the full story – nothing new there. Not only did she have to oversee the renovations but she was also expected to triple-test and finalize the course recipes and menu cards. It was going to be a challenge – it would be years before she could aspire to match the brilliance of Claudia Croft, if ever. She was relieved that Claudia had arranged for her friend and local Caribbean cook, Ella Johnson, to be an integral part of the testing committee. Despite the course attendees’ desire to indulge in a fun-filled, pre-wedding celebration, Millie knew that the price the bride’s mother had paid for the classes meant they would be a discerning and demanding audience – foodies with an interest in furthering their skills and repertoire to include a cocoa-flavoured twist.

So, a siesta was obviously out of the question. Ella would be arriving shortly to meet her and Millie wanted to reassure her that she was up to the job. She straightened her shoulders, grabbed the handle of her wheelie suitcase and drew in a lungful of breath. The sweet fragrance of jasmine, mingled with wet soil, tickled her nostrils as she dragged her luggage and her exhausted body up the incline towards the house. She slung her bag higher up her shoulder so she could protect her trusty scrap box of recipes with her arm, and tossed her bedraggled mermaid hair over her shoulder, wishing she had thought to tie it back. Her jerky movement dislodged an apple from the top of her bag and it rolled away down the hill, picking up speed until it rounded the corner and disappeared from view.

The daily deluge continued its onslaught. The celestial director of meteorology had clearly decided to ratchet up the special effects for her arrival on stage. Unexpectedly, Millie felt tears gather along her lashes. Not only was she soaked to the skin, with a throbbing toe and burning lungs from the unfamiliar exertion of tackling the hill, now a juggernaut of tiredness had rammed into her bones.

However, her excursion into self-pity didn’t last long. As she emerged from a dense grove of banana trees, the welcome sight of the old plantation house erased her lethargy in an instant. Built in the French colonial style, with a white-painted veranda and pale blue jalousie shutters, the villa nestled comfortably against the tropical foliage of the rainforest. The building was impressive but she was too exhausted to fully appreciate its architectural splendour.

She ditched her luggage next to a stack of scarred wooden crates, stuffed to bursting with weird-looking purple-brown pods, loitering on the doorstep like sentries, and trotted around the wooden veranda to the front of the house. What she saw whipped the breath from her lungs.

A set of smooth white marble steps descended towards the most stunning expanse of aquamarine she had ever seen. The infinity pool’s decking had been embellished with six navy-and-white striped sunloungers and was bordered by a necklace of lush banana trees, their leaves sporting a glossy sheen from the recent downpour. But she barely noticed this arboreal glory compared to the majesty of the panorama in front of her widened eyes. She felt her jaw drop.

☀☀☀☀☀

MY REVIEW

This was a treat of a read! Full of fun, romance and those feel good vibes that make the world a happier place!

Millie isn’t in a happy place as she’s recovering from a broken heart. But she has her love of cookery to help distract her. Her sister Jen is also on hand to try and help her move on and what better way than springing a surprise on her at the airport! She thought she was going to spend time with her mother, but Jen has recommended her for some work in St Lucia to help out the celebrity cookbook writer Claudia Croft who is setting up a Paradise Cookery School over there and needs some help. How could she say no?!

When she arrives over there she’s quite low on confidence and is a little daunted by what she faces but with stunning views and friendly locals, she soon settles and finds herself enjoying life once more! Even the daily downpours don’t seem to dampen her spirit.

The estate manager, Zach Barker, is there to watch over here and their first few meetings don’t go well but it’s nice to see how their friendship develops despite their clashes.

Even with some mysterious goings on happening that seem set to test her , she finds the challenge she faces with the school is just what she needed and her love of cookery is easy for all to see and a helpful way into the hearts of the local community!

This was so much fun to read with a lovely cast of characters in a paradise setting!

☀☀☀☀☀

Thanks for stopping by today! Don’t forget to check out the other stops on this Blog Tour and hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!!

sunshine blog tour

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May #CoverReveal #Excerpt

An absolute pleasure to be part of this cover reveal today, thanks to RachelsRandomResources, along with a cheeky little excerpt for you to enjoy as well!!

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay

by Nicola May

Praise for Nicola May’s books

‘This book will twang your funny bone & your heartstrings’ – Milly Johnson

‘A fun and flighty read’ the Sun

‘A funny and fast-paced romp – thoroughly enjoyable!’ WOMAN Magazine

*

Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy. While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he – or she – has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.

Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed – and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?

There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace – and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.

With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.

And here is the gorgeous cover in all its’ glory!!

About Nicola May

Award winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.

Follow Nicola May Website – http://www.nicolamay.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NicolaMayAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/nicolamay1

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/author_nicola/

And now you’ve been spoilt with the cover and links, here’s that little excerpt I promised you! Enjoy!!

☀☼☀☼☀

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

‘Are you sure you’ve got the right person?’

Rosa took off her bright red woolly hat and scratched the back of her head furiously, causing her dark brown curly hair to become even more unruly.

The tall, pinched-faced solicitor nodded. ‘Yes, of course we have. Evans, Donald and Simpson do not make mistakes. You, Miss Larkin, are now the official owner of the corner shop in Cockleberry Bay.’

He handed the bewildered twenty-five-year-old a battered leather briefcase and pointed to a small combination padlock on its brass clasp.

‘Here. The will stated that you – and only you – can open this, using your date of birth.’

‘This is all very strange,’ Rosa said. ‘And where exactly is this Cockleberry Bay?’

‘Devon, dear, Devon.’ The solicitor looked under his rimless glasses. ‘I take it you know where that is?’

‘I may have a cockney accent, Mr Donald, but I’m not stupid.’

‘Well, open it then.’ The solicitor was shifting from foot to foot in anticipation. He confided, ‘We’ve been wanting to know what’s in there for days.’

Showing no emotion, Rosa gazed at him with her striking green eyes and asked coolly: ‘Is there anything else I need?’

‘Er, no – but are you not going to . . .?’

‘I need to get to work.’ Rosa put her hat and scarf back on, zipped up her fur-lined bomber jacket and headed for the door. ‘Thank you so much for your help.’

And she was gone.

‘Rude!’

The solicitor peered crossly out of the window of the offices in Staple Inn and watched as the young woman, the briefcase in her arms, strode across the frosty cobbled courtyard and out into the bustle of London’s ancient legal quarter.

                                                               ☀☼☀☼☀

PRE-ORDER LINKS

When Dad Became Joan by Cath Lloyd #BlogTour #Excerpt #NonFiction

My pleasure to be closing the Blog Tour, organised by Bookollective,  for When Dad Became Joan by Cath Lloyd today and very happy to be able to share an excerpt with you, along with all the other links  you’ll need to help you find out more about this honest and enlightening book.

THE BLURB

In 1987, Cath Lloyd’s father made the shocking confession that he was a transsexual and wished to become a woman.

Although she wanted to be supportive, Cath didn’t want to lose her dad, and it was hard to accept his decision. In those days, asking for help wasn’t the norm, and gender issues like this were swept under the carpet. Throughout the years of emotional, conflicting and tormenting thought processes, Cath wondered if life was ever going to feel normal again.

We all have a story about coming to terms with change, whether this is transgender reassignment, separation, divorce, loss, grief, illness, disability or living through another trauma. As we live through our story, we do the best we can with the strategies we have at our disposal. Sometimes these are not enough and we have to search long and hard to find alternatives.

That’s where Cath’s book will help you. She shares 7 of the strategies that helped with her family challenges. These can support you too, whatever difficulties you’re facing in your life.

With self-help tools that focus on topics like your values, self-honesty and positivity, you’ll develop a plan of action to support you through the difficult times. This will help you to understand, acknowledge, and accept what needs to happen to move forward and live your new normal. These strategies are those which Cath uses now with her clients as a life style change and stress relief life coach.

Published by  Librotas

Buying Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support a local bookstore

Book Depository

💚💛💜

Time for the excerpt! Enjoy!!

 

Dad leaned forward in an attempt to close the physical and emotional crater
I could feel widening between us. I guess the pressure to do what he had just
done must have been immense. And then he asked me the million-dollar
question: “Do you have any questions?”

As my head started spinning, I knew I had masses of them but my head
was so mixed up I couldn’t even begin to think what they were, so I weakly
answered, “No.”

But what my head was really saying was, if I don’t agree with it, what will
happen? Will it all stop and go away or will something worse happen? I don’t
want this to happen – but I don’t want my dad to be so unhappy that he tries
to end his life anyway. In fact, there was one other really big question in my
mind, the one that probably mattered more than most. It was:
If you become somebody else, who will you be to me?

