Spotlight: Sorry, Bro by Taleen Voskuni


Release date: January 31, 2023

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance


An Armenian-American woman rediscovers her roots and embraces who she really is in this vibrant and heartfelt queer rom-com by debut author Taleen Voskuni.

When Nar’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance.

Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or wealthy engineer who catches her eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as equally immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so . . . sexy?

Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. The clock is ticking on Nar’s double life, though—the closing event banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds will inevitably collide, but Nar is determined to be brave, determined to claim her happiness: proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual, and proudly herself for the first time in her life.

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis


Good morning friends! Today is the paperback publication day for The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis and I wanted to share a little about the book with y’all. I love the new cover, so chic isn’t it?!


The bright lights of the theater district, the glamour and danger of 1950s New York, and the wild scene at the iconic Chelsea Hotel come together in a dazzling new novel about a twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women’s lives. Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel.

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red Scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.


Praise for The Chelsea Girls:

“Davis tells a very good story and deserves all the praise she won for her other books set in famous New York landmarks… a tale that is intricate and subtle, unpredictable and exciting.” —The Washington Post

“Davis, who has given juicy supporting roles to New York landmarks in The Masterpiece and The Address, uses Chelsea as a metaphor for the grandeur that was within reach but spirals into a much darker place.” 
—Associated Press

“Another spectacular novel… Davis needs to be celebrated for this. Sure, she gets the history right and does a magnificent job of bringing the Chelsea’s special magic to life. Beyond that, she is an exquisite writer, who captures the essence of people and times.” 
The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
“The glitz and glamour of the Chelsea Hotel provides a perfect backdrop for Davis’s story of friendship, ambition, and behind-the-scenes theatrical intrigue… both a sharp-eyed commentary on female friendship and a vivid glimpse into the life of a New York City icon.” Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“A fascinating and wholly immersive celebration of friendship, love, loyalty, and courage during a turbulent and often underrepresented period in American history… Richly detailed and transporting, historical fiction fans will love this one!” Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of When We Left Cuba

Spotlight: Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger




Release date: September 24, 2019

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA


Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.

Blog Tour: The Bridesmaid Blues by Tracey Sinclair @Thriftygal #BridesmaidBlues



Luce knows she should be thrilled when Jenna asks her to be bridesmaid – after all, they’ve known each other since childhood and Jenna is the best friend any girl could have. But it’s hard to get excited about weddings when you’re terminally single and the best man is the boy who broke your heart: Jamie, the groom’s dashing and irresistible brother. How can she face the man who dumped her when she’s still so hopelessly in love? Then again, maybe this is the perfect opportunity – after all, where better to get back together than at a wedding?

So Luce has six months to figure out how to win back her ex, but she has plenty else on her plate – from an old friend returned to Newcastle with an announcement of her own, to a youthful colleague who may or may not have a crush on her and a mother who is acting very strangely indeed… and that’s all before a mysterious, handsome American walks into her life.

Sometimes being a bridesmaid isn’t all confetti and champagne…

‘A smarter, funnier Bridget Jones’ Diary for the 2010s – great pithy writing and instantly likeable characters’ Cass Green, Sunday Times/USA Today bestselling author of In a Cottage in a Wood’

I’m so delighted to be the stop on the blog tour for The Bridesmaid Blues today, this sounds like such a fun read, I have an excerpt to share today.


Novel extract – The Bridesmaid Blues, Tracey Sinclair

Luce was late, as usual, but for once Jenna didn’t mind getting to the bar first. She needed a drink before she did this. She’d ordered their traditional bottle of white straight away and, despite her usual restraint, had already managed to gulp down a full glass and she’d only been here 10 minutes. Calm, she thought, just be calm. How bad could it be? Then again, knowing Luce, it could be very bad. Nuclear meltdown, global bio-warfare, imagine-Simon-Cowell-in-hot-pants bad. Cursing herself for own cowardice, Jenna had chosen a table at the back of the pub, so that if Luce did lose it and make a scene, at least there would be fewer witnesses.

