#BlogTour A Lion is Not Just for Christmas by Henriette Gyland #bookextract #giveaway @rararesources

Delighted to be able to share an extract AND a giveaway with you today as part of this fabulous Blog Tour. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be part of it all!

About the book

Is there life after the circus has left town?

Circus performer Justine Belmont works with big cats, but when the circus is disbanded and the old lion is sold to a private menagerie at a stately home in Norfolk, she is asked to spend a few weeks settling him into his new environment. When she arrives at the estate, however, she receives a mixed welcome.

The groundsman Tom Yates resents her presence as he doesn’t feel he needs her help with the lion. He revises his opinion when he sees the bond between her and the big cat, and she and Tom grow closer, although Justine remains torn about her feelings for him. The lady of the house, Priscilla – who is married to the reclusive owner, Lord Brooks’s, grandson – is not so easily convinced. She perceives Justine as a threat for the male attention and her plans for the manor. And her two young daughters are a little too curious about the lion for their own good.

When unsettling events occur, Justine begins to wonder if there is more to Priscilla’s animosity than meets the eye. Can Justine keep herself and everyone else safe until it’s time for her to leave again and start a new life elsewhere?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the Author

Henriette Gyland grew up in Northern Denmark but moved to England after she graduated from the University of Copenhagen. She wrote her first book when she was ten, a tale of two orphan sisters running away to Egypt, fortunately to be adopted by a perfect family they meet on the Orient Express. Between that first literary exploit and now, she has worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and for a county court before setting herself up as a freelance translator and linguist. Henriette recently began to pursue her writing in earnest winning the New Talent Award in 2011 from the Festival of Romance and a Commended from the Yeovil Literary Prize. Henriette lives in London.

Social Media Links – 

Website: henriettegyland.wordpress.com

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/henriette.gyland

 Twitter: @henrigyland


The following scene is during the last circus performance of the season. In the ring Justine is assisting her father, Elijah, in his lion-taming act.

Then, one by one, the animals were let into the ring through a tunnel cage.

‘Behold the terrifying Rexus, straight from the African sa-a-avannah!’ intoned the MC as the lion lumbered in and found his assigned pedestal to the far left, his home-away-from-home when out of his cage.

‘Regard the fearsome tiger duo, Ajit and Mohan, the man-eaters of Ca-a-alcutta!’

Never mind that Rexus was bred in captivity and the young tiger twins came from a circus in Australia … The illusion was everything.

Ajit found his pedestal with no trouble, but Mohan snarled and clawed at Elijah’s cane, his only defence against three large predators. There was a collective gasp from the audience, and a little girl at the front, who was here with her parents and grandfather by the looks of it, climbed onto her father’s lap and promptly stuck her thumb in her mouth. The deep auburn hair of the little girl’s father shone in the circus spotlight and caught Justine’s attention. When her eyes met his – such dark, stormy blue eyes – through the bars of the cage, she nearly missed her footing and had to force her focus back on the animals.

Never turn your back on the tigers.

Elijah’s first warning to Justine when she began assisting him rang out in her head. Male lions like Rexus were easier to tame because of their usually laidback nature, but tigers were more reserved and unpredictable.

She swallowed hard as her father coaxed Mohan on to his pedestal, using soothing words, a titbit of meat, and the command ‘Platz!’ After what seemed like an age Mohan complied and sat on his pedestal with a smug grin on his face.

The audience cheered with relief, not knowing that it had been one such unruly tiger which had made Justine’s mother Beth retire from the ring and take over catering instead. With a jagged scar on her arm to prove it.

When all three cats had settled, Elijah raised his cane and said, ‘Up!’ Rexus and the tigers sat up on their hind legs with their front paws in a begging pose and stayed on their hind legs for as long as Elijah held the cane in the air. When he lowered it again, the animals sat down.

A member of the ring passed three silver balls down the tunnel cage and Justine placed each of them in front of the animals.

‘Seat!’ Elijah raised and lowered his cane to command the tigers to climb onto the ball, and at the word ‘Up!’ they raised themselves onto their hind legs, balancing on the balls. He then commanded Rexus onto his ball. The old lion did so but with a little less confidence, then when Elijah circled his finger in the air, the lion rolled the ball in a straight line to the edge of the cage grunting discontentedly, where he stopped, faltered a little when turning around, then back to his pedestal. ‘Platz!’ got him seated again.

The Irish audience responded with a roar of applause. They were every bit as appreciative as English audiences had been, more so perhaps. It made Justine’s longing for her native country bearable as she still missed touring in England.


Giveaway – Win a sterling silver Thomas Sabo Snowflake Charm (UK Only)

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



#BlogTour The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma by Karen King #GuestPost #Extract

Delighted to be hosting the stop today for this Blog Tour on behalf of Accent Press and Karen King!  As well as a little Guest Post by Karen herself on the inspiration for writing this book, there is also an excerpt for you to enjoy!!! 


From the bestselling author of The Cornish Hotel By The Sea 

Every summer has a story… Fun-loving travel rep Jess doesn’t want to be chief bridesmaid at her snooty cousin’s wedding, but it will cause a family feud if she refuses. She doesn’t want to fall in love either but when a raucous stag party arrives at her Majorcan hotel, Jess hits it off instantly with best man, Eddie. A summer romance is exactly what commitment-phobe Jess needs and, as the stag-do draws to a close, so does the holiday fling. She has no intentions of carrying on the summer fun but when Eddie turns up again, Jess is faced with a big dilemma.
Will this bridesmaid get the happy-ever-after she never knew she wanted…

Publisher Accent Press

Purchase Links

Amazon UK


Book Depository


Here are Karen’s thoughts on where she got the inspiration from for writing this fabulous new release!

The inspiration for The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma came from a few sources.

I’ve often admired the stamina and friendliness of the holiday reps at the resorts I’ve been to, they seem to be on duty all day and evening and have to deal with a variety of problems and awkward guests. There was a stag party on board one of our holiday flights, they were very raucous but good-natured, and these two things formed the seeds of a story about a holiday rep having a fling with a member of a stag party staying at the hotel where she worked. Then my husband, Dave, booked a trip to Majorca for our third wedding anniversary and that was the inspiration for the setting.

I enjoyed writing this dance scene because it showed how fun-loving, outgoing and popular Jess is, and is the instigation for the growing attraction between Jess and Eddie. I got the inspiration for the scene from a nightclub Dave and I went to in Crete a few years ago. We’d got engaged that day on Santorini, and the reps at our hotel invited a group of us to the nightclub that evening. We had a fantastic time, there were bubbles and foam everywhere and a couple of the women were dancing like Jess and Libby, with a crowd around them clapping and cheering.  I love the atmosphere at clubs, where everyone looks like they’re having such a good time, and I enjoy watching people dance. I’m a people watcher – and I’ll get up and dance myself if I’ve had a couple of Bacardis!


And now here’s a little extract from The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma for you all to enjoy!!

One of the fantastic things about being a holiday rep was the social life. That, and the sun, and all the countries she got to visit. Last season she’d been stationed in Tenerife and the season before that it had been Barcelona. It was hard work, long hours, and sometimes the rooms were pretty basic – a few times she’d had to share with another rep –but she loved the job.

Libby was dancing with Damián, Marta, and a group of holidaymakers. She waved to them and Kurt grinned.

‘Go on, I can see you’re itching to dance. I’ll go to the bar and get the drinks.’

        ‘Thanks. You’re a star,’ Jess told him, giving him a peck on the cheek then heading off to join Libby and the others. She only had a couple of hours to dance, and she intended to make the most of it.


 Eddie recognised her as soon as he walked in. The bright red hair was a dead giveaway, although now it was hanging loose around her shoulders instead of tied up in a ponytail, and she was wearing a strappy silver mini-dress rather than the yellow T-shirt and faded denim shorts she’d worn this afternoon. Very sexy. There was a carefree air about her, a suggestion that she didn’t conform, wasn’t scared to be different. It intrigued him. Jess, that’s what the hotel manager had called her.

He watched as she kissed a fair-haired guy on the cheek then went over to join a group of people dancing while the guy went up to the bar. Were they an item, he wondered. Someone as gorgeous as Jess was bound to be taken.

‘I’ll get the first round in,’ Ross said. ‘What you all having?’

‘Jack Daniels for me,’ said Greg.

Eddie tore his eyes away from Jess and followed Ross to the bar. When they returned with their drinks, a crowd had gathered around Jess and a woman with long dark hair, and people were cheering and clapping as they both danced in the middle of the floor. Jess tossed her long hair, shook her lithe hips and rocked it like there was no tomorrow. While the other woman was gyrating, twirling, twerking, you name it, her black satin halter-neck jumpsuit clinging to her body like a second skin, emphasising her long legs, slender frame and sun-tanned skin. She was pretty, in a conventional sort of way, but Jess was striking. And had curves to die for.

Greg followed his gaze. ‘Hey, isn’t that the lass who helped us sort out our rooms at the hotel?  Who’s that stunner with her?’

‘Probably another rep. Good dancers, aren’t they?’

‘Cool it, mate, getting off with a couple of chicks is not what this stag weekend is all about,’ Ross told him.

‘You might be chained, but the rest of us aren’t,’ Greg said, walking over to join the group around the two dancers.

‘It’d only be polite to say hello, she did help us out,’ Matt said, following Greg.

Ross shrugged his shoulders. ‘I guess so.’

Greg and Matt joined the circle around the two girls, clapping and stamping their feet along with the rest. Tony and Sam followed them. Ross and Eddie looked at each other, shrugged then walked over, too. When the song had finished, the crowd gave the girls resounding applause.

Eddie saw Jess glance over at him, smile and wave. Then she and her friend both walked over to the bar to get a drink.

‘Let’s go and talk to them,’ Greg said. ‘I’d like to meet the friend.’

Eddie followed him, feeling ridiculously pleased that it wasn’t Jess Greg was interested in.


‘Don’t look now, but there’s a group of guys coming over to us. And they’re pretty fit.’

Jess turned her head slightly and saw that it was Eddie and one of the others from the stag group. She’d hoped he’d come over. All the while she was dancing she felt his eyes on her. He really was something. She wouldn’t mind spending a bit of time with him.

Take it easy, he’s probably got a girlfriend, she reminded herself. In her experience, guys in stag parties were always trying it on, conveniently forgetting their girlfriend/partner back at home.

Still, as a rep at the hotel he was staying at, she had to be friendly.

‘That was some dance.’ The other man – Greg according to his T-shirt – said, his eyes on Libby. Sandy-haired, a roguish twinkle in his blue eyes, just the right amount of stubble on his chiselled-chin, the sort of smooth operator with a ‘bad lad’ air that Libby always went for but had never appealed to Jess. Good job he wasn’t the groom.

Libby, true to form, flashed him a megawatt smile. ‘Thanks.’

‘Hello again,’ He nodded at Jess, but it was obvious his attention was on Libby. ‘Thanks for helping us sort the rooms out.’ Greg was slurring his words slightly. They’d probably been drinking all afternoon and evening, taking advantage of the cheap drinks here.

‘You’re welcome,’ Jess replied. ‘Which hotel did you get sent to?’

‘The one over the road.’

‘Oh, this is the stag party you told me about,’ Libby said. ‘Now which one of you is the stag?’

‘Ross,’ Greg pointed his thumb at Ross. ‘Are you a rep at the hotel, too?’ He pointed to the name on the front of his T-shirt. ‘I’m Greg.’

‘So, I see.’ Libby shook the hand he offered. ‘I’m Libby. And yes, I’m a rep, too. Glad you managed to get your rooms sorted out. Manuel is a stickler for obeying the rules.’

‘Thanks to Jess,’ Eddie joined in. ‘We haven’t been properly introduced, have we? Hello, Jess.’ He leaned forward and kissed her on both cheeks, soft sensual lips fleetingly touching her skin, a heady waft of after-shave, warm breath enticingly close. She felt a bit dizzy.  She must have drunk more than she realised.

‘I am Édouard, Eddie.’

Édouard. She mentally rolled the name around on her tongue. Nice. It seemed a shame to shorten it.

‘Er… hi.’

‘Thank you for your help, Jess.’ Every time he spoke it sent goose bumps down her spine.

‘It was nothing,’ she replied.

Greg was looking at Libby as if he’d never seen anyone as amazing as her before. Libby often had that effect on men.

‘Let me buy you and your friend a drink to say thank you. It would have been a really difficult situation without your help.’

‘Thanks, vodka and coke please,’ Libby replied before Jess could decline. Not that she was about to, not with Eddie looking at her like that.

‘And you?’ Greg looked questioningly at Jess.

She smiled and nodded. ‘A vodka and coke for me too, please.’


Thank you for stopping by Books and Me today!

Seas of Snow by Kerensa Jennings #BlogTour #GuestPost #bookextract

Books and Me

Seas of Snow Paperback Launch

Extremely delighted to be hosting the guest post on my Books and Me blog  today on the Blog Tour to celebrate the paperback launch of this stunning book.

Over to you Kerensa………

First of all, thank you so much for having me and for inviting me to share an extract from the works of Rainer Maria Rilke and to talk about my responses to it. It’s such a pleasure to do this for you and I am thrilled you so kindly joined the #SeasOfSnow paperback launch blogtour!


The protagonist in SEAS OF SNOW is called Gracie Scott. We meet her when she is just five years old, and learn how Uncle Joe appears in her life, changing it forever. Through the book, she discovers a passion for both playtime and poetry as a means to escape her traumas and torments. She delights in the words and sounds of poetry and stories to liberate her – even for a moment – from the darkness of her life.

A kindly English teacher introduces Gracie to poetry so she gets to dip her toes into its delights slowly and carefully… and we get to experience poetry through the eyes of a child, making it less intimidating and difficult.

Mr Hall tells Gracie:

‘Poetry is the most marvellous Secret Key to escaping real life and disappearing into a world of your own. It’s your very own Castle of Make-Believe.’

‘I’m not sure I understand, sir . . .’

‘Well, Gracie, the clever thing about poetry is that each and every person will read a poem in their own way, bringing with them their own experiences and perceptions and opinions and prejudices. Each and every person will see different things in different ways. An interpretation of understanding here, a shade of emotion there. And the layers! You would be amazed all the hidden layers there are in poetry – but unlike in maths, there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer. All that matters is how it makes you feel, and what it makes you think.

‘There are word patterns and sounds; clever loops and references and what we call sonic echoes, where the sounds words and syllables make reflect each other and echo each other. Some people will spot some things, other people will spot others. Some people will hear things, some people won’t. That’s the beauty of it, Gracie.’

There follows a passage where they talk about a poem he introduces her to. By the end of that chapter, Mr Hall concludes:

‘Poetry, if you let it, will help you make sense of the world. It can be your solace and your friend, even in the loneliest of times. Your escape. Your Secret Key.’

And with that, Gracie becomes hooked.

A bit about Rilke 

The extract I have chosen to share with you today is from Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Letters to a Young Poet‘. It becomes incredibly important to Gracie as her story unfolds. The book itself is a very slim volume of correspondence, written by a somewhat obscure Austro-Bohemian poet many people will never have heard of. Rilke wrote in German, and the letters were penned over several years when he was still of very tender age himself, but cast in the role of counsel and elder.

Rilke (1875-1926) was one of the most extraordinary poets that has ever lived, known for his lyricism and inspirational philosophies about life. The Letters are beautifully written words of hope, enlightenment and succour. They hold you by the hand, catch you when you fall, and lull you into self-belief where none existed before.

There are only ten letters in this small book, so you can just read one before bed time, or with a cup of teain between chores, or in your lunchbreak.

Rilke wrote them over a period of five years to a young man called Franz Kappus who was just nineteen years old and about to enter the German military. Kappus wrote to Rilke, who was then only 27 years old, shyly sharing some of his poetry and seeking guidance in life and asking Rilke to critique his literary work.

The Letters are written in prose but with a lilting lyricism that dances the words off the page in melodies and word pictures. They are so beautifully crafted I would categorise them as prose poems. Their power whisks you away, makes you think, and helps you calm.

Some people accuse Rilke of being overly sentimental, and maybe the fact I love him so much says something about me…. but I just swim in his soothing tones and feel my pain and trouble slowly ebb away.

One critic has described the Letters as “a virtual owner’s manual on what it is (and what is required) to be an artist and a person.” I would say they provide a guiding light when times feel bleak and particularly those occasions when you feel you don’t know where to turn.

My chosen extract 

A poetic passage from Rilke’s Letters becomes the talisman of Gracie’s life. It’s a prose poem that offers comfort, kindness and safety. All the things Gracie craves and yearns for. You can either read it here, or listen to this beautifully voiced version on YouTube

How should we be able to forget those ancient myths  

That are at the beginning of all peoples.

The myths about dragons 

That at the last moment turn into princesses.  

Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses  

Who are only wanting to see us

Once beautiful and brave.

Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being  

Something helpless, that wants help from us.  

So you must not be frightened  

If a sadness rises up before you

Larger than any you have ever seen.

If a restiveness like light and cloud shadows

Passes over your hands and over all you do

You must think that something is happening with you,  

That life has not forgotten you.

That it holds you in its hand.

It will not let you fall. 

There is a kindliness and a confidence in this poem that I simply love. You get the impression a very wise and lovely soul is sharing some thoughtful advice with you. The words themselves are overwhelmingly warm and protecting. The assurance and certainty of the speaker/writer quite literally holds you by the hand and lets you know that life has not forgotten you, it will not let you fall.

We are each and every one of us frightened of things sometimes. It might be the fear of illness, of a person, of a situation. Life hurtles challenges and difficulties towards us, relentlessly. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming.

And sometimes, we can question ourselves, doubt ourselves. It is so easy to assume we are in the wrong, that we are at fault. These beautiful words by Rilke seek to offer us some comfort… and to try to help us open our eyes to see the good and light in people and situations.

Now, you can argue that adopting a Pollyanna approach to life can be naïve and simplistic. I would tend to agree. But wouldn’t the world be a lovelier, more pleasant, kinder place if we did each seek to see the best in others, and if we did try our best to see things from others’ perspectives, even those who might appear to be our dragons. Even our Uncle Joes, perhaps.

I first discovered the works of Rilke as a student. I absolutely loved his choice of words, the music and melody of his cadences. I have later read some exquisite translations of his work. Even in English you can sense the purity and the beauty of the writing.

As the extract we are talking about here is a translation from the German, I shan’t critique in this post the lyricism and cadences of the phrases or talk in depth about the rhythms and metaphors that Rilke uses. I think this particular translation feels very true to the original in both music and concept, which is why I selected it. You can find alternative translations online if you feel like digging a little. This is the one which, to me, best reflects the words Rilke wrote. For anyone interested in the original, I thought it would be nice to reprint it here. You can see in the original it is very much in letter form, and there is even a reference to the recipient by name (lieber Herr Kappus = dear Mr Kappus), which gets removed in translations so the words speak to a broader human truth.

Wie sollten wir jener alten Mythen vergessen können, die am Anfange aller Völker stehen, der Mythen von den Drachen, die sich im äußersten Augenblick in Prinzessinnen verwandeln; vielleicht sind alle Drachen unseres Lebens Prinzessinnen, die nur darauf warten, uns einmal schön und mutig zu sehen. Vielleicht ist alles Schreckliche im tiefsten Grunde das Hilflose, das von uns Hilfe will. 

 Da dürfen Sie, lieber Herr Kappus, nicht erschrecken, wenn eine Traurigkeit vor Ihnen sich aufhebt, so groß, wie Sie noch keine gesehen haben; wenn eine Unruhe, wie Licht und Wolkenschatten, über Ihre Hände geht und über all Ihr Tun. Sie müssen denken, daß etwas an Ihnen geschieht, daß das Leben Sie nicht vergessen hat, daß es Sie in der Hand hält; es wird Sie nicht fallen lassen 

I have come back to Rilke time and time again throughout my life. I find his words give me that little lift I need sometimes, when navigating challenges and heartache. One way of describing it is to say I use Rilke as self-help. It really works! I’d recommend ‘Letters to a Young Poet’ to anyone going through troubled times or feeling anxiety, a lack of self-belief, or fear of the unknown. From matters of the heart to family and career… Rilke has some inspirational words to lift and inspire you.

Buying Links

Amazon UK – £9.99

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore  –  £8.65

Book Depository  –  £8.32

Dangerous Score by Michael Bearcroft #BlogTour #Extract #Giveaway #BookReview

On the Blog today it’s time for some football!!  And some thrilling action off the pitch too!!

Dangerous Score 


Football hero Jason Clooney is riding high….until a date with a beautiful woman lands him in trouble with the media, and into battle with the criminal underworld.

Now against a backdrop of an uncertain professional future, Jason has to confront disturbing revelations surrounding his new girlfriend’s family. From football action on the pitch to behind the scenes plotting. To battles with a criminal gang and constant media attention, all adding to the toughest challenges he has ever faced in life, love, as a player and as a man.

Purchase from Amazon: http://amzn.to/2BAaf6j

About Michael Bearcroft

Ex Sheffield United Junior, former Chairman Corby Town FC Actor and stage director, former British Red Cross Regional Director

Website: http://dangerousscore.co.uk/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mikebearcroft1


Today on the Blog I have the pleasure of sharing a little extract from DANGEROUS SCORE with you all – so sit back and enjoy!!


Still there was nothing Blister could probably say or do could make things worse.  

The Charter was quiet, after work drinkers having gone home for dinner, those out for the night were yet to arrive. Blister was sat in the lounge, back to the fire. The weather was still more winter than spring. Jason was surprised to see that the older man was in the company of two similar aged blokes who looked pretty fit, possibly ex-military. They each had full pints of beer in front of them, so declined Clooney’s offer of a drink when he joined them clutching his Apple & Cranberry J20. The two managed to look both serious but friendly, unlike some of the other patrons, whose glances told Jason he wouldn’t be winning any personality contests. 

 Blister made the introductions. First up was John ‘call me Doors’ Dawson, a fifty-seven-year-old former paratrooper. The other, taller of the pair was Paul Scowcroft, a fifty-eight-year-old ex-Royal Marine. The three had met through various kinds of active service, in many locations. Now in retirement all were settled in the area.   

Blister was the spokesperson for the group.  

‘Son, we all want to help you if we can. We can see you’ve been wronged and we all have our own reasons for not liking Mr bloody Thresham.’   

There was strength and determination in Blister’s voice that Jason hadn’t heard before from this gentle giant. He felt obliged to reply in the same vein.  

‘I just cannot thank you guys enough for your belief and support in me.’  

He felt it only right to bring them bang up to date on what he’d done since the story broke. There was a moment’s quiet when he finished, his emotions getting the better of him.  

Doors gave Jason a minute or two to compose himself, then launched into his experience with the evil world of Martin Thresham.  

‘My wife had fallen behind on HP payments for a carpet she had bought from a Thresham owned company. Next thing, she gets a visit from a thug, who swears at her, threatens her, then had the nerve to give her a good grope as he left. I was beside myself and got around to his mansion double quick. Raging I can tell you. ‘Course, Thresham denied all knowledge of the incident and refused to apologise. So I warned him there’d be some nasty consequences if he didn’t clean up his act. A week later when my wife was walking home from her keep-fit class, two men grabbed her, snatched her bag and knocked her about. Scared her witless. Now she never leaves the house, has to have ongoing counselling, takes Valium. Our lives have been shattered. ‘Course I could never prove it, but I’m sure it was all Thresham’s work.’   

Doors lapsed into silence, tears in his eyes.  

Scowcroft took up the litany of sorrows.  

 ‘I worked for a local transport company when I left the Marines. The business was owned by a farmer, Tom Rawlins. One night I was late getting back with the lorry. Tom was sat at his desk, pissed and crying. Seemed he owed money to Thresham’s casino. If he didn’t pay up soon he would lose the business and the farm, which had been in the family for centuries. I offered to help him with a small loan and I knew most of the other workers would chip in as he was well liked, and we were all aware that we needed the work to make ends meet. So, during the weeks ahead we all rallied round to save the business, but before we could do anything positive Thresham called in the debt.’  

Scowcroft was sure if he had got a good solicitor, perhaps gone to court, he might have got a different result, but it was too late and faced with the shame, possible homelessness, in sheer despair, Tom killed himself with his old shotgun. As far as Scowcroft was concerned it was Thresham who had been one hundred per cent responsible for Tom pulling the trigger.  

Blister didn’t go into the reasons he hated Thresham, just stating it was to do with his late wife. So they sat there, four men united in sheer hatred for the same individual.   

Looking around Jason saw the place was beginning to fill up; he felt hostile eyes on him and was sure he was the subject of many a conversation. He suggested they adjourn to his place. He bought bottles of beer from the bar. Blister indicated that he’d like to have a private word with him, so it was decided that Jason and Blister would take the Saab, while Doors and Scowcroft climbed into a battered Land Rover painted, unsurprisingly, in camouflage colours.  

On the short journey back Blister told his story about Mr Martin Thresham. 

 ‘The wife bought an old banger on credit for our daughter without telling me she’d paid for it. The car packed up, she couldn’t pay the loan or the repair bill, so she panicked ‘cause she was terrified of what I would say.   

‘To think that she didn’t know me better than that, haunts me every day. When the debt collectors started putting pressure on her she never let on, managed to keep her fears to herself. I never detected there was anything wrong. Then one day she suddenly ran out of the house into the road, under a lorry. 

 ‘Oh, the insurance company called it an unfortunate accident and paid out, which cleared the debts. But it still left me without a wife, and my daughter without her mum.’ Blister broke down, head in hands. Jason gave him a few moments to compose himself, both alone with their thoughts. 


And I also have a Giveaway!!!  Today the Blog just keeps on giving!!  So if you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a SIGNED  copy of this thrilling new book, then please click on the link below!  Good Luck!!!

Giveaway – Win 3 x Signed Copies of Dangerous Score by Michael Bearcroft (Open Internationally)a Rafflecopter giveaway


As a big football fan – Southend United supporter for more years than I care to remember! – I am always fascinated to read books that are set in the football world! And this one does a great job of portraying the highs and lows of life as a footballer!  Jason Clooney is the star of the show, but his life on the pitch begins to get a little complicated due to his life off the pitch!

There’s a lot of mystery and intrigue involved with this book – I would have liked to read more of the off the field goings on as the story sometimes felt a little bogged down in the football side, but the darker elements of life surrounding a football club were an interesting mix.  If you loved the Sky TV show Dream Team as I did, then this book feels like it could have been an episode of that show!

As Jason begins to settle in his new role in life, there is always the threat from outside forces that begin to play a part and I found that to be fascinating to read about.  Would definitely have loved more tension around the Thresham family storyline and all his dodgy dealings but the day to day life of life in the football world was still fun to read about.

A Second Christmas Wish by Kathryn Freeman #GuestPost #Extract #bookreview

Extremely delighted to be hosting this Guest Post from Kathryn Freeman featuring an extract today as part of this fabulous Blog Tour for a fabulously festive book that you ALL need to read!!

Now, over to you Kathryn…..


It’s such a pleasure to be invited onto your blog, Kaz – thank you so much for hosting me. I hope you enjoy the following extract from A Second Christmas Wish.  


Daniel McCormick – ex tennis player and now owner of a tennis academy – has been warned by his sister not to flirt with her friend, Melissa Raven as she’s not long escaped from a miserable marriage. But how can he not, when she’s everything he finds attractive in a woman? Here he’s just finished giving his first tennis lesson to her terribly shy young son, William.  


‘Mum, Daniel says I’m going to be as good as him when I’m older.’ William rushed over to his mother, his voice bubbling with excitement. 

‘Hey, wait up. I think I only said maybe.’ He caught Melissa’s eye over her son’s shoulder and watched as a small smile crossed her face. If he had to guess, he’d say it wasn’t founded in humour though, but in relief. It begged the question, was it him she was so mistrustful of, or the male species in general? 

‘I’m thirsty.’ William tugged on her arm, breaking their eye contact. 

She reached into her slim black purse and handed him some coins. ‘Here you go. See what you can find in the drinks machine.’ After watching him trot off, she turned back to Daniel. ‘He seems to have enjoyed himself. Thank you.’ 

‘No problem.’ He was going to leave it at that, but something William had said while they’d been talking niggled at him. ‘I think he’s worried about having to see his father again.’ 

The blood drained from her face. ‘I think I already told you that William’s father was none of your business.’ 

Anger fizzed up his spine. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’  

‘It means that going behind my back and grilling my son for details because you can’t get them from me, is, well …’ She tailed off, visibly shaking. ‘Bloody rude,’ she finished off. ‘And pretty low.’ 

‘I asked William if he had any plans for Christmas yet,’ he returned evenly, fighting for calm. ‘He chose to tell me he thought he might be seeing his dad, and that he didn’t want to. I hadn’t realised small talk with your son was banned. My mistake.’ 

More angry than he could remember feeling in a very long time, Daniel stalked off towards his office, making sure he gave William a quick wave before he disappeared. It wasn’t the boy’s fault his mother was so touchy. What the hell did Melissa think he was? Some sort of child molester who took pleasure from tormenting small boys? Well she could damn well find someone else to coach her son. He’d had it with her. Fuming, he plonked himself down on his office chair and began to systematically rip open his post with unrestrained force. His wild movements caused his hand to bang into the pile of paperwork on his in-tray, toppling it onto the floor. 


‘I’m sorry.’ 

His eyes flickered between the carnage on the floor and the woman standing awkwardly in his doorway. As they settled on her troubled face, the anger slowly defused. ‘Okay.’ 

‘Can I come in?’ she asked hesitantly. ‘William is having his drink outside and …’ She wrung her hands together. ‘I’d like the chance to explain.’ 

‘Be my guest.’ Part of him wanted to stay cross with her. At least then he wouldn’t feel this need to hold her and make everything right. 


About the book: 


A Second Christmas Wish is now available to purchase in both paperback and eBook format from all good book retailers and platforms. Click HERE for buying options.  

Do you believe in Father Christmas? 

For Melissa, Christmas has always been overrated. From her cold, distant parents to her manipulative ex-husband, Lawrence, she’s never experienced the warmth and contentment of the festive season with a big, happy family sitting around the table. 

And Melissa has learned to live with it, but it breaks her heart that her seven-year-old son, William, has had to live with it too. Whilst most little boys wait with excitement for the big day, William finds it difficult to believe that Father Christmas even exists. 

But then Daniel McCormick comes into their lives. And with his help, Melissa and William might just be able to find their festive spirit, and finally have a Christmas where all of their wishes come true … 

Amazon UK

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

Book Depository 

 Author Contact details 

 Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk 

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1 



This has been an absolutely heartwarming and thoroughly absorbing Christmas read and just proves that Christmas wishes do come true!

We first meet Melissa, an ex model, and her 5 year old son as they suffer through the hands of Lawrence, her controlling and ghastly husband. He is from a family where you have to follow the rules and he shows no heart or compassion towards his family, especially towards his very shy sweet son. Melissa eventually plucks up the courage to leave him and we then get to see her as she tries to move on with her life.

The story moves on a couple of years and Lawrence has shown very little interest in his son, but is now back on the scene with his glamorous new girlfriend, and Melissa has to deal again with his arrogance and bullying. Her son is still quite affected by the past so she signs him up to tennis lessons at the local sports centre, run by the ex tennis pro Daniel. He is used to having women falling at his feet and was the best player in the world until injury cut his career short.

The sparks between the two are immediate but Melissa is, understandably, reluctant to commit to anyone considering her past, and this is where we see the best of Daniel as he is the perfect gentleman and never pushes or rushes her for a decision. William becomes besotted though with Daniel and it is so touching to see the bond they begin to form just through Daniel treating him in the right way.

With Christmas approaching, Melissa has to make decisions concerning her past and her future and the reader gets to share her joys and doubts along the way.

A fun and easy to read Christmas cracker of a book!


Guest Post by Kathryn Freeman – an extract from Before You

It is my absolute delight to share my Blog today with the fabulous Kathryn Freeman – author of the equally fabulous ‘Before You’!  Over to you, Kathryn……


Thank you so much for hosting me on the wonderful Books and Me. I thought I would use the opportunity to share an extract of my new paperback, Before You. I’ve chosen this passage for several reasons. I hope you enjoy it!

  1. My heroine, Mel, is a press officer for the Delta racing team; a woman working in the male dominated world of Formula One. This extract shows the side of her character I really love. A woman unfazed by the driving stars she works for. A tough cookie, funny and sharp, able to give as good as she gets. There’s another side to her, one that’s still hurting from a love affair gone wrong, uncertain of her appeal as a woman. This is a side we see later in the book.
  2. Aiden Foster is my racing driver hero who’s just joined the Delta racing team. He’s sex on legs and this extract gives a feel for the effect his gorgeous looks, racing persona and wicked sense of humour have on women, not just on Mel. He’s used to having women throw themselves at him. What he isn’t used to is women like Mel, who push back at him, make him think. Who peel back his cocky layers to expose his vulnerable underbelly.
  3. Lastly, I chose this extract because it comes at the beginning of the book, so doesn’t give too much away!

Mel found her stomach flipping as she watched amusement flare in Aiden’s clear grey eyes. She’d like to bet the bunny boiler had every intention of finding out about the subject of sex in motorsport by doing her own personal, in-depth analysis. 

‘It’s good to know women’s magazines aren’t dumbing down the sport, or their readers, in any way.’ 

He quirked an eyebrow. ‘Touchy.’ 

Realising he was right, she sighed. ‘A little, sorry. But sometimes … doesn’t it piss you off, the assumption that you’re stupid enough to fall for every pneumatic bosomed, bleached blonde with laser enhanced white teeth that pouts in your direction?’ 

‘Err …’ 

‘And that the sport seems to think the only place for women is smiling emptily behind the sponsors logo, dressed in a skimpy skirt and low plunging top?’ 

‘Personally I don’t have any objections to women wearing a skimpy skirt and low plunging top.’ 

His flashing grin told her he was teasing. At least she thought he was, though she found Aiden pretty hard to read. 

‘Sorry, you’ve caught me on a bad day. I usually try to keep off the soapbox during daylight hours. So, this cutting edge interview that’s going to get to the very heart of motor racing. Do you want to do it?’ 

‘You mean do I want to have sex with a cute blonde in a pink boudoir? Or do I want to get embroiled in a fight to the death with a bunny boiler?’ 

A laugh bubbled out of her. Aiden in full flow, like he had been earlier in front of the press, was sharp and funny. ‘I mean, do you want to give up a few hours of your valuable time to help produce an article that bored housewives in the southern counties will spill their lattes over?’ 

He regarded her quizzically. ‘I’m getting the sense you don’t want me to do it.’ 

‘Put it this way, there are far better, more serious, professional platforms we can, and will, use to raise your profile in Delta. So the only reason for you to do this article …’ 

‘Is if I fancy the sometime bunny boiler.’ 

‘And even then, I’m pretty sure you can get what you want out of the meeting, without actually having to open your mouth.’ 

Once again he chuckled and, just as she had earlier, Mel found she daren’t look at him. If she did her tongue might hang out and she’d lose any professional respect she might have earned in the month since he’d joined Delta. But because she was still a woman first, and a press officer second, she allowed her eyes to briefly rest on the grooves at the side of his wide, laughing mouth. To flicker over the straight white teeth and up to his brilliant silver grey eyes. Then she forced her attention back to her phone. 

‘Actually,’ he said as she pretended to check her messages, ‘I think you’ll find that in order to get the absolute most out of any such meeting, I really do need to open my mouth.’ 

About the Book: 

When life in the fast lane threatens to implode … Melanie Hunt’s job working for the Delta racing team means she is constantly rubbing shoulders with Formula One superstars in glamorous locations like Monte Carlo. But she has already learned that keeping a professional distance is crucial if she doesn’t want to get hurt.  New Delta team driver Aiden Foster lives his life like he drives his cars – fast and hard. But, no matter how successful he is, it seems he always falls short of his championship-winning father’s legacy. If he could just stay focused, he could finally make that win.  Resolve begins to slip as Melanie and Aiden find themselves drawn to each other –with nowhere to hide as racing season begins. But when a troubled young boy goes missing, everything is thrown into turmoil, including Aiden’s championship dream.

Before You is now available to purchase as an eBook and paperback. Visit our website for buying options or type the title into your chosen book supplier’s website or eBook provider of choice: http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/before-you/

About the Author:  


Kathryn started her working life as a retail pharmacist but soon realised trying to decipher doctor’s handwriting wasn’t for her. Next she joined the pharmaceutical industry where she spent twenty happy years working in medical communications, doing a lot of writing – about medicines. What she really wanted to write about though, was romance.  In 2011, backed by her family, she left the world of pharmaceutical science to begin life as a self employed writer, juggling the two disciplines of medical writing and romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…   She lives with two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in her life is all in her head. Then again, her husband’s unstinting support of her career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

Author contact details: 

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

Lisa Hill Guest Post – Extract of Meet Me at Number Five

fcae6-numberfiveExtremely delighted to be able to share an exclusive extract today of the rather fabulous – 5 stars from me when I recently read it!! –  Meet Me at Number Five by Lisa Hill! What do you mean you haven’t downloaded it yet?! What are you playing at??!! Well, now is the chance to try before you buy so enjoy the following and I’ll include all the details at the end so you can enjoy the rest of the story!!

Meet Me at Number Five – Extract Three 


‘Nana, I thought we agreed not when the children are around,’ Hennie barked.

‘Fine.’ Clara placed the packet of Silk Cut and her long filter on the table with a loud thump. ‘Have it your way. It’s so smokey around here, I don’t think a few puffs from me will make much difference.’

‘Except yours are full of noxious gases. Anyway, why have you started smoking again?’ Hennie asked.

‘Excuse me.’ Clara sat down in a kitchen chair and folded her arms. ‘Before you start interrogating me, why don’t you start on Grace? She’s the one causing more mist than in the Glens of Kilcavan.’

Grace watched Hennie’s eyes narrow as she surveyed their grandmother.

‘Well, Grace?’ Clara asked.

‘She is making the most terrible mess!’ Natalia exclaimed, noisily clattering dinner plates onto the kitchen surface.

‘It’s to distract myself,’ Grace said, quietly, returning to the temperature on her thermometer. The bright red liquid in the jam pan was starting to thicken now, which meant it was nearly ready to ladle out into the jars she’d laid out on the side. She hadn’t done much today since that awful moment at Number Five when she had wanted the ground to swallow her up. If she couldn’t get a job as a waitress, what hope was there for her? Instead of trawling the internet for possible vacancies, she’d spent most of it lying on the sofa, watching Friends repeats. Anything to make her laugh and forget how depressing her own life had become. The episode where Monica had needed a plan to get over Richard had been on and it had given Grace the idea. She loved baking. She was never more at home than in the warmth of her kitchen at Farriers. Thinking of it made her feel sick again. Which was why she had decided to busy herself with the same plan as Monica’s.

A jam plan to get over her man.

‘And what exactly are you planning to do with all that jam?’ Clara had ventured across the kitchen to watch Grace ladling the jam into jars.

Grace shrugged.

‘It is a messy distraction,’ Natalia muttered, plating up the children’s fish fingers, chips and peas.

The doorbell rang before Clara could interrogate Grace any further.

‘Hennie, be a darling and go and get that,’ Clara asked.

Hennie puffed as she stood up and thumped out of the room.

‘Children, supper is ready!’ Natalia called, transferring plates to the table.

Clara started holding out the jars for Grace, as if she wanted to help. Grace had felt the last couple of days that Clara needed to help but didn’t know how.

‘Grace, darling,’ Clara’s voice was rather hushed.

Grace could hardly hear her over the whirr of the extractor hood.

‘I think we need to have a little chat later about Charlie.’

Grace’s shoulders froze.

‘Ouch,’ she said, spilling some piping hot jam on her hand.

‘Ooh, darling, run that under the tap, I’ll keep ladling.’

Grace navigated the island and walked towards the sink. Her hand was stinging.

‘Why do we need to speak about him?’

A strong waft of floral scent floated across the kitchen. In the archway stood a man with his head replaced by a large bouquet of stargazer lilies.

‘Hi,’ said the flower head. The flowers dropped to reveal the proprietor of Number Five.

If it hadn’t been for the fact she needed to stand with her hand in cold running water Grace would have made a quick dash out through the conservatory.

‘Sam!’ Clara exclaimed. ‘What are you doing here?’ She paused from ladling duty. ‘What a gorgeous bunch of flowers. Who are they for?’

‘The young lady over there.’ Sam smiled. ‘I owe her an apology.’

‘Really?’ Clara’s head looked like she was watching a tennis match as it bobbed backwards and forwards.

Grace continued to run her throbbing hand under the tap feeling confused. She studied Sam’s face. He had sincere, dark brown eyes. Quite different to the face he’d pulled earlier, which had haunted her all day.

‘Thank you,’ Grace said, quietly. ‘Sorry, I’d take them but I’ve just spilt scalding hot jam on my hand.’

‘Let me take a look,’ Sam said, striding over and discarding the flowers on the worktop. ‘Ouch. Yes, you need to keep it under that tap for another ten minutes to prevent any blistering.’

Which was fine apart from the numbing sensation in her fingertips from the icy cold water.

‘How did you know where I lived?’ Grace asked as Sam repositioned her hand under the water.

‘I followed you out the door earlier and watched you leg it down the road.’

Eek. Talk about embarrassing. Hopefully he didn’t hear her sobs of rejection as she’d fled.

‘Then I saw you disappear in here and I put two and two together. Clara said she had her other granddaughter staying with her at the moment.’

Grace wondered what else Clara had said. The last thing she wanted was him now offering her the job out of pity.

‘Can we offer you a drink, Sam?’ Clara asked as she ladled up the last jar. ‘Tea, coffee? Something stronger?’

‘Nana, it’s Monday evening,’ Hennie snapped.

‘Five o’clock any night is wine o’clock when you get to my age, darling.’

‘No, it’s okay, this wasn’t a social visit.’ Sam let go of Grace’s hand and turned his attention to the jam, peering down to inspect it. ‘I’m here for purely professional reasons.’

Grace watched Sam’s tall, lean frame bend over. His head was millimetres away from the jars. He picked one up and held it up to the light. Standing upright again, Grace realised just how tall he was: at least 6ft 3 inches. He made her feel like a Borrower.

‘Come on, Sam, don’t keep us in suspense!’

Grace could hear Natalia muttering under her breath as she paced around near where the children were eating in the conservatory, no doubt annoyed at all the bodies in her kitchen while she was trying to prepare dinner. Normally Grace would have felt awkward but she was already overwhelmed with awkwardness from Sam’s arrival, plus she was just as intrigued as Clara by his visit.

‘Ah, well …’ Sam said, still analysing the jam.

‘I was looking for a job, okay?’ Grace interrupted. There seemed little point skirting around the issue when it was going to come out one way or another. ‘I can’t live here rent free forever, can I?’

‘I’m not asking you to contribute, am I?’ Clara said, indignantly.

‘No, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like some self-worth. Some purpose. A reason to get out of bed in the morning.’

‘This jam is exceptional,’ said Sam, dipping his finger in the jar and licking it. ‘Mmmm!’ he exclaimed as his finger pulled back out with a pop. ‘Did you make this, Natalia? Such a fruity taste, just the right balance of sharp and sweet from the raspberries!’

‘No. That is all Grace’s effort.’ Natalia shook her head. ‘Including the mess.’

‘Really?’ Sam swung around to look at Grace.

‘You don’t have to look so surprised!’ Grace was conscious that the rest of the kitchen had gone quiet. No chomping, no chatter. All eyes were fixed on the foodie with the restaurant who was scrutinising Grace’s domestic skills.


Could Grace see a faint blush behind the stubble on that angular jaw?

‘It’s delicious, though. Perfect, I suspect, with a spoon of clotted cream and dolloped over a freshly baked scone.’

‘Thank you,’ she squeaked.

‘Look, I’m sorry about earlier.’ Sam had put the jar down and was now awkwardly raking his hand through his hair. ‘I didn’t realise who you were. The job’s yours.’ He paused and gave her a pained expression, almost a wince. ‘If you still want it?’

Clara clapped her hands together. ‘Oh, wonderful! That will give you something to do Grace and stop you thinking about Charlie.’

Grace looked down at her hand. Water still trickled over her fingers and down into the porcelain cracked Belfast sink.

‘If you’re offering me a job out of pity, because you now know who I am and you know my circumstances, then I’m afraid it’s a “no”.’

Sam shuffled on the spot. He dug his hands deep into his jeans pockets and looked down. ‘It might have been.’

‘Then I’m sorry—’

‘But that’s before I knew about your exceptional jam making skills,’ Sam cut in.

‘Pah!’ Grace laughed. ‘Flattery won’t change my mind.’

‘Look.’ Sam’s dark, intense brown eyes searched hers. ‘I’m sorry, I acted too hastily this morning. I shouldn’t have dismissed you like that without asking about your experience.’

‘She’s worked with horses all her life,’ Hennie, evidently impatient at not having had a caffeine fix since she got in, was busying herself with the coffee maker. ‘There’s no customer that can be as difficult as a stubborn horse who doesn’t want mucking out.’

‘That’s true,’ Clara chipped in. ‘And you said yourself, this jam is excellent.’

‘Nana, stop interfering,’ said Grace, removing her hand from the freezing cold tap and dabbing it with a tea towel.

‘So,’ Sam said, taking her hand and inspecting it. Grace felt an odd sensation, tingling almost, at a man, that wasn’t Charlie, holding her hand. ‘Will you consider taking the job after all?’


About the book: 
What if finding happiness was a race against time?
Grace Cavendish knows a thing or two about horses – but what she doesn’t know is that her husband, top horse racing trainer Charlie Carrisbrook, is having a literal ‘roll in the hay’ right under her nose.

When the painful truth is revealed Grace has no choice but to move in with her highly-strung grandmother Clara and cousin Hennie; a single mum who has renounced men (at least that’s what she says!)

Determined to start again, Grace takes a job at the local cafe, Number Five. And whilst serving up coffee and cake is a far cry from the stables, she enjoys it – especially as she gets to work alongside the rather scrumptious Sam Whittaker.

But the past is racing to catch up with Grace. Can her life still be a romp to victory or will a devastating secret stop her dead in her tracks?

Buying Links:  
Kindle UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Meet-Number-Five-Choc-Lit-ebook/dp/B072VNH12H/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/Meet-Number-Five-Choc-Lit-ebook/dp/B072VNH12H/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


About the author:  lisahill

Lisa grew up in the village of Bussage, near Stroud, in the Cotswolds until she returned to Cheltenham as a teenager. She is married to her very own hero, Matt, and has three sons, Hamish, Archie and Laurence. Her first encounter of a romance author was chats over the garden wall between her father, Godfrey, and Mrs Cooper from the neighbouring village of Bisley. It came as quite a surprise in later life to find that Mrs Cooper was in fact Jilly Cooper! Lisa’s writing inspiration now comes from other Cotswolds authors including Jill Mansell and Katie Fforde.

Lisa writes contemporary romance with a light-hearted tone. What interests her most is people, their interactions, emotions and relationships. It’s probably why her career to date has been based in property; she confesses herself that she is ‘naturally curious’.

When she’s not busy writing, helping Matt run his electrical empire, or being her sons’ taxi service Lisa enjoys running with her gun dog, Sparky. They are both currently training for the Stroud half-marathon although Sparky’s motivation lies much more in chasing bunny rabbits.

Lisa is a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme and attributes this supportive and informative scheme to her winning the Choc Lit Search for a Star competition 2016 with her debut novel Meet Me at Number Five.





Thank you for stopping by to read this wonderful little extract from a book which I hope you are all on your way now to download!! Treat yourself!! You deserve it!