As two internally reflective thinkers, we sat like strangers with nothing
more to say to each other. Dad waited for more. I looked at his hands, still
clasped. The clock on the wall ticked. The trees in the garden waved in the
breeze. In a matter of minutes the life I had taken for granted had changed
beyond recognition.

I got up to go without a word and I was silently ushered out of the office. As
I passed Mum in the kitchen, there was nothing we could find to say to each
other. We were all roaming around in our own thoughts. When I left the
house that day to go to see Nick, my parents felt like strangers to me.

The last words that we exchanged at the front door I have never forgotten.
“Cath, at the moment this is just between close family members, so, besides
Nick, please keep this to yourself.” There were no hugs or kisses. No suggestion
of when I would be home next. As I tried desperately hard to avoid eye
contact my mum looked close to tears. My dad’s face held a sense of foreboding:
like, what now?

The burden of keeping the family secret had begun.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cath is a lifestyle change and stress relief life coach, with a teaching background in adult education spanning over 25 years, with 15 of these working with offenders. This experience thrust her into a very different society which helped her refine her teaching and life coaching skills, whilst keeping her in touch with the real and creative worlds.

She now combines her teaching and life coaching skills with a holistic approach. She loves working with her clients on an individual level to achieve positive and quick results. Cath blends her teaching and coaching skills together in group workshops, courses and events such as ‘Recipe To Success’ and her regular ‘Stress Relief Awareness Days’. These courses are a great way for her clients to gain peer support in a fun, educational and inspiring environment.

You can follow Cath on Twitter @CLmakethechange and find out more on her website. Cath can also be found on Facebook.

Blog Tour – Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther #excerpt

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Welcome along today for my turn to share the love for the recently released Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther, and to share an exclusive excerpt too!! What lucky bunnies you are!!  Hands up who is already wishing they could spend some time in that lovely cottage in such a beautiful setting?!

If you would like a looksie at my review for this fascinating read then please check out my review on GoodReads

THE BLURB

Can you ever bury the past?

She’d recognised in him something of herself: that sense of not belonging, of secrets fiercely kept . . .

Five friends, newly graduated, travel together to the Lake District. Young and ambitious, they little imagine the events that will overtake them that fateful summer, tearing their fragile group apart.

Twenty years later, they return to the same spot, summoned by a mysterious bequest. It’s not long before old friendships – and old romances – are re-kindled. But soon, too, rivalries begin to re-emerge and wounds are painfully reopened . . .

How long does it take for past sins to be forgiven? And can the things they destroy ever really be recovered?

Praise for Rachel Crowther

‘A wonderful page-turner of a novel’
– Fay Weldon on The Things You Do for Love

‘The very best sort of fiction’
– Juliet Nicolson, author of A House Full of Daughters

Amazon UK  – paperback £7.99

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore – paperback £6.89

Book Depository  – paperback £7.15

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

crowther

Rachel Crowther qualified as a doctor and worked in the NHS for twenty years before succumbing to a lifelong yearning to write fiction, previously indulged during successive bouts of maternity leave. She has an MA in Creative Writing with distinction from Oxford Brookes, and a string of prizes for her short fiction. 

Her first novel, THE PARTRIDGE AND THE PELICAN, was published in 2011 and was a Tatler ‘sizzling summer read’. THE THINGS YOU DO FOR LOVE is published in August 2016 and has been called ‘a delight of a read’ by Fay Weldon, ‘the very best sort of fiction’ by Juliet Nicolson (A House Full of Daughters) and ‘a richly textured tale of life and love’ by Richard Mason (The Drowning People). 

Rachel has five children, two mad dogs and an abiding passion for music, art, cooking and travel, both in Britain and further afield. She currently lives in Surrey. 

 

Now for the excerpt! Grab yourself a cuppa and get reading!!

 

Cambridge, October 1992

The entrance to the chapel was tucked away in the corner of First Court, easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there. Crossing the square of grass and cobbles, already familiar after three days at St Anne’s, Judith felt a twinge of doubt. Not so much about the religion as the belonging, she thought. That was complicated: whether she wanted to belong, and what to. She loved singing, she wanted to sing, but she could tell from the way people talked about it that there was more to this choir than that.