She couldn’t believe how stressed she was. She was nearly 40 and a professional woman, for God’s sake. She managed a team of 11 people and could comfortably converse with MDs, CEOs and any number of other impressive initials. Yet here she was, desperately wishing she smoked so that her hands would have something to do other than shake. Nervously, she twisted the ring on her finger, not yet used to it being there. This is ridiculous, she told herself sternly, as she gulped down another mouthful of wine. How hard can it be to tell your best friend you’re getting married?

Pretty hard, as it turned out, although not for any of the reasons Jenna had expected. Of course, with Jenna’s best friend, things were never exactly easy, so why should this be an exception? Luce’s shrieks were so loud that half the pub’s customers were looking round to see what was happening and the staff were nervously craning their necks from behind the safety of the bar, trying to figure out whether they should be calling the police to prevent someone being murdered. And Jenna hadn’t even managed to tell her the actual information

yet. She’d got as far as “I’ve got some news” and Luce had dissolved into hysterics.

“Oh, my God!” she screeched, and Jenna was surprised that none of the glass around them broke. “Oh, my God, you’re sick, aren’t you? Is it cancer? What do the doctors say? Is there anything I can do? Oh, Jen…”

Jenna looked at her friend in sheer, open-mouthed horror. She would have been speechless had there even been a possibility of getting a word in edgeways. She watched Luce continue in this vein for several minutes, helpless to stop her. Finally, seeing an opportunity as Luce took a tear-filled breath to gear up for another round of wailing, she took her chance and jumped in.

“What are you talking about? I’m not ill!” she snapped, louder than she meant to, so that the last three remaining people in the pub who weren’t already looking at them turned around sharply to see what was going on.

“No? No! Thank God! What is it then?” Luce’s expression darkened in sudden fury. “Is Michael having an affair? That bastard, I never liked him!”

“Luce! Of course Michael isn’t having an affair! Why would you even say that?”

“God, Jen, it’s not you? I don’t believe it! Michael is so lovely! How could you?”

Jenna could feel what little patience was left to her rapidly evaporating.

“Luce, for God’s sake! No one is ill. No one is having an affair. Bloody hell. It’s good news.”

“Good news? Good news?” Luce stared at her, affronted. “Then why didn’t you say that? People say, ‘I’ve got good news.’ No one says, ‘I’ve got news’ if it’s good news. ‘Something to tell you’ is always bad!”

Jenna goggled at her friend, amazed. “Who says?”

Luce scowled at her as if she were stupid.

“It’s a universal conversational rule. News-no adjective is always bad. It’s a basic principle. That’s why people always say ‘I’ve got good news’. It’s politeness! You scared the bloody life out of me!”

Jenna took a long, deep breath and tried to banish all thoughts of violence. She loved Luce like a sister, but sometimes she was like the irritating, pigtail-pulling little sister who coloured in eye makeup on your Girls’ World styling head with indelible felt-tip pens and cut

the hair off all your Sindy dolls.

“Luce, you read way too many women’s weekly magazines. Most people, when told, ‘I’ve got something to tell you’ do not automatically start playing Guess The Tragedy.”

Luce opened her mouth to protest but Jenna put a hand up to silence her: let Luce get a word in now and that would be it for the rest of the night.

“Do I get to tell you now then, or not?”

Luce took a deep breath, flapped her hands in front of her face in an ineffectual effort to stop the tears that had sprung to her eyes at Jenna’s opening remark and nodded, in an exaggerated gesture of calm.

“Of course. Go on, I’m excited now. Really.”

Jenna sighed and sat back, taking a moment to compose herself.

“Michael proposed to me. We’re getting married in February.”

There was a long moment of stunned silence, then Luce let out a squeal so shrill that Jenna feared for the hearing of any local dogs.

“Oh! Jen! Jen! That’s great! I’m so thrilled!”

