EXCERPT from GUILT, my latest novel featuring friends old and new . . .

Liza’s best friend, Hetty is back in this latest novel set in the world of Angel Avenue . . .

When I feel brave enough, I glance at her and she’s just staring at the ground, her lips pursed.

“Say something then.”

“Can’t. You told me not to react. I really thought it’d be the sock thing, but now you’ve told me, I understand why I’m not allowed to react. You may continue, by the way. Tell me everything.”

“You’re fucking impossible, you know that right?”

“That’s why I’m your mate, because you’re Mrs Possible. We balance one another out.”

I throw my head back, slapping my own face. “Woman.”

“I’m not reacting, remember? You’re talking.”

I take a deep breath. “I’ve known him a long time.”

“Okay.”

“He wants me to leave Gage.”

“And how long has this affair been going on?”

“Which part of it? The friendship part, or the actual fucking part?”

“The AF part.”

“I spent the night with him on Saturday. It was our first time.”

“Wow, you must be really cut up about it all to be telling me so soon.”

“I am.”

We find a bench and sit down. I check on Rupert who is still sound asleep. Hetty keeps rocking Elizabeth back and forth in her pram because she’s more likely to wake up wanting a feed.

“What was it like?” she asks. “The sex?”

I bite my lip and cover my mouth. Just the thought of it all is enough to make me blush.

“Wow, like that, eh?”

“He’s absolutely gorgeous, Het. Inside and out.”

“And he’s… you know?”

“What? Good in bed?”

“Yeah,” she says.

“He’s extremely good in bed. He makes me feel so good about myself.”

She inhales the cool, early spring air and exhales it even more dramatically. “Give it time, I say. A bit of time.”

“What do you mean?”

“If it’s meant to be, it’ll be Liz. However, if he’s one of those arty-farty types like most of your friends are, you could be just a passing whimsy to him and you know it.”

I look down at my lap. “It crossed my mind.”

“At the same time, perhaps you should seriously think about splitting from Gage if he’s not making you happy. You don’t have to leave one bloke for another, you know? You can leave Gage just because you want to, not because someone else has come a-knocking.”

“I agree. You’ve got a good point.”

“Has he got a big cock?” she asks, blurting it out. Thank god nobody is within earshot.

“HETTY!”

“I’ve been relatively well-behaved, but you can’t expect me to be good all the frickin’ time.”

I laugh and try to brush her off, but she’s waiting with bated breath.

“Yes, he has a big cock…”

She sits there wriggling her eyebrows up and down, then she folds her arms. When Elizabeth lets out a tiny grumble, Hetty has to start rocking her back and forth again. I’m glad Hetty’s at the mercy of someone else for once, it’s about bloody time. Mind you, motherhood suits her. She’s still Het, but she does seem a lot more content with herself.

“Well…” she says, sounding proud as punch that she’s not only embarrassed me today, but also made me say the word cock, too. “Joe tried it on recently, but I’m still not ready, down there. I’ve got to get my rocks off somehow, haven’t I? Can’t you tell me more about Lover Boy?”

“Hetty, you’re so bad. Shut up, will you? I’m telling you nothing. I’m protecting him.”

“Come on, just a little bit. Come on.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“As if you’ve only just discovered that.”

We snigger like piglets on our bench.

*END*

BLURB:

A highly thought-provoking tale of love, lust and deception . . .

Liza is married with two young children and seemingly has it all: a big house, a husband who provides, a great circle of friends, plus a job working for her best friend. The only problem is, it’s all built on lies.

A death in the family finally forces her to see the truth for herself, but the timing seems a little too convenient. It’s not escaped the notice of not only Liza, but also that of family friend Warrick, a former detective who has his own suspicions.

As the truth unravels, friendships are tested and Liza finds herself trapped beneath the weight of guilt. Life has thrown everything it’s got at her, and for such a young woman, it feels like a huge cross to bear.

Nothing will ever be the same again, but while the future promises the kind of happiness she only ever dreamt of before, it’s difficult to shake off the feeling that her escape from deceit came with a hidden cost . . .

* * *

AUTHOR NOTE: Liza was a minor character in the Angel Avenue series. No previous reading is required to be able to enjoy this standalone, although I highly recommend you read the other books too.

BUY LINKS:

ANGEL AVENUE

BEYOND ANGEL AVENUE

HETTY

GUILT

A Deleted Scene from the Sub Rosa Series

Recently, as I was cleaning my laptop, I discovered some deleted scenes! In fact, I discovered many – and many have now been deleted properly!

Scenes get deleted because they don’t move the action forward, or maybe it’s just that they sometimes seem over-indulgent.