While she hesitated, two people came across the courtyard from the other corner – a tall, spindly-looking boy with dark hair smoothed flat and a blonde girl of the kind there’d been lots of at Judith’s school.

‘No!’ she heard the girl say. ‘You must, of course. Nothing ventured …’

At that moment she glanced in Judith’s direction and smiled, a more straightforward smile than Judith expected, and Judith found herself smiling back. Nothing ventured: well.

The director of music was waiting just inside the chapel. Lawrence; not Dr Watts.

‘Welcome!’ he said. ‘Judith – Cressida – Stephen. The others will be along, I’m sure.’

It was still light outside, but the chapel was filled with a muted, dust-moted stillness that seemed to set it apart from the day, from the warm stone of the courtyard and the world beyond. The floor stretched away in a pattern of black and white tiles, flanked by oak panelling, towards the choir stalls facing each other at the far end, and the air was thick with smells Judith recognised from other occasions when she’d been in a church. Wax candles, old hymn books. A hint of lilies, perhaps.

‘You’re joining a wonderful group of people,’ Lawrence was saying. ‘And we’re very lucky, of course, with the organ.’ He glanced up towards the organ loft as he spoke, and the last words were caught by the acoustic, echoing back from the gilded ceiling. The building, Judith thought, was flaunting itself. Doubt surged again, more sickly than before.

‘Lucky with the architect, too,’ said Cressida. ‘Adam at his best. A late gem.’

She might have said more, Judith thought, but just then the door opened to admit a squarely built, red-haired boy wearing a No Fear T-shirt and faded jeans.

‘Hello,’ he said. ‘Am I last?’

‘Not quite,’ said Lawrence, as the boy shook his hand. ‘Do you know …?’

‘I’ve met Cressida,’ he said. ‘But we haven’t … I’m Bill.’

‘Stephen,’ said the tall boy. ‘I’m a late recruit.’

‘And …’ Bill turned towards Judith, and then he paused, the momentum of his arrival halted for the first time. The sickness in Judith’s stomach curdled, twisting into something both familiar and entirely unrecognisable. Bill was smiling at her, a wide grin that seemed to take in the whole group, the whole occasion, and at the same to be directed exclusively at her. He was so full of geniality as to be almost hateful, she thought, one of those cocksure musicians who don’t even realise they’re … but there was another feeling rising inside her too, altering the light.

‘I’m Judith,’ she said. ‘Hello.’

‘It’s very nice to meet you.’ Bill hesitated for a moment, appraising her, and Judith was grateful she’d got the words out before they dried in her chest. ‘Are you –’ he began: but then someone else was bursting through the door.

‘Ah!’ said Lawrence. ‘Marmion, welcome!’

‘Sorry.’ The girl called Marmion grinned apologetically, clattering towards them across the marble floor. Judith recognised her: she was the kind of person who stood out in a crowd without meaning to, her face beaming in the centre of the freshers photo, carrying across the JCR above the beer and the shouting. ‘I’m so sorry. I was with my tutor. I lost track of the time.’

‘Never mind,’ said Lawrence. ‘Never mind.’

As he made the next round of introductions, Judith looked back at Bill, with a tiny dart of anticipation about meeting his gaze again. But his smile had moved on to Marmion: not the same kind of smile, not at all, but even so Judith felt a shock of betrayal. Ludicrous, she told herself. Ludicrous. When Lawrence gestured them towards the choir stalls, she hesitated before following Bill and Marmion. Two wholesome people, she thought, chattering away in the way people do who have things in common: who recognise themselves as part of the same tribe.

But after a few yards, Bill glanced back.

‘Judith,’ he said, ‘Marmion says you play the flute.’

‘Your room’s above mine,’ Marmion said. ‘I heard you playing last night. Syrinx, I think. Was it Syrinx?’

‘Possibly.’ Judith forced a smile, avoiding Bill’s eyes.

‘I do too,’ Bill said. ‘We could play duets.’

‘Possibly,’ Judith said again. ‘My flute needs a service, though. The keys are sticking.’

Bill looked at her for a moment, one eyebrow lifting almost imperceptibly, and Judith felt a flush filling her cheeks. Shit: what was she doing? What could she possibly want with someone like Bill – or with the chapel choir? Perhaps she should cut and run. There was so much else on offer in Cambridge; so many people.

But the others were in the choir stalls now, and Judith found herself following. Her arm brushed against Bill’s as she took her place, and she was absurdly conscious of it, of the prickle of excitement that seemed to fast-circuit from her skin to her belly. She kept her eyes on the folder of music in front of her, the fall of light from the tall windows that straked the floor with bright narrow lines.

‘Ah, good!’ Lawrence said, as the door opened once again. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, can I introduce Deep Patel, our organ scholar?’

Patel, Judith thought. So she wasn’t the only … but she hated herself for the thought. That wasn’t her tribe either. She didn’t have a tribe. Deep looked nice, though, slight and shy and quick-gestured. He darted up the chapel to say hello, then whisked away towards the organ loft. After a moment they heard the faint wheeze of air in the pipes, then a declamatory arpeggio.

‘Let’s start with a hymn,’ Lawrence said. ‘Number 137, please.’

And then Deep was playing the introduction, and they were all singing, and the sudden shock of the sound made every hair on Judith’s body stand on end. Only five of them, but they filled the chapel, flaunting themselves back to that big-hearted acoustic. Beside her, Bill’s rich tenor soared up to the high notes, and she revelled in the pleasure of it: the chaste, suggestive pleasure of singing together.

This was something worth having, she thought. Perhaps she wouldn’t run away just yet. But, she promised herself, she would resist whatever it was that Bill kindled in her. Plenty of fish in the sea, as her father would say: why choose one who disconcerted her so much? Why deny herself the delicious, tantalising diversion of pretending she didn’t care?

Hope that has whetted your appetite for more! Links up above for a few different places to grab your copy! Been an absolute delight to be part of this Blog Tour! Hope you’ll check out the other stops along the way!!

 

secretblog

RAINBOWS

 

It is my great pleasure to welcome AnneMarie Brear along to my Blog today for a guest post!   I recently had the pleasure of reading this book and adored it – please click on the link to my previous Blog Post where I revealed the cover and reviewed the book My Review on my Blog   – so now I just get an extra shot at letting you discover this fabulous book for yourselves!!

So without further ado, over to AnneMarie for her extract and info!!

Where Rainbows End: Extract Post

 

Blurb

“I’m not a man, but that won’t stop me. Just you wait and see.”

It’s 1850 and the Noble family have arrived in Australia to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Headstrong Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plans for a successful stud farm a reality.

Pippa is immediately spellbound by the untamed outback landscape, although she learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush – sometimes with devastating consequences. When circumstance leads to Pippa tending the new farm alone, it is the steadfast friendship of neighbouring country estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.

Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land and make her mark, even if it means losing everything else …

 

Excerpt:

 

‘Pippa! Come look!’ Davy ran into the stables. ‘There’s a carriage coming with two shiny black horses with white feathers on their heads.’ He grabbed her hand and pulled her outside. ‘A carriage!’

Intrigued, Pippa frowned at Robson as he came to stand at her side. They both stared along the valley track. Indeed a large, shiny black carriage pulled by magnificent horses rumbled beside the creek towards them.

‘Who could it be?’ Pippa glanced at Robson for his input.

‘Nay, miss, I know of no one with such a carriage in this district.’

Davy jumped up and down, clapping his hands. ‘It’s a Prince!’

Pippa gently pushed him towards the house. ‘Go to your mother.’

She and Robson walked away from the stables and waited under the big gum tree near the footbridge. On the other side, Davy and Millie watched the carriage approach.

The driver halted the fine pair and drew the carriage to stop. The door was flung open and Gerald popped his head out. ‘Pippa!’

Pippa’s eyes widened in disbelief. ‘Father?’

Gerald exited the carriage and handed Hilary down and then the maid, Cissie. ‘We’re here at last!’ he shouted, reaching back into the carriage.

Hilary ran up to Pippa and hugged her. ‘It’s good to see you! Have we surprised you? How are you? Mother fainted! As soon as we started the descent into the valley, she screamed that we would all fall to our deaths and then fainted.’

Blinking rapidly to make sure of her vision, Pippa let Hilary’s words wash over her. Her family here! She couldn’t believe it. They’d sent her no word of their impending arrival.

‘Come, come, Esther. Pippa wishes to greet you,’ Gerald cajoled his wife out of the carriage. ‘You’re safe now, so stop your hysterics.’

Pippa stepped forward and kissed her mother’s pale cheek. ‘Welcome, Mother.’

Esther, fanning herself with a white handkerchief, sniffled. ‘What a journey, Philippa, what a journey.’ Slowly she raised her head and gazed about. Her eyes widened, her mouth dropped open.

The heavy weight of guilt sunk Pippa’s happiness at her family’s arrival. Her mother’s rigidness confirmed her fears. She hated the valley. ‘Mother—’

‘You …’ Esther turned to scan the whole valley and all it contained, her eyes filling with tears. ‘Gerald …’ She blinked, her chest heaving as though she struggled to breathe. ‘You brought me here?’

‘Mother—’

‘Esther—’

‘How could you?’ Esther’s voice lowered in anger. ‘I’ll not spend one night in this god-forsaken backwater!’ She spun on her heel, re-entered the carriage, and slammed the door.

Pippa stared at her father, whose cheeks flushed beet red. He stormed to the carriage and jerked open the door. ‘Get out at once!’

Hilary silently came to Pippa’s side and took her hand as, in disbelief and with acute embarrassment, they watched their parents argue and wrestle. At last, Esther emerged from the carriage, dishevelled and indignant.

‘I will stay but one night, then I am returning to Sydney to the Talbots.’ She marched past them all and crossed the footbridge. Hilary hurriedly followed her.

Sighing, Gerald walked away, around the other side of the carriage, and, after a glance at Hilary, Pippa went to join him.

‘I’m sorry, Father. I didn’t expect you. Hilary’s letter said it could be another month as Mother had engagements. Inside the house is not complete yet. I kept the men working on extending the stable block.’

‘I do not blame you in the least, dearest.’ His eyes softened and he slipped his arm around her waist to hug her to him. ‘In fact, I’m so very proud of you.’ He gazed out over the valley, at the cluster of buildings, the horses and sheep grazing. ‘What you’ve achieved here in such a short time is inspirational, my dear. You have the courage of a lion.’

Pippa kissed his thin cheek, aware that his ill health had taken its toll on him. ‘I did it for us all, Father. This is our home now, and we’ll be successful, I know it.’

‘I have no doubt about it, not with you in charge.’

‘Oh, but Father, I’m not in charge now you’re here.’

Gerald shook his head. ‘No, Pippa. This is your dream, your future.’

She stepped back, frowning. ‘But it’s yours, too. We share it together.’

‘Yes, but I don’t have the youth, the energy, the heart that you do.’ He shook his head and sighed. ‘All I wanted to do here was to make money. You wanted to make a home.’

She touched his arm, frightened by how old and defeated he looked. ‘We can do both, Father.’

He remained silent for a long time, staring out over the land.

‘Please don’t be dispirited, Father. We can be successful. The mistakes made in England do not have to be repeated here.’

‘My health is failing, but I tend to think that is a good thing.’

‘No—’

Gerald held up his hand. ‘Hear me out. I insist we have honesty if nothing else after so many years of lies.’ He paused and took a deep breath. ‘If I were hale and hearty and a few years younger, there would be no stopping me, but no doubt that would have led to our ruin as it did back home.’

‘Father—’

‘I’ve had time to think while bedridden and holed up with the Talbots, and I’ve made a decision.’ He took both her hands in his and smiled. ‘I was going to tell you this later, but I might as well do it now and be done with it.’

‘What is it?’ Pippa braced herself for bad news, for his tone was the same he used in England when he would admit failure in some investment or when the bailiffs came to clear the house of their belongings to repay his gambling debts.

He sucked in a deep breath. ‘The valley is yours to do with as you please. I’ll sign it all over to you, with the provision that you support your sister.’

Pippa blinked. ‘But what about you and Mother?’

‘We shall return to England.’

‘No!’

 

Buy links for ebook:

Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Where-Rainbows-End-compelling-inspiring-ebook/dp/B071P7KBH6

Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Rainbows-End-compelling-inspiring-ebook/dp/B071P7KBH6/

 

Author Bio:

annemarie

Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is an author of historical women’s fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories and is currently living in England.
AnneMarie Brear on the web:
http://www.annemariebrear.com
http://annemariebrear.blogspot.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear
Twitter @annemariebrear.