She lunged across the table and enclosed Jenna in a fierce hug, Jenna just managing to rescue the wine bottle that her friend sent spinning in her enthusiasm. Extricating herself from Luce’s embrace, she smiled, placated by her friend’s obvious delight.

“I want you to be bridesmaid, of course.”

“Of course! Of course! I’d sulk otherwise!” Luce clapped her hands in glee. “It’ll be great! Tell me all the details. I want to know everything – the proposal, the venue… show me the ring! And what are you going to wear? What am I going to wear?”

Jenna’s smile wavered. Before her best friend disappeared too far down this path, she knew she had to tell her.

“Luce… Lucy…”

“Will there be other bridesmaids? I get first choice of frock though, right? Something classy and stylish that won’t make me look fat. I mean, I’ve known you longer than anyone, I should get first say…”


“Not that I won’t go along with whatever you want, of course, but I was thinking…”

There was nothing else for it.


The use of Luce’s full name was so rare that it silenced her. She looked at Jenna suspiciously.


Jenna took a deep breath, and when she spoke her voice was carefully kind.

“Honey, Jamie will be there. He’s going to be best man.”

About the Author:

Tracey Sinclair works as a freelance writer and editor.

Her novel and collection of short stories (Doll and No Love Is This, respectively) were published by independent publisher Kennedy & Boyd, and Dark Dates is her second novel and the first in the Cassandra Bick series.

Her work has appeared online and in print in magazines as diverse as Sky, Printer’s Devil, Yours and Woman’s Weekly, and has been performed on the radio. Her first play, Bystanders, was premiered as part of the New Writing Season at Baron’s Court Theatre in 2011 and later staged at both the White Bear and Tristan Bates Theatre.

She is theatre lover and regular contributor to online theatre magazine Exeunt (

Twitter: @Thriftygal

#BlogTour Absolution by Paul Hardisty @Hardisty_Paul @Orendabooks


Release date: March 30, 2018

Publisher: Orenda

Genre: Thriller


It is 1997, eight months since vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker fled South Africa after his explosive testimony to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Paris, Rania LaTour, journalist, comes home to find that her son and her husband, a celebrated human rights lawyer, have disappeared. On an isolated island off the coast of East Africa, the family that Clay has befriended is murdered as he watches.

So begins the fourth instalment in the Claymore Straker series, a breakneck journey through the darkest reaches of the human soul, as Clay and Rania fight to uncover the mystery behind the disappearances and murders, and find those responsible. Events lead them both inexorably to Egypt, where an act of the most shocking terrorist brutality will reveal not only why those they loved were sacrificed, but how they were both, indirectly, responsible.

Relentlessly pursued by those who want them dead, they must work together to uncover the truth, and to find a way to survive in a world gone crazy. At times brutal, often lyrical, but always gripping, Absolution is a thriller that will leave you breathless and questioning the very basis of how we live and why we love.

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Absolution! I have an extract from the book to share today.



Guns and Money

26th October 1997

Latitude 6° 21′ S; Longitude 39° 13′ E, Off the Coast of Zanzibar, East Africa

Claymore Straker drifted on the surface, stared down into the living architecture of the reef and tried not to think of her. Prisms of light crazed the many-branched and plated corals, winked rain- bows from the scales of fish. Edged shadows twitched across the shoals, and for a moment dusk came, muting the colours of the sea. Floating in this new darkness, a distant echo came, hard and metallic, like the first syllables of a warning. Clay shivered, felt the cold do a random walk up his spine, seep into the big muscles across his back. He listened awhile, but as quickly as it had come, the sound was gone.

Clay blew clear his snorkel, pulled up his mask, and looked out across the rising afternoon chop, searching the horizon. Other than the weekly supply run from Stone Town, boats here were few. It was off-season and the hotel – the only establishment on the island – was closed. He could see the long arc of the island’s southern point, the terrace of the little hotel where Grace worked as caretaker, the small dock where guests were welcomed from the main island, and away on the horizon, a dark wall of rain-heavy cloud, moving fast in a freshening easterly. He treaded water, scanned the distance back toward the mainland. But all he could see were the great banks of cloud racing slantwise across the channel and the sunlight strobing over the world in thick stochastic beams, everything transient and without reference.

He’d lost track of how long he’d been here now. Long enough to fashion a sturdy mooring for Flame from a concrete block that he’d anchored carefully on the seabed. Long enough to have snor- kelled every part of the island’s coastline, to know the stark difference between the life on the protected park side, and the grey sterility of the unprotected, fished-out eastern side. Sufficient time to hope that, perhaps, finally, he had disappeared.

The sun came, fell warm on the wet skin of his face and shoulders and the crown of his head. He pulled on his mask, jawed the snor- kel’s mouthpiece and started towards the isthmus with big overhand strokes. Months at sea had left him lean, on the edge of hunger, dark- ened and bleached both so that the hair on his chest and arms and shorn across the bonework of his skull stood pale against his skin. For the first time in a long time, he was without pain. He felt strong. It was as if the trade winds had somehow cleansed him, helped to heal the scars.

As he rounded the isthmus, Flame came into view. She lay bow to the island’s western shore, straining on her mooring. He could just see the little house where Grace lived, notched into the rock on the lee side of the point, shaded by wind-bent palms and scrub acacia.

And then he heard it again.

It wasn’t the storm. Nor was it the sound of the waves pounding the windward shore. Its rhythm was far too contained, focused in a way nature could never be. And it was getting louder.

A small boat had just rounded the island’s southern point and was heading towards the isthmus. The craft was sleek, sat low in the water. Spray flew from its bow, shot high from its stern. It was some kind of jet boat – unusual in these waters, and moving fast. The boat made a wide arc, steering clear of the unmarked shoals that dangered the south end of the island, and then abruptly changed course. It was heading straight for Flame. Whoever was piloting the thing knew these waters, and was in a hell of hurry.

Clay floated low and still in the water, and watched the boat approach. It was close enough now that he could make out the craft’s line, the black stripe along the yellow hull, the long, narrow bow, the raked V of the low-swept windscreen. It was closing on Flame, coming at speed. Two black men were aboard, one standing at the controls, the other sitting further back near the engines. The man who was piloting wore sunglasses and a red shirt with sleeves cut off at heavily muscled shoulders. The other had long dreadlocks that flew in the wind.

Twenty metres short of Flame, Red Shirt cut power. The boat slowed, rose up on its own wake and settled into the water. Dread- lock jumped up onto the bow with a line, grabbed Flame’s portside mainstay and stepped aboard.

Clay’s heart rate skyed. He floated quiet in the water, his heart hammering inside his ribs and echoing back against the water. Dread- lock tied the boat alongside and stepped into Flame’s cockpit. He leaned forwards at the waist and put his ear to the hatch a moment, then he straightened and knocked as one would on the door of an apartment or an office. He waited a while, then looked back at the man in the jet boat and hunched his shoulders.

‘Take a look,’ came Red Shirt’s voice, skipping along the water, the local accent clear and unmistakable.

Dreadlock pushed back the hatch – Clay never kept it locked – and disappeared below deck. Perhaps they were looking for someone else. They could be just common brigands, out for whatever they could find. All of Clay’s valuables – his cash and passports – were in the priest hole. His weapons, too. It was very unlikely that the man would find it, so beautifully concealed and constructed was it. There was nothing else on board that could identify Clay in any way. Maybe they would just sniff around and leave.

Nine months ago, he’d left Mozambique and made his way north along the African coast. Well provisioned, he’d stayed well off- shore and lived off the ocean for weeks at a time – venturing into harbour towns or quiet fishing villages for water and supplies only 10 paul hardisty

when absolutely necessary, keeping clear of the main centres, paying cash, keeping a low profile, never staying anywhere long. He had no phone, no credit cards, and hadn’t been asked to produce iden- tification of any sort since he’d left Maputo. Then he’d come here. An isolated island off the coast of Zanzibar. He’d anchored in the little protected bay. A couple of days later Grace had rowed out in a dinghy to greet him, her eight-year-old son Joseph at the oars, her adolescent daughter in the stern, holding a basket of freshly baked bread. He decided to stay a few days. Grace offered him work doing odd jobs at the hotel – fixing a leaking pipe, repairing the planking on the dock, replacing the fuel pump on the generator. In return, she brought him meals from her kitchen, the occasional beer, cold from the fridge. He stayed a week, and then another. They became friends, and then, unintentionally, lovers. Nights he would sit in Flame’s darkened cockpit and look out across the water at the lamp- light glowing in Grace’s windows, watch her shadow moving inside the house as she put her children to bed. One by one the lights would go out, and then he’d lie under the turning stars hoping sleep would come.

After a while, he’d realised that he’d stayed too long. He’d made to leave, rowed to shore and said goodbye. Joseph had cried. Zuz just smiled. But Grace had taken him by the hand and walked him along the beach and to the rocky northern point of the island where the sea spread blue and calm back towards the main island, and she’d convinced him to stay.

But now Clay shivered, watching Dreadlock move about the sail- boat. The first drops of rain met the water, a carpet of interfering distortions.

‘Hali?’ shouted Red Shirt in Swahili from the jet boat. News? ‘No here,’ came the other man’s voice from below deck.

‘Is it his?’ said Red Shirt.

‘Don’t know.’

‘It looks like his.’ ‘Don’t know.’

‘No guns? No money?’ ‘Me say it. Nothing.’ ‘Fuck.’

‘What we do?’

‘We find him. Let’s go.’

The jet boat’s engines coughed to life with a cloud of black smoke. Dreadlock untied the line, jumped back aboard and pushed off. The boat’s bow dipped with his weight, then righted. Clay dived, watched from below as the craft made a wide circle around Flame, buffeting her with its wake, then turned for shore.

It was heading straight for Grace’s house.

Extract: Murder on the Minneapolis by Anita Davison @aria_fiction


Release date: October 1, 2016

Publisher: Aria

Genre: Historical Fiction


NEW YORK 1900.  A captivating historical drama on-board the maiden voyage of the S.S. Minneapolis featuring series character Flora Maguire. For fans of Downton Abbey.

Young governess Flora Maguire is on her way home from America on the maiden voyage of the S.S. Minneapolis with her young charge Eddy, Viscount Trent, when she discovers a dead body.

Unconvinced when the death is pronounced an accident, Flora starts asking questions, but following threats, a near drowning and a second murder, the hunt is on for a killer. Time is running out as the Minneapolis approaches the English coast.

Will Flora be able to protect Eddy, as well as herself?

Is her burgeoning relationship with the handsome Bunny Harrington only a shipboard dalliance, or something more?  And what secrets must Flora keep in order to stay safe?

Hey everyone, hope y’all are having a wonderful week. I have an extract from Murder on the Minneapolis to share today!


Chapter 1


Well-wishers stood four deep on Pier 39 in New York Harbour beneath a sea of colourful hats wide as sailboats, their owners waving handkerchiefs or sobbing into them. Horse-drawn carriages with crests on the doors lined up alongside hired hackneys to disgorge elegantly dressed couples and businessmen with their matronly wives, all of whom joined the clamour on the quayside taking farewell of friends and relatives. The clatter of hooves vied with shouts from newsboys and costermongers plying their wares to the waiting crowd, their voices combined in an inaudible concert.

Boisterous children darted between them, miniature flags held aloft on sticks; Union Jacks and Stars and Stripes in equal numbers. Harassed nurses made vain attempts to round them up, while their parents looked on with bored disinterest. Porters strained behind loaded trolleys calling out their warnings to make way, while imperious matrons issued braying instructions for the disposition of their luggage.

‘It’s huge!’ Flora stood at the bottom of the gangplank, her foot tapping in time to the music from a brass band led by an enthusiastic conductor in a rendition of the ‘Washington Post’ march. She had seen ocean-going steamers before, even travelled on one, yet there was something awe-inspiring about the Minneapolis, with her gleaming black hull, bright red smoke stack and taut metal winch lines draped with multi-coloured bunting.’

‘This is her maiden voyage,’ Eddy shouted as he waved the shipping line brochure that had been his constant companion this past week under Flora’s nose: ‘Listen to this,’ he opened the booklet and read aloud. ‘She’s six hundred feet long, and 13,400 tonnes, which means she has the largest tonnage of any ship afloat, apart from the SS Oceanic.’

‘Which was the ship we came over on three months ago,’ Flora reminded him.

‘I know, but Minneapolis is a brand new ship.’ He looked up briefly from the brochure. ‘This is her maiden voyage, and she’s carrying only seventy-eight first-class passengers and a hundred and fifty five crew. That’s almost two crew members for each passenger. Just think, Flora we’ll be the first people to travel on her.’ He tucked the booklet back into his pocket, his gaze following a man who walked past with a boy of about his own age. The man pointed items of interest out to the boy, who laughed and chatted at his side, both intent on each other.

‘I’m sorry you have only me for company on the trip home.’ Flora caressed Eddy’s shoulder gently with one hand. ‘Your parents would have stayed to see you off, but they had a train to catch.’

‘I don’t mind being with you, Flora. For a governess, you’re a good egg.’ Eddy swiped a hand across eyes that looked suspiciously wet, then trained a morose glare on the emotional farewells taking place on the quayside. ‘Mama didn’t even bother to get out of the carriage.’

Although tall for thirteen, with well-defined features that promised to mature into male handsomeness in years to come, Edward, Viscount Trent, was still very much a child.

‘You’re very important to your father.’ Flora bit her lip at the disappointment in his voice. ‘You’re Lord Vaughn’s heir, remember.’

She tried to imagine how she would feel, if her parents had packed her off back to England while they toured the Eastern United States. The question was moot, for her mother had died when she was young and, as Lord Vaughn’s head butler, her father didn’t possess the resources to send her anywhere. Flora had resigned herself long ago to viewing the peripatetic lives of the English aristocracy from the shadows.

‘I would sooner be just his son.’ Eddy broke away from her and pounded up the gangplank.

Sighing, Flora prepared to follow, but was prevented by a young man in a shabby brown suit who stepped in front of her, a bulky camera raised to his face. ‘Photograph, Miss?’

‘Er no, thank you.’ Flora stood on tiptoe to keep Eddy in sight, he had reached the saloon deck and was on his way to the outside companionway. ‘Maybe later.’

Lowering the camera, the youth pressed a pasteboard card into her hand. ‘Printed in our own darkroom, and available throughout the voyage,’ his sales patter continued unabated. ‘Perfect to send to your loved ones as postcards.’

‘I’m sure.’ Thanking him with a smile, Flora shoved the card into a pocket without looking at it, and joined a queue of passengers further up the gangplank.

An officer saluted her with a smile, and flattered, she stood a little straighter before proceeding to the packed deck where a group of sailors held out baskets of tightly coiled paper streamers in pastel colours. Flora grabbed a handful, pausing to allow an elderly matron to totter past with a tiny white dog on a leash. With a sharp eye open for Eddy, she eased through the press of bodies, where a barrage of feathers and silk flowers batted her face, their owners with world-weary expressions oblivious to her repeated and increasingly urgent “excuse me’s”.

She spotted Eddy again on the promenade deck, where he strolled the row of doors of the suites where she guessed he was trying to find theirs. Flora started up the companionway to join him, forced to a halt at the top when a noisy family shoved past her. She stepped back to let them pass, where her attention was caught by an arrestingly pretty woman beneath the deck canopy. In a claret wool travelling coat with mutton leg sleeves and fox fur trim, she looked to be about Flora’s own age. Her features were set hard, eyes narrowed and her fists clenched at her sides in barely restrained anger.

The object of her fury was older, with slightly receding hair, olive skin and thick eyebrows that met in the middle. He accepted her tirade in silence, while he repeatedly eased his collar away from his throat with a finger.

Her message delivered, the lady shot him a final hard glare, swivelled on her heel and stalked away.

The man inhaled deeply from a lit cheroot, shot the smoke in a straight upward stream, turned and leaned both forearms on the rail, hunched forward as if the encounter had drained him.

Flora took in his yellow-stained fingers and badly cut hair as she passed, intrigued as to what someone like him could have to say to the immaculate girl in her expensive clothes.

About the Author:

Born in London, Anita has always had a penchant for all things historical.  She now lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, the backdrop for her Flora Maguire mysteries.

Anita’s Blog –

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Character Spotlight: My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex Boyfriend by Peter Jones @rararesources @peterjonesauth

Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: October 10, 2017

Genre: Romantic Comedy 


Adrian Turner, Mountaineer, Secret Agent, Fireman… Ade would dearly like to be any of these things, though he’d trade them all to win the heart of feisty Public Relations Executive, Paige.

Instead, he’s a disillusioned school teacher, on suspension, after an unfortunate incident with a heavy piece of computer equipment. And somebody’s foot. And Paige? Despite being his girlfriend for the past eighteen months, she still seems to have one foot out of the door and hasn’t quite committed to leaving a toothbrush in the bathroom.

Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s working with her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian. A man who in almost every way imaginable is better, taller, wealthier, hairier, and infinitely more successful than Ade.

Is Paige still in love with Sebastian? Why then did she suggest they get away for a few days? Some place romantic…

But when Adrian finds himself in Slovenia – with Sebastian in the room down the hall – he realises there’s serious possibility that he’s in danger of losing his job, his mind, and the woman he loves…

From best-selling author Peter Jones comes this hilarious romp about love, and the things people do to keep it from getting away.

I’m so pleased to be helping with the publication day push for My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex Boyfriend today! I have a character spotlight to share, check out the other blogs participating as well for additional information about the other characters. 

 Character Spotlight: 


The problem is he’s too much. In every way. He’s just too much. Too tall, too hairy, too loud, too brash, too rich… it’s like he’s a walking, talking magnet for the excesses of life. Is it any wonder that he was such a massive part of Paige’s life? He wouldn’t know how to be any other way. Invite this man into your life and he’d just fill up all the available space, and then some. He’s like an over-enthusiastic car air bag.

And that’s the other problem. The real problem. Sebastian came into Paige’s life and filled it up. Took over. He’s all she’s known for too long. Can you blame me for feeling paranoid? For expecting her, at any given moment, to ditch me and return to the arms of a man that, in every way, is better than me. Why wouldn’t she? So he’s arrogant, and big headed, and smug, and cocky – but from where I’m lying, with my handful of mediocre qualities, he has every reason to be.



Age (in the story) / Date of Birth: Fifty two (7th April 1962)

Nationality: English.

Who are they?: Paige’s perfect ex-boyfriend.

Who could play them in a movie adaptation?: Jim Carey

 About the Author: 

Peter Jones started professional life as a particularly rubbish graphic designer, followed by a stint as a mediocre petrol pump attendant. After that he got embroiled in the murky world of credit card banking. Fun times.

Nowadays, Peter spends his days writing, or talking about writing. He’s written three novels; a Rom-Com (Romantic Comedy), A Crim-Com (Crime Comedy), and a Rom-Com-Ding-Dong (a sort-of Romantic-ish Comedy, with attitude). He’s currently working on his fourth novel, which – if it’s a musical – he’ll no doubt describe as a Rom-Com-Sing-Song. (Spoiler: It isn’t).

He is also the author of three and a half popular self-help books on the subjects of happiness, staying slim and dating. If you’re overweight, lonely, or unhappy – he’s your guy.

Peter doesn’t own a large departmental store and probably isn’t the same guy you’ve seen on the TV show Dragons’ Den.


The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello

I’m delighted to share some information about The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello today. I will be reading and reviewing this book very soon, but in the meantime, here are some details. The description sounds amazing, I’m so excited to read it!


What would you do if you Googled yourself and uncovered something shocking?

In this gripping psychological thriller, a group of privileged suburban moms amuse themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name—which none of the others know.

The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd.With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia—upending her blissful family life—desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.

The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose a story of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello’s page-turning suspense cautions: Be careful what you search for.

About the Author: 

Eva is a native New Yorker, who, by transplanting to the New Jersey suburbs, conceived her first novel, THE MEMORY BOX, a psychological thriller and Amazon #1 Bestseller, about a woman who Googles herself and discovers the shocking details of a past she doesn’t remember—set in a fictional upscale suburb where things appear to be quite ordinary. You can find her essays on the Huffington Post and several other places, she also has a blog with more of her work. You can also find Eva on TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.

Through the 27th of August you can purchase the Kindle version on Amazon for 99 cents! 

You can also find the book at these retailers: 

Barnes & Noble/iTunes/Kobo/Smashwords/Goodreads

Happy Release Day! Found by Elle Field

Book Tour (1)

Found Release Day Blast Tour
August 9th, 2016


“How did people even come up with the idea of these dizzying skyscrapers, let alone work out how to make them possible? Whoever built the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, their legacy will live on forever. What sort of a difference will I ever make?”

Who knew one flight could change everything? When Arielle Lockley stepped on the plane at Heathrow, she never realised how different her life would be when she touched down in New York City. Now she’s dealing with that aftermath, as well as trying to find common ground with Etta, her new and unexpected business partner.

But, trying to sort out business in London whilst her fiancé, Piers, recovers from surgery in New York, is starting to take its toll on their relationship. Can Arielle and Etta work together to continue Felicity’s legacy without destroying it, and will Arielle and Piers even make it down the aisle to say “I do”?

Find out what happens this summer in the final part of the warm and wonderful Arielle Lockley series.

Buy the Book:


About the Author:

Elle Field

Elle Field writes coming of age romantic comedies, and is the author of the Arielle Lockley series and Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not. She grew up in Yorkshire, then moved to Scotland to study International Relations and Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews.

Elle now lives in London with her boyfriend and their cat. She’s a massive fan of sunshine, giraffes, The Killers, Audrey Hepburn movies, playing Scrabble and tea. Oh, and reading, of course!

Find her here:


Congratulations, Elle on your new release!! I just love the cover and have loved being a part of your big day!

Tour arranged by HCL Author Services:
NOW booking tours for September, October, November.

OPENED for new Author Assist Clientel.
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Book Tour: The Perfect Disaster Series by Aimee Horton

Book Tour

I’m so excited to be apart of the book tour for the ReLaunch and ReBrand of Aimee Horton’s ‘The Perfect Disaster Serires’
Velvet Morning Press has recently ReLaunched these books with the fabulous covers below!

Aren’t these new covers great?!

(To find out more about each book, click on the covers)


Perfect Mishap

A hilarious and honest British mom’s madcap adventures in suburbia, from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

Dottie Harris has a knack for stumbling into chaotic situations, gin & tonic in hand. When Dottie and Henry Harris move to their new house, Dottie’s only desire is to make friends in the neighbourhood. But Dottie, just home from delivering her third child, is struggling to adjust to village life. Recently promoted Henry travels a lot, and the neighbours aren’t very welcoming (although that could be because when Dottie first met them, she had dyed her children green).

So when Dottie accidentally hears her neighