Q & A with Author Tessa Robertson @authoringtessa


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: September 20, 2017

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Genre: Thriller 

Blurb: 

What would you do if the mystery to your mother’s death lay with your employer? 


After years of unanswered questions, Mishka Vald sets out to uncover the skhodka’s involvement in her past. What she doesn’t expect is to join forces with men who push her to become a double-agent and confirm her future. While hunting down leads, the ruthless assassin realizes a life in the shadows is the only way for her to protect those she loves.   


For Mishka, forbidden love is worth the pain when it comes to Eddie Harper, a military man turned cop. Her affection waivers when duty comes first and she joins forces with an elite Russian soldier, Alexei Petrovich. With a blackmailer threatening her school love, she seeks refuge with a fellow assassin, Nickolas Volkov. And when pushed too far, she’s ushered to a secure location…and straight into the arms of mysterious handyman, Dylan Kain. As the pieces fall into place, their mangled order reveals each man’s true intention. Whose deceit can she accept and whose will obliterate her? 


All roads lead back to the woman she thought dead—her mother. Now, as weddings are crashed and alliances tested, Mishka uncovers a deadly game and the players involved. Her heart, once unable to budge, is thrust into action, but which man can keep her soul intact?

Happy Saturday everyone! I have a fabulous interview with Author Tessa Robertson to share today. 
1. What’s a typical writing day for you look like? Describe your perfect writing environment. 

For me, writing happens when I least suspect it. Sometimes, it’s while I’m at my day job (shh don’t tell) and other times it’s right before I go to bed at night. My perfect environment is a light rainstorm outside while I sit on my favorite chaise by the window. Of course, writing wouldn’t be complete without my two cats and two dogs on my lap somehow.


2. How did you get started writing? Was it something that you’ve always loved? 

I’ve always been interested in creating stories ever since I was a child. As the youngest child for six years, it wasn’t uncommon for me to play outside by myself with imaginary characters and go on great adventures. When I was seventeen, I wrote my first full length novel. I didn’t get serious about writing as a profession until a few years ago. 


3. Who are your favorite writers/inspirations? 

I absolutely love Jane Austen’s works. There’s so much spirit in her works that led me to strive to write something memorable. I also love Maya Banks and her Scottish series because who doesn’t love a man in a kilt?


4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects? 

I am in the process of writing my sequel to Assassin By Day. I hope to have it completed and to the publisher by fall. I also have another book I’d like to bring to Crooked Cat, but it needs editing. Lots and lots of it.


5. Normally how do you develop plots/characters? Brief us on your process. 

Typically, I start to write what I feel. At times, the characters come from personal experience or the result of people watching. I try to include characteristics different from your normal characters so they’re more like life. Sometimes, that means pushing the envelope. For Assassin By Day, I didn’t plot much until I went back through to edit. The plot charts helped me tie the plots and relationships together and keep tabs on what I wanted the next few books to look like. 


6. Favorite character from one of your own novels? 

Definitely Mishka Vald. She’s a kickass assassin who’s been through hell, but somehow still finds room in her heart to love. 


7. Preferred method for readers to contact you? 

I’m very active on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, so I would go there first. I also have a website readers can subscribe to get news about upcoming events and my blog insights. https://authortessarobertson.wordpress.com/


8. On average, how long does it take you to write a book? 

Assassin By Day took about two months to write, but much longer to edit since I changed quite a few things along the way. On average, from pen to final product, I’d estimate a good 4-5 months if I’m just working on that project. That doesn’t happen too often, though.


10. Which one of your characters do you relate to the most?

 I’m going to go with Mishka again. I created her to be a combination of myself and I can relate to a few situations she goes through in the book. I don’t want to give away too many details, but she’s my spirit animal in many ways. 


11. If writing wasn’t your career what would you be doing? 

Well, right now I’m only writing part-time. I’d love to be full-time someday. When I’m not writing, I work as a paralegal at a law firm. Criminal cases are my favorite. 


12. What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about your work? 

The best compliment thus far is ‘I couldn’t put it down and lost sleep to finish the book’. 

Huge thanks to Tessa for joining me today! ❤️

#CoverReveal Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan @Lisalregan @bookouture

Happy Friday everyone!! I’m so thrilled to be helping to reveal the cover for Vanishing Girls today! First, here’s some information about the book. 

She was close enough to see that the girl had written a word on the wall in bright, warm red blood. Not a word, actually. A name…

 

Everyone in the small American town of Denton is searching for Isabelle Coleman, a missing seventeen-year-old girl. All they’ve found so far is her phone and another girl they didn’t even know was missing.

 

Mute and completely unresponsive to the world around her, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Detective Josie Quinn can get from her is a name: Ramona.

 

Currently suspended from the force for misconduct, Josie takes matters into her own hands as the name leads her to evidence linking the two girls. She knows the race is on to find Isabelle alive, and she fears there may be others…  

 

The trail leads Josie to another victim, a girl who escaped but whose case was labelled a hoax by authorities. To catch this monster, Josie must confront her own nightmares and follow her instinct to the darkest of places. But can she make it out alive?

 

Fans of Angela Marsons, Helen Fields and Robert Dugoni will be utterly gripped and sleeping with the lights on once they discover the first in this unputdownable new crime thriller series.

Oohh this sounds SO good, right?! 


I love the cover and that tag line is awesome!! It’s out January 17, 2018 but you can preorder it on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

About the Author: 


Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Find out more at her website: http://www.lisaregan.com
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Blog Tour: The Little Village Christmas by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: October 17, 2017

Publisher: Avon

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

Alexia Kennedy – interior decorator extraordinaire – has been tasked with giving the little village of Middledip the community café it’s always dreamed of.


After months of fundraising, the villagers can’t wait to see work get started – but disaster strikes when every last penny is stolen. With Middledip up in arms at how this could have happened, Alexia feels ready to admit defeat.


But help comes in an unlikely form when woodsman, Ben Hardaker and his rescue owl Barney, arrive on the scene. Another lost soul who’s hit rock bottom, Ben and Alexia make an unlikely partnership.


However, they soon realise that a little sprinkling of Christmas magic might just help to bring this village – and their lives – together again…


Settle down with a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine as you devour this irresistibly festive Christmas tale. The perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

I’m so delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Little Village Christmas today!


Review: 

What an enchanting, heartwarming read this one was! I’ve heard so many great things about Sue Moorcroft’s books from many of my blogger buddies and when I heard she was not only releasing a new book, but a Christmas one I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to try one of her novels. Delightfully fun and touching, this is the perfect read for those days where you want to cuddle up and read something that’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy. 

Alexia and Ben were both the type of characters that you form an immediate connection with, they’re both extremely likable and realistic. Both of them are at a sort of crossroads in their lives, Ben has recently separated from his wife and there’s a mystery surrounding that whole situation that intrigued me right up until the end and Alexia has plans to move out of the village and start a new life in the city. Besides being realistic Ben was also adorably quirky, he has a soft spot for animals and is helping an injured owl, there’s some really swoon worthy moments with him and the romance was tender and sweet.

The location is fabulous, I adore a quaint little English village as a setting and Middledip surely provides that. There is a strong sense of community spirit when the residents rally around Alexia and Gabe after disaster strikes and they’re conned, it had some great feel good parts that made me sigh with happiness. The bulk of the story takes place in the weeks leading up to Christmas so it’s not all mistletoe and carols, you could indulge in the one at any time of the year! 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

About the Author: 


Award winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. The Wedding Proposal, Dream a Little Dream and Is This Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.

The Christmas Promise was a Kindle No.1 Best Seller and held the No.1 slot at Christmas!

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.

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Throwback Thursday: Under the Knife by Kelly Parsons #TBT


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Medical Thriller

Blurb:

From the author of Doing Harm, a thriller in which a grieving, vengeful husband stalks the surgeon he blames for his wife’s untimely death.


Morgan Finney, a biotechnology tycoon, is a shy, highly intelligent but socially awkward and emotionally fragile man. It was his wife, Jenny, with whom he connected and who enabled him to connect with others. When Jenny dies of complications during a surgery led by Dr. Rita Wu, Finney’s grief turns to rage. He vows to kill Rita just as he believes she killed his wife. But first he will systematically destroy her life. Aided by a mysterious man named Sebastian, Finney uses advanced medical technology to brainwash Rita. He tricks her into ruining her reputation and brings her to the brink of madness. Alone, fighting for her sanity and life, Rita reaches out to ex-lover Dr. Spencer Cameron. Together they uncover Finney’s horrific intentions and race to stop him.

Review: 

I’m joining in again with Throwback Thursday which was created by my good friend Renee at It’s Book Talk. She started this weekly feature as a way to highlight old favorites and read books that have already been published. I have so many older books on my TBR that get ignored in favor of review copies and I figure participating in Throwback Thursday will help me to read at a least one older title a week!

I haven’t read many medical thrillers and I’m not sure exactly why because the few I’ve read I really enjoyed! There’s something terrifying about the plausibility of these types of books, the idea that it really could actually happen that makes for such a compelling read. 

While the initial premise for this was a bit far fetched, (crazy grieving husband turns psycho and takes extreme measures to get revenge on his wife’s surgeon) the actual medical advances seem like something that could possibly happen. It all revolves around an auto surgeon which is basically a super advanced robot that can perform an actual operation on its own. There’s also brainwashing and this totally creeped me out and made for such a sinister read. 

Parsons is a solid writer and I really liked that he clearly has a medical background, it was evident in the use of procedures and medical terminology, but it was all basic enough that it wasn’t confusing for an average reader like me. The story unfolds through four separate viewpoints; Rita the surgeon, Finney the grieving husband, Sebastian who works for Finney and Spencer another surgeon who is also Rita’s ex. The pacing was fast and very intense, as it reached the end the narratives really started to blend together seamlessly and became exciting and unbelievably tense. This would be great for fans of standard thrillers who are looking for something different!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

Review: If You Knew My Sister by Michelle Adams


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: October 3, 2017

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Psychological Thriller 

Blurb:

In the vein of Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood comes a novel of psychological suspense form debut author Michelle Adams, where a woman returns to her family’s home to learn the truth and escape her sister’s influence


If you knew my sister, you’d run too…


First there was the Robert Kneel incident.

Then what happened to Margot Wolfe.

And now she’s found me again.


Dr. Irini Harringford was given away by her parents just before her fourth birthday. Although she has spent her whole life trying to convince herself she doesn’t need them, deep down Irini longs to understand why she was abandoned, while her parents kept her older sister, Elle.


So when Elle gets in touch with news that their mother has died, Irini reluctantly agrees to return to the family home. But she is ill at ease. She and Elle are not close. Irini knows only too well what Elle is capable of. Inexplicably drawn to her enigmatic sister, yet terrified of the sway she holds, Irini tries to protect herself even as she is sucked back into her family’s toxic web of secrets…and soon realizes that the past is more complicated than she imagined, and that her very future rests upon discovering the truth about why she was really given away.


Review: 

Ahh sister relationships never fail to intrigue me, especially messy ones and Irini and Elle have one of the most complex relationships I’ve read about in awhile. Irini was sent to live with relatives when she was just three and she has no idea why, so when her mother dies and Elle summons her back home the idea of finally finding out some answers is too much for her to resist. Elle is toxic, manipulative and calculating but she is Irini’s sister and her hold on her is very strong. 

I was dying to learn exactly why Irini was sent away and to find out if Elle was really as crazy as Irini remembered, there was definitely that sense of uneasiness about both women throughout. Elle is clearly unbalanced but there were times that something about Irini seemed off as well. There was a heavy ominous undertone, something sinister and creepy lurking around that I really liked, it messed with my head in the best possible way. Put that together with really strong writing and I’m super impressed it was Adams debut, she has a subtle, nuanced style that worked really well for me.

There was something intoxicating about this book, it almost had me in a hypnotic state while I was reading it, I was that captivated by it. Despite it being a true psychological thriller I found it to be heavy on the psychological aspect and pretty light on the thriller part, but that did not in any way stop my enjoyment of this one. I actually think it further enhanced my experience and forced me to savor this read instead of rushing through it like I sometimes do in a twisty, fast paced thriller.  

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

Review: Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: October 17, 2017

Publisher: Berkley 

Genre: Contemporary Fiction 

Blurb:

A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays… 


It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter–who is usually off saving the world–will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family. 


For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity–and even decent Wi-Fi–and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems. 


As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down. 


In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…

Review: 

This had the exact type of premise that intrigues me, I love reading about families, especially when there’s secrets involved and add in a little dysfunction and I’m all in! I adore my own family but being locked in a house for a whole week together sounds pretty scary and we’re not nearly as screwed up as the Birch family. 

It’s told from every single family members perspective and I loved getting to see how each of them interpreted the same situations differently. Emma is the mom and while they all have secrets hers is a pretty major one. Andrew is the dad and he’s honestly pretty awful, he’s snobby, pretentious and  detached as a father. Olivia is the oldest daughter, she’s a doctor and she comes off reserved and pretty cold and then there’s Phoebe the youngest, she’s basically a huge  spoiled brat. I liked Jesse the most, he seemed to be the most down to earth and I usually gauge my likability of characters by who I would want to hang out with and he wins hands down. Overall a large cast of unlikable people that would’ve saved themselves SO much drama had they simply talked to each other, but where’s the fun in that?! 

This was a really entertaining read if kind of ridiculous at times. The behavior of the Birch family ranged from appalling to mildly amusing and I was hoping for more sharp humor but instead it was more emotional than I think the blurb described it to be and definitely not exactly what I was expecting. The writing was solid though and it was fairly fast paced making it an easy read, this would actually be perfect to read over the holidays to escape your own crazy family! If you like books like The Nest you would enjoy this one, I had really similar thoughts/feelings on both of those books, a mixed bag where I can’t really say I loved or hated it, but I would say I mostly enjoyed it despite a few minor issues. 

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?! #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

What I Read Last Week: 


Delaney is the first in a new series from an author I really enjoy!

The Blackbird Season was an eerily atmospheric read, slow burning but great tension.

Snare was a really original read, I loved it!

I LOVE Sue Watson books and Snowflakes didn’t disappoint!


Christmas at Butterfly Cove was an adorable read.
Currently Reading: 


I’m making my way through my backlog of Netgalley books so Under the Knife is my TBT pick this week!

Up Next:



I’m not sure what else I’ll pick this week, I had a few books published on the 3 and 10 of this month that I didn’t get too so definitely some of those! 

I had such a great vacation, we went to California and hit Sea World, Legoland and had a beach day our last day there. My kids had a total blast, my husband and I did too but we both agree we need a separate adults only vacation to recuperate now 😂 Vacations with small kids are so much work y’all! My kids started asking how much longer within the first hour of an eight hour drive. 🙄 Then there’s so much stuff to pack and then unpacking and laundry totally sucks too. Fall break is officially over today and I can’t say I’m sad to send them back to school and get a little quiet time for a few hours. While I’m ranting, WTF is up with fall break anyway?! That wasn’t a thing back in my day. It seems like my kids are always off for something or other. Sigh. I do love my kids, honest I just love them more when we have a little break 😜 

^^Sorry, that was rather ranty and not remotely related to reading/books but now that I’m back home and into my usual routine I’m so looking forward to catching up on my backlog. How was your week?! Anyone else suffer through fall break too? 

Review: Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @bookouture


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: October 13, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

There are some secrets you can never tell.


The last thing to go through Dominique Thomas’s head was the image of her teenage daughter’s face and her heart lifted. Then the shot rang out.


They were the perfect family. Successful businessman Ben Thomas and his wife Dominique live an enviable life, along with their beautiful children; teenager Ruby and quirky younger daughter, Mouse. 


But on Christmas Day the police are called to their London home, only to discover a horrific scene; the entire family lying lifeless, victims of an unknown assailant. 


But when Ruby’s diary is discovered, revealing her rage at the world around her, police are forced to look closer to home for the key to this tragedy.


Each family member harboured their own dark truths – but has keeping their secrets pushed Ruby to the edge of sanity? Or are there darker forces at work?


This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated. 

 I’m so excited to be one of the stops on the blog blitz for Her Last Secret today!


Review:

Right from the start of this one you already know something horrific has happened, but you don’t know the details, just that the Thomas family is shattered, and on Christmas Day of all days. This is told mostly through flashbacks starting about a week before Christmas, then there are a handful of chapters told from a police officers point of view when he arrives at the families home after tragedy strikes. Every single family member gets to tell their version of events and while most of them were pretty unlikable, I was still highly invested in their lives, and I did have a huge soft spot for Mouse, the youngest member of the family. She was such a dear, quirky little girl and I really wanted to take her away from the craziness of her family and keep her safe. 

This seemingly picture perfect family is anything but and they all have secrets they’re desperate to keep which made me suspicious and unsure of what exactly was going on. All of the characters are really well drawn and I really liked that Copperthwaite took the time to not only make these people come to life, but she gave them various problems and issues that were believable and really relevant today. 

This was a not one of those action packed, tense psychological thrillers but rather one that was character driven and relied on a simmering, more subtle tension that increased as you get closer to the end. The conclusion was shocking especially since you’re already acutely aware that something awful happened but there were still plenty of surprises that were unpredictable and I really couldn’t have guessed what truly happened in the end. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 
About the Author:


What people say about Barbara’s books:

“Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,” Sunday Mirror 

“Enthralling, tense and moving,” Real People magazine 

“Totally gripping, and scarily believable,” Bella magazine


Barbara is the author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Both have been Amazon best sellers. She is also the author of THE DARKEST LIES, and her latest book HER LAST SECRET is out on 13 October.


Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.


When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs. 

Extract: The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland @ShaliniBoland @bookouture


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: November 9, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

‘Are you my mummy?’ 


Tessa Markham comes home to find a little boy in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.  


Not anymore. 


She doesn’t know who the child is or how he got there. 


After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the boy. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself… 


A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train and The Sister. 


Happy Sunday everyone, I hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend! I have a fantastic extract from The Secret Mother to share with you today!

THE SECRET MOTHER

By

Shalini Boland

Chapter One

The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things.

It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet.

Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before.

Almost home.

My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.

At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead.

Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house?

I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more.

Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe.

Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair.

He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment.

‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.

I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’

‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains.

‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’

‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’

Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears.

‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’

His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks.

‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’

‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter.

‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.

‘The angel.’

I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’

‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’

‘The angel?’

He nods.

I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’

‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’

I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere.

‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes.

Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’

‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’

I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’

‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’

My heart squeezes at his politeness.

‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’

‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate, so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’

He grins and slides off the stool.

What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry.

He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.

‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’

‘Oh, okay.’

‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’

He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice.

‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary.

‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’

‘What? Now?’

‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’

‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’

‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him?

‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making.

‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’

His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’

‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’

My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from?

I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here.

‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes.

‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’

He eagerly does as I ask.

‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’

He stares at the pans in the drawer.

‘Harry?’ I prompt.

‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction.

‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’

No reply.

‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’

‘No.’

‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’

He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.

‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can.

He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’

I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’

‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers.

‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’

He nods vigorously and sniffs.

I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?

And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine.

I don’t have a child. Not any more.

 Oohhh doesn’t this sound amazing?! I know it’s sure hooked me. 

Blog Blitz: Christmas at Butterfly Cove by Sarah Bennett @Sarahlou_writes @NeverlandBT


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: October 6, 2017

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

All she wants for Christmas…

When talented artist Nee Sutherland returns to Butterfly Cove for her sister’s wedding, it’s only a matter of time before she has to face her own bridegroom – Luke Spenser – the man she impulsively married, then left in the middle of the night.

Nee hasn’t picked up her paintbrushes in months, a part of her is broken. She knows Luke might never forgive her, leaving him was the biggest mistake of her life – but could coming home for Christmas be the best decision she’s ever made?

Maybe all she needs is a little Christmas miracle…

A delightfully feel-good festive romance, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd.

I’m absolutely delighted to be helping with the weekend blitz for Christmas at Butterfly Cove today!


Review:

This is the third and final book in a series, I read the second, Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove and found it to be such a fun, engaging and lighthearted read. This book focuses on Nee, the first two focused on her sisters, Mia and Kiki and I was eager to learn more about her this time around. She made a brief appearance alongside her estranged husband, Luke in the previous book and it was clear they had some unresolved issues to work through…

One of my favorite things about this series and Bennett’s style is the heavy focus on strong family bonds and overall sense of hope and there was much of that here as well. These characters are all so lovely and sweet, I found myself really drawn to each and every one of them and was wishing I could meet them for real. Nee and Luke were adorable together even when they weren’t actually together and I couldn’t wait for them to both get it together and find their way to each other again. Checking in on the other couples was also a treat, Kiki and Aaron and Mia and Daniel were also endearing and oh so cute, I can’t get enough of these wonderful characters and their lives! 

This was a hopelessly romantic read as all three sisters are in love and there’s the added bonus of this being a Christmas read which always warms my heart. The setting of Butterfly Cove is charming, quaint and utterly delightful making this one cozy and sweet read that will definitely make you smile! 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and Neverland BT for my review copy. 

About the Author:


Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.


Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.


When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.


Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove trilogy, published by HQ Digital UK. You can also look forward to a new series coming in 2018, set in the beautiful seaside town of Lavender Bay.

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