Well, I found this one scene that I just want to share – just because. It’s in Cai’s voice and is a monologue of sorts. I’m not sure why I didn’t include this section, who knows? I only know that I like the way he speaks about Chloe in this excerpt, and I am sure you will, too.

I think I may have intended to include this in Unfurl, but obviously it never made the final cut. Anyway, without further ado, here we go . . . enjoy!

***

Jennifer didn’t realise how little she knew about me until I met Chloe Harmon almost four years later. 2011 was the year I was due to finally inherit my millions, the year Jennifer also scuppered all that. It didn’t really matter, though. Like my mother, I knew all about contingency plans.

Chloe saw me from day one and made it abundantly clear to Jennifer I was more. So much more. Being with Chloe was a danger, because she made me better.

Chloe Harmon, the supernova to dissect my blunt universe of sin, vice and disharmony—made me walk tall and be who I was meant to be. She walked through the doors of Media Solutions and I bolted for her, chasing her with a jar of Douwe Egberts in one hand and a coffee cup in my other.

The first time I looked into her amber eyes, I was arrested—fire from the pits of hell licked the ice latched around my shut heart. My head a ton weight, I was numb, trying to fix on anything but her.

In the kitchen of our office, I handed her a coffee she’d hypnotized me into making. Our fingers touched and I got jolted by a magnetic pulse I’d never encountered before. I stared at her lips and knew if I kissed her once, it wouldn’t end there. I wanted to kiss every inch of her body—taste and inhale every part of her, live in her skin and bones instead of my own. Inside my pants, a part of me that hadn’t ever worked without help ticked and jerked, for the very first time.

pablo

When Chloe smiled, it was like death, destruction and decay had never existed. Only her, a living, animate object filled my vision.

I loved the natural curl of her long hair and the subtle freckles hidden beneath make-up. When she laughed her cheeks became large, round pippins and her eyes narrowed like a cat’s. She pinched her bottom lip between her teeth whenever she got too embarrassed and had to look way. Her hands were elegant just like a woman’s hands should be and I fought to stop myself getting on my knees and begging, literally begging, for a chance to touch her face.

I got back to my desk after that first encounter with Chloe and the ache of a constant smile began to hurt. I took out a notepad and started drawing, just anything, whatever came to mind.

Her face. I couldn’t stop drawing her face, desperate not to forget it. I had to draw her eye over and over. The size and shape, I needed to get it right. Oval, with those long, feline lashes whipping at the edges. God, I imagined the silkiness of her brow and was hard just thinking about that. I couldn’t imagine making love with her, it’d be too good—too many places to lose myself and enjoy. I imagined her skin, softer than silk, and wanted nothing more than for her hands to be in my own.

From my vantage point upstairs I could see down to her desk below but somehow feared, she’d beat a hasty retreat if she knew about the things I’d seen and done. I couldn’t spend my whole life up in my fourth-floor office, just watching her through the glass divide from a distance.

If her unearthliness touched me any deeper, I feared I’d shatter and crack—tell her my darkest secrets. Then she’d leave and never come back. That’d be it once she discovered the deepness of my dark depths. I couldn’t bother her with this tragedy I carried in my soul.

Nevertheless we drank together in a pub that evening, discussing how her first day had gone. She was a giddy, nervous woman who clearly had a past of her own. As we sat there chatting I remembered how much I hated public places and other people in general. It was easy with the disguise; I could be someone else, but as myself—it was never easy. I left her and my pint of lager unceremoniously behind because people were watching us. More importantly they were watching her, and my fists were inching to flail into the face of any man who looked at Chloe in the wrong way. She was oblivious, that gorgeous woman, of just how much of an effect she had on men.

I went by a craft shop as soon as I was out of that pub and then I raced back to my apartment to get it all down. I felt frightened, fearing those images of her in my head would disappear.

I drew and painted until my eyes ached and my arms went into spasm in rebellion. I didn’t feel angry while I was occupied by my work, didn’t need the punch bag, a gym session or a bin full of ice to quench my need to tame all that was bad inside—demons that never really left.

pablo (1)

I barely slept trying to express the small fissure she’d made in the ice, which melted the more she bestowed her good grace on me. While I spent time drawing her, adrenalin and euphoria pounded its way through my veins like no other catalyst I’d ever encountered before. Ideas snaked through my bleak mind, bursting a technicolour display, ousting the red flames and black clouds of dissolution.

I’d never wanted to draw. I’d photographed so many images, but never drawn a single thing, unwilling to follow in my mother, Claudia’s footsteps.

I thought I met beauty the day I met Chloe Harmon, but I hadn’t. True beauty only demonstrated itself the more human she became, the more fragile, the more broken and yet…

…with that weakness, she conquered not only me…

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An Excerpt from WORTH IT, Sub Rosa #5 . . .

Unveiling . . .

worth it

Excerpt

1997

I was leaving double maths and feeling fucking knackered one Friday afternoon, when a group of people dashed past me down the corridor, squealing with excitement.

I was not in the mood, not after double maths with the teacher from Hell.

Walking across the quadrangle, ready to go straight out of the school gates and head home, I got accosted by Dario who grabbed me by the scruff of my neck.

“Get your clown hands off me!”

“Come, on, come on! You’ve got to see this! Come on!”

He started running, to I knew not where, and eventually I realised what was going on.

Kayla and her group were rehearsing in the hall and everyone had decided it was a party. It was nearly Christmas but soon enough, the teachers would find out we were all down here, gawping up at Kayla and swaying together like it was New Year’s Eve. She was performing at the Christmas disco the following week and that’s why they’d let her have this stage to practice. They always let groups studying A level music perform each Christmas, but only the best—and it was the first time ever they’d let a rock group perform. That was just a sign of how good Kayla was.

“Right you fuckers, tell me what to sing next!”

I arrived during a break, so I had to wait to hear her sing.

“‘Rape Me’ by Nirvana,” shouted Dario, and I nearly kneed him in the cock.

Since we’d met three months ago, I’d got the distinct impression from Kay that seeing each other in that way was off the table and I figured there was a big reason why.

I didn’t like to ask. I didn’t even want to envisage it.

I had my suspicions, and that was all.

I mean… she needed protecting, right?

And she only wanted to protect herself.

Anyway, she quirked an eyebrow at Dario and talked to her band.

“All right,” she said, flicking the microphone wire behind her, “none of the band know that one cos they’re all boring twats so we’re gonna do ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’. I know you all love it and so does a friend of mine.”

She avoided looking at me when she said it, but I knew it was aimed at me.

The growing crowd cheered, and she grinned.

Kayla threw a guitar over her shoulder and put her microphone in its holder.

The drummer counted them in and she strummed her first chords.

I watched as she played and sang, her voice gravelly when it needed to be, mimicking Bon Jovi. Her shoulders jigged to the music and she curled her lip, getting into the emotion of the song, her fingers masters over the guitar she was holding. Her facial expressions were evocative of the song, her soul a real rocker’s soul, even though her voice could be adapted, you could tell that from the way she could sing the higher notes.

I caught gooseflesh from my scalp to my toes. I’d never felt anything like this before—a wave of shock and awe sweeping through me, filling me with joy.

I knew I was watching someone very, very special.

She just happened to be my friend.

After the song, the band started right on with another Bon Jovi track, this time, ‘Bed of Roses’.

She took the stool behind the mic and put her guitar on the ground.

“This is for all you dirty fucks,” she said, her laugh rough and dirty, too.

I smiled wider than I’d ever smiled before.

She sang ‘Bed of Roses’ in what you could tell was her more natural voice and the powerful Jazz sound she produced caught the whole room up in a contemplative atmosphere.

Then at the choruses, she took to the floor and belted out her full range, shocking the room with her astounding standard.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted to go grab her off stage and kiss her face off.

Instead, I just smiled.

And I smiled.

To say she’d told me time and time again that she didn’t like Bon Jovi (even though she knew I did), she sure did know the lyrics, probably better than I did.

After that she sang Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stereophonics, stuff I knew Kayla wasn’t really into. Pantera, Megadeth and Metallica were more her kind of music, but Kayla knew that people wouldn’t be wanting that at a school disco.

The party got broken up and everything went quiet, everyone went their own ways.

Kayla and her people had to tidy up and I was in no state to be sociable.

I went home and hid in my bedroom, probably for the next three days.

***

Worth It (Sub Rosa #5) is available for pre-order, with a release date of DECEMBER 12th, 2017! Here are your links:

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If you want to start at the beginning, you can do, and for #FREE!! Unbind (Sub Rosa #1) currently costs 0.00p/c to download. Check for your links below:

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An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 3 days to go!

cameronExcerpt:-

I don’t believe in ghosts, but I believe in hauntings, in the lingering insidious presence of something malignant. Spectres of endless doubt, old thoughts as oppressive as any vengeful wraith. I believe in parasites, prodding, cold and primal, stirring distant failures and shames that strike when the mind relaxes, or into nightmares that will wake you, febrile and slick with sweat.

All of these dark creatures are no more complicated than old memories, and I believe in them like I believe the earth is round.

I believe because I knew a bully.

My Bully.

He singled me out for reasons that were his own. I didn’t like the things he liked, and I liked things he did not. I didn’t look like he looked; I was thin, lean and pale, where he was pug-nosed, stout and peppered with freckles. I was clever, and he was not. That’s not a brag, or an indictment. I largely saw school as a means to an end, and worked, and even enjoyed it, whereas he saw it as an unfortunate mandate. He sat at the back of the few classes we shared, those that weren’t banded by ability, and he sniggered and railed against the simplest of tasks. That was when he sat at the back at all. Often he’d be relocated, or absent, or serving a period of exclusion for wrongs that didn’t involve me. His presence wasn’t pervasive, but when it was there, it was ever a threat.

He played a slow game, and his moves were often uncoordinated, without much forethought, simple lashings-out, like the first, where he struck from behind while I stood peeing at the trough and cracked my head against the wall’s peeling paint, stumbling, exposed, breaking my fall with a hand into the gully of warm amber and weak disinfectant.  I scrubbed for five minutes before I returned to class. Then it was verbal, insults that barbed my physicality, or lack thereof: the gangling frame, the hair too curly for his tastes, a tiny hereditary kink in the shape of my right ear lobe, unnoticeable until it’s noticed, then mined for meagre gold.

It was always there during PE.

The PE changing rooms were a twice-weekly hell, a timetabled trip to ten-minutes of judgment and punishment for crimes you couldn’t control. Who had muscles, who had hair? Whose puppy fat hadn’t yet hardened? Whose nipples were too big or too small? Who wore expensive underwear and whose came from the catalogue? Pushing, shoving, tweaking and whipping. Walls lined with awkward flesh changing outfits as quickly as possible, desperate to do it without being noticed.

Before the lesson, a crucible of scrutiny. After the session, a litany of faults. Backslapping for the winners, lambasting for the losers.

“You’re too dry,” My Bully said in the changing room one day. He crossed the room to tell me, leaning in suddenly. It was loud enough for a pocket of his cronies to hear, and they sneered and cackled like well-trained vultures. I pulled down my red tee-shirt quickly, exponentially more self-aware. Did he mean my skin? Did I have flakes and lesions on my back I’d never noticed? But he peeled away quickly and lumbered into the adjoining toilet area, positioning himself at the trough.

Too many possibilities went through my head. A repeat of being pushed against the wall while I peed, stumbling clumsily into the trough. Him thundering back through with a cup of his own piss to douse me with. Him finishing up and hauling me in and pushing my face down into the steel channel flowing with yellow froth. I hopped myself into my trainers as I left the room and followed my friends to the field for football . . .

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

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Pre-order the e-Book:

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Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

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Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

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An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 4 days to go!!

andy
Excerpt:-

lullaby

 

I remember the day you were sent to us.

Soft and etched with the strokes of heaven’s brush.

I remember when you first did open your eyes to the world.

My heart beats again to recall it.

My finger around yours.

Your soft hair against my cheeks.

That first wondrous sound you made, you called out to me.

Your mother.

My son.

Shush, now, beautiful boy.

I gathered you in my arms, whole.

Your senses were awakened for the first time, and I saw it.

I had to touch every single feature.

I blessed your nose, your ears, your mouth.

You yawned. The commonplace was divine.

You spoke in another language.

I was determined to understand every sound you made.

I warmed you, delicate and firm.

Time was irrelevant. It was wholly stretched out in front of us.

I sang to you, I know not what.

The song of all mothers. A soothing hum, a lilting melody.

Shush, now, my sweet angel.

Crying is good, tell me all your fears.

This world is endless. The darkness and light are there.

I will bend my knee and look at you. Hold my gaze.

Your eyes are drooping.

Let me speak to you of fairy tales, the dreamer’s passion.

Ride upon my shoulders and scream in delight to the heavens.

I will give you the sleep of peace.

You stand before me, taller and taller.

Asking me questions to which I have no response.

Go and seize the world.

All is ahead. My love will uphold you.

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

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Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

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An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 5 days to go!

davidExcerpt:-

“Boys and girls. It gives me great pleasure to introduce a former student of mine to you. Alexander McCarron – Alex – is a successful businessman. His company keeps him very busy and he travels all over the country. But, he has come here today to speak to us about an important topic and I want you to give him your full attention.”

I took a swig of the water bottle in my hand and stepped out onto the stage. The room filled with polite clapping as I walked over to the podium, shook hands with the policeman and then with Mrs. Fraser. When I finally turned to face the crowd of people filling the small auditorium, I saw a sea of small faces looking back at me. I grinned, tilted the microphone up and then took one more long look around before I started to speak. As I had done dozens of times before in front of many corporate directors, I straightened my tie and the cuffs of my shirt. Then looked around the room again trying to decide where to start.

I chuckled. “My wife told me I should treat this morning as if I were talking to a group of corporate executives. But I am clearly overdressed today.” I paused while I removed my coat, folding it over a chair and then removing my tie. I pulled the microphone free and walked to the front of the stage. “As Mrs. Fraser said I came here today to talk to you about a very important topic. One that isn’t easy to talk about or even to think about sometimes. But that just makes it even more important to me.” I walked down the stairs. “If you will be patient with me, I want to tell you a story. It might take a while since my wife says I talk too much, but I hope you will listen.” I paused briefly as if giving them a chance to decide, then continued, “It’s a story of a young boy about the same age as some of you. This young boy was in the fifth grade and his father had just moved him and his older brother to a new town. You see his father was in the Army so they moved around a lot. And it was hard to make friends when you were always the new kid. They didn’t have a lot of money either, but the young boy was always dressed in clothes that were neat, clean, and looked they had been ironed that morning.

“From the first day this young boy showed up in school he had a look on his face. He always looked like he was mad at someone. And since he didn’t know anyone, it was assumed that he would be mean to everyone. As the days wore on he proved that he really could be mean to anyone and everyone. He didn’t just ignore the other kids – even those who tried to include him or be nice to him. He seemed to go out of his way to not be nice. Your teachers tell you about respecting others and being nice, but this boy didn’t respect anyone and he was rarely nice.

“We all remember the guidelines of being nice that we learn from our parents. Simple manners like holding the door, or saying please and thank you. This boy would close the door on other kids and he never said please or thank you. And when no one invited him to join in their sports games or just having fun, he seemed to get even meaner. He wasn’t a big kid, but he knew how to throw a punch. One that might not give you a black eye, but it would definitely take your breath away.

“He was always quick to pick a fight with someone, even the older kids if he thought he could win. I remember how he would wait in the park in the morning and if you happened to walk near, he would make you pay for it. And if you didn’t have lunch money then he would use his fists to remind you to have money the next time. There was one other boy whose family didn’t have a lot of money, but he was afraid of this boy so he started to make an extra sandwich or would just go hungry hoping food would be a good substitute for money. Some days it was, but most days he just got hit . . .

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

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Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

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An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 6 days to go!

eljExcerpt:-

Sitting in the school hall, I fiddle with the ties on my dress, waiting for the rest of the classes to come in. The Year 6 children are last, and they’re allowed to sit on benches at the back of the hall—that will be me next year.

Assembly time is most definitely the most boring part of the school day… ask anyone. We have to walk in single file with our ‘silent voices’—which is ridiculous really, as it isn’t a voice at all if it’s silent, is it… someone ought to tell the teachers this—we have to sit in silence, and then we have to look at the front, and only the front, where our head teacher stands with her hands clasped in front of her.

I’m sitting next to Jack, a boy in my class. He was new just before we broke up for the holidays, so I don’t know him very well. I do, however, know that he smells a bit funny, like a sausage pan or something, so I try not to turn in his direction, just in case I get a whiff of him. Daisy, my best friend, is sitting next to me on the other side which is a bit of a treat really, as we’re not usually allowed to sit together because we talk too much.

Apparently.

I don’t actually agree, because I don’t talk very much to anyone at all. Daisy does all the talking. In fact, she talks to whomever she sits next to, not just me.

“Good morning, children.” Mrs Harris’ voice booms across the hall and makes me jump.

“Good morning, Mrs Harris, and good morning everybody.” The whole school choruses together in whiny, sing-song unison that makes me cringe every single morning.

“We have a visitor in our assembly this morning, who has come from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to talk to you about something very important.”

My interest is piqued momentarily as I hadn’t noticed the stranger sitting on the chair near the front, and I flick my eyes over to him to see if I can guess his name. It’s a game I like to play in my head. I’m usually quite good at it.

“So, I’d like you to sit up straight and give our visitor, David, a warm welcome.”

Damn. I thought it might have been Paul, or John.

Mrs H nods towards the stranger who smiles at her politely and gets up from his chair, walking slowly but animatedly to the front of the hall. He claps his hands in front of him and bends slightly at the waist, glaring at all of us with an almost manic grin plastered across his face. “Good morning, children. I’m David, and I would like to tell you a story.”

Well that’s just great.

Whole school stories are usually completely babyish and geared for the reception children, so when he starts with ‘once upon a time’ I pretty much switch off, and as time ticks along, I become increasingly anxious for the whole thing to be finished so that we can go out to play. My attention is jolted, though, when Daisy elbows me and whispers in my ear.

“Can you smell him from here? ‘Cause I can.”

I frown and look at her. “Who? David?”

“Burger Boy.”

“Who?”

“Jack… Burger Boy. He stinks of burgers all the time. Can you smell him?”

I glance towards Jack who is listening attentively to The Storyteller, and I discretely inhale deeply to see if I can actually smell him today.

“Not really.”

“Eurgh. Well I can, even from here. You must have a cold or something.”

“So… can anyone give me a definition of what they think bullying is?” David’s question has nearly the whole school sitting up straight, their hands shooting in the air and their hands flapping whilst they hyperventilate in an attempt to get his attention and answer the question. There is some lame sticker involved, or an ironically pointless house point, for the person who answers correctly.

“Yes. What’s your name?” He points to Jack. Burger boy…

“Jack.”

“Okay, Jack… go ahead.”

Jack looks down at his fingers that are entwined in his lap and lifts his huge eyes up to look at the visitor. “Well, it’s when someone is unkind to another person, but not just once. It’s when it happens over and over again by the same person, to the same person, making them feel sad, or hurt, or… worthless.” His voice is a little croaky, like when you first wake up and before you have had a chance to talk to anyone. I wonder if it’s the first time he has talked to anyone today… surely not.

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

btc-instagram-sized

Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

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An Excerpt from Break The Cycle… 14 days to go!

sml
Excerpt:

“So he finally acknowledged something is wrong, but he didn’t suggest you should do anything about it?” My colleague Ruby is stood with me in the English office the morning after, scanning me for telltale signs of rage.

“He flat out said we should leave it until Joe is ready to tell us what’s going on.”

“Oh dear.” She reads my exasperation. “Listen… Jules. Joe is his son.”

I flash her my eyes. Has she forgotten about the things Joe and me have been through together? He’s as much my son as my twins are. I care about Joe just the same.

“Ruby.” I turn myself fully towards her, putting my cup of tea on the worktop, my hands free to make sweeping movements to enforce my passion on this. “It’s something in my gut, telling me there’s something wrong. I don’t know, but when it comes to kids, I just–”

She steps forward and holds my hand. “I know. You’re right back there, to the day you got battered and left all alone, in the dark. I know you want to protect him from the same things that happened to you.”

I focus on her eyes, which are watering. She feels my pain, even though she’s never had to deal with the same pain herself.

“Jules,” she whispers, softly stroking the back of my hand, “Joe is different. He’s Warrick’s son for a start and he’s definitely tougher than you imagine. I think Warrick’s right. I think he’ll tell you when the time’s right. He knows you’re there for him.”

“This is the thing,” I say fast, “he knows we’re here for him, and he’s still not telling us. He knows we’re not judgy, he knows that.”

“Give it another week, maybe?”

I throw my head back, groaning. “Torture.”

“One week.”

I smile wryly. “Rubes, you know how many cheesecakes I can eat in a week, right?”

“Unfortunately I do, and I also know that while you’ll maybe put on a pound, I’d put on a couple of stone comfort eating in the same manner as you.”

I pick my teacup off the counter, anticipating the bell for the first lesson, which I’m taking today.

“You and Rick had better have cheesecake for me at every fucking stop this week,” I grumble, and walk away.

As I take the corridor, I try to wriggle the anxiety out of my heavy shoulders and neck, but it’s not working.

Deep, deep, deep breaths, I remind myself, sucking in vital oxygen, trying to remember my breathing exercises of old.

Walking into a classroom full of kids, there’s suddenly nothing else to think about other than controlling thirty teenagers for the next two hours.

*

Dinnertime is no different today. Joe’s being quiet over his pasta and salad. Warrick’s knackered. The twins are lobbing pasta shells at one another and I’m focusing on the baked, New York-style cheesecake waiting for me in the fridge.

“Frrrr–” A sort of grumble erupts from me and the boys all look at me. I was going to say something mad like flipping tell me what is wrong Joe! but I guess, I stopped myself.

“Jules?”

“Something stuck in my throat,” I excuse myself, reaching for a glass of water.

Joe finishes his meal and excuses himself from the table before I can even think of another way to broach this. Once his son’s locked himself away upstairs, Warrick gives me a look and I say nothing. What is there to say?

I promised Ruby I would give this a week…

*Jules and Warrick feature in two of Sarah’s earlier novels but this is brand-new material.

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

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Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

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Excerpt from The Fix, Nightlong Book #2

nightlong2As the orangery filled, I counted at least double the audience I had last time.

I had also got rid of my skirt and blouse combo in favour of a tight latex dress. No point in hiding what I was.

“Good afternoon, ladies.”

“Afternoon,” they replied collectively.

“Apologies that I missed a couple of sessions, but I had to go out of the country for something that required my immediate attention. You’ll be glad to know I’m back now and going nowhere.”

I hated talking publicly; it felt like I was talking to myself.

They all smiled politely in response, eager for the lesson to begin.

“So last time I talked with you all about safe words and my colleagues have informed me that you’ve since covered ropes and spreader bars, am I right?”

Some nodded, while other women mentally groaned. I saw it amongst them.

I grabbed my whip and flipped the whiteboard over in a flash, showing the rear side. When I cracked my whip against the board, to point at what I’d written there, half of them jumped at the sound I made.

Half of them stared at the word I’d written down.

“Fear,” I said, repeating what was on the board.

Claire the square put her hand up.

“Yes, Claire.”

“What about fear?”

I cracked the whip against the board again and a couple of ladies still jumped. I zeroed in on one particular lady, asking, “Why you do fear this? I was introduced to the whip when I was thirteen. I’ve used it as a resource to teach horses. Why do you jump at my use of it?”

Claire the square put her hand up but I ignored her and waited for the jumpy woman to answer me. Eventually she said, “It sounds harsh and it looks painful and it’s… something I’ve never handled before. It’s foreign.”

“Yes, we fear what’s foreign. Don’t we ladies?”

Many of them nodded in agreement.

“For many people in the BDSM world however, they use the dynamics of dominatrix/sub or male dom and sub to face their fears, even explore them. When I said the safe word doesn’t always protect both partners, I meant it. Our heads vault off somewhere else when we’re aroused and engaged in a fantasy. We all know, the fantasy has the potential to go wrong.”

“So what are you saying?” It was a feisty looking blonde glamazon on the front row who spoke up without raising her hand.

“Fear is what you must play on if you are to become dominant. Find their fears and extract them, then explore them. BDSM doesn’t have to involve the giving or receiving of extreme pain to win submission. Fear of the unknown alone engages the sub to submit. Put a collar on them, or their bonds, and they know their place. What I’m saying is… rather than have your men addicted to pain, why not have them addicted to you instead? If they don’t submit, they face the potential loss of your love and men fear the loss of their woman. It’s what they fear more than anything. So through fear, extract their innermost desires, make them your slave and reward them heartily when they do exactly as you say.”

I looked around and spotted many scribbling wildly in their notebooks.

“How do we start?” Glamazon asked again, no hand in the air.

“First, you find your confidence.”

Many groaned as if that was something they found hard – or impossible.

A woman at the back stuck her hand in the air and I nodded for her to speak.

“But all of you here are stunning, like models. We’re just ordinary.”

“Everyone is ordinary, until they become extraordinary,” Amber said, walking to the front to stand next to me.

While I wore a latex dress, Amber wore a navy, lace-overlay playsuit.

“Confidence is simply believing that when you walk down the street, you don’t need a man to notice you to know you look good. Looking good comes from within. It’s not anti-feminist to treat yourself, or to look after yourself, so that you look good. You’re doing it for yourselves. You have to make your men worship you. Be aloof… be cool… be mysterious. Be unreadable, be hard to get. Make them work for you. Challenge them. Surprise them. Wear styles you’ve never worn before, try out new shades but for god sake, above all else, feel comfortable in what you wear and remember that he loves you, not labels or expensive toiletries. He loves you. And if he doesn’t love you, he’s not worth it and there’ll be another guy out there desperate to submit and worship you.”

“How do we surprise them?” one lady asked. “Some of us have been married a long frickin’ time.”

I suppressed my laughter, noticing many others were amused, and I took over from where Amber left off, telling the audience, “Does he have a favourite fragrance of yours? Maybe one you wore in the early days? If so, spray it on his handkerchief and pop it in his pocket. Spray it on a pair of knickers and pop those in his pocket. Even better, have some fun while wearing the knickers and pop them in his pocket, unwashed. Show him that you don’t necessarily need him to find pleasure. It’s your gift to him that he gets to pleasure you. You are the goddess and he’s your slave. He needs direction, not you. You know your body and he needs help in knowing it too . . .”

The Fix releases November 1st.

Visit Amazon to download book one: Here

Visit Amazon to pre-order book two: Here

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Pre-order Dom Diaries Now + Excerpt

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RELEASING MAY 3RD

Blurb

The Sub Rosa Trilogy uncovered the dark secrets beneath the lies. But what about the story beyond the mystery?

In this companion novel, TV presenter turned magazine editor Carl Sorensen has his say in these diaries chronicling his journey from a lost soul betrayed by all the women he loves – to a true, dedicated dom determined to lead a better life.

His uncensored confessions reveal all the dirty secrets that eventually put him on the same path as the woman who would become his wife.

Ultimately, what makes a dom and more importantly, WHO makes a dom?

Be prepared to have your belief system shaken up all over again.

Reading Order:

UNBIND (Book 1) : http://mybook.to/unbind

UNFURL (Book 2) : http://mybook.to/unfurl

UNLEASH (Book 3) : http://mybook.to/unleash

DOM DIARIES (a companion) : http://mybook.to/domdiaries

AUTHOR NOTE

I have a word or two of warning:

This book contains lots of major spoilers for the Sub Rosa series. I highly recommend reading the trilogy first otherwise you will not be as emotionally invested as you pick up this book.

Rather than adding to the series, this complements if nothing else, but does contain a couple of little added twists.

Rather than rehash the trilogy, Carl’s diaries highlight the pivotal points of his life, when he’s either desperately in agony or ecstatically happy.

Once again:

You have been warned. Read the trilogy first.

Happy reading.

Sarah x

 

EXCERPT

AUGUST 1, 2008

11.01 p.m. HOME. Since Marie started taking me to her friend’s dungeon, everything has changed. I’ve had my eyes opened. I’ve… been educated. Let me go back to the first night, and then I’ll tell you (dear diary) what has happened since…

It was a Saturday night, the day after July 4th. Hot. Sticky. She told me to wear normal clothes because costumes would be provided at the door.

We walked through an old, stately apartment building in Gramercy and I was led through a home furnished in paisley and dominated by polished glass, with all the walls in walnut and beige. Soon enough we found ourselves waiting before an invisible entrance, wallpaper hiding the joins of a hidden door.

We walked through into an entirely different world of dark wood and leather, of latex and naked flesh. High human scents mixed with hard materials – it was a heady combination. The smell of fresh pussy already had me filling my pants.

We were led to a cloakroom of sorts and passed our costumes, so to speak. Marie was given a black cloak which tied at the front to conceal her entire body. I was given a pair of black, silk pants.

In a small changing room together, I watched as she stripped to her bare skin and pulled on just the cloak. I did the same, wearing only the silk pants.

‘So far so good?’ she asked me.

I merely raised my brow and smiled.

‘Good,’ she replied, ‘now remember what I said, this is a pain-free dungeon. Just playing. None of the equipment here is for pain. It’s all kid’s plasticky stuff. We make this up as we go along.’

I nodded and we placed our normal clothes in a wicker locker outside the door.

We were led down a wooden staircase into what I presumed was a basement. Each step I took made the steps creak beneath my feet. I was aware this was shabby chic; shabby full stop.

Down in the thick of it, I was surprised to see men and women chatting idly, sat around on wooden benches with a drink in their hand. There were a couple of male waiters handing out drinks, dressed in leather chaps with just a strip of a thong protecting their modesty.

A woman dressed in one of the black cloaks called for everyone’s attention and said, ‘Usual rules apply. No real names. No facts. No intercourse. No pain. No other rules. Enjoy.’

A door was opened into another room and I realized the one we were in was but an antechamber.

Marie tipped her champagne glass against mine and clinked. ‘Don’t you drink, Carl?’

‘I don’t actually.’ It was funny. I wouldn’t have admitted that, had I not known that what went on in the dungeon, no doubt stayed in the dungeon.

‘More for me,’ she grinned, taking my glass for herself.

We walked towards the doorway where the real festivities took place and for a brief moment, I felt like all these doorways were passageways into either prison or freedom. I was hoping for the latter.

Before we went into the real dungeon, one of the waiters marked my shoulder with an ultraviolet pen so I bore a clear, “L” on my skin.

‘Learner,’ whispered Marie, ‘so that people know. Stick with me.’

We walked indoors, finally, to be greeted by what seemed to be instruments of torture but were absolutely toys. Many more women than men were in charge and as we passed through and observed, I heard a few of the men groan as their partners humiliated and stroked their bodies with playful torture instruments such as ticklers, fake riding crops and mostly, their own boots.

‘What would your dom do to you?’ I whispered in Marie’s ear.

She looked up into my eyes from her smaller stature and giggled. ‘I’ll show you.’

She led me to an oversized wooden chair, the like you see people electrocuted in. She asked me to fasten the wrist and ankle holds, which I did.

‘My safe word is deluxe,’ she says, ‘which basically means I’m premium and ready to finish.’

I grinned. ‘Do I need one?’

‘No, not unless you would like to be dominated.’

‘Never.’

‘Okay, then.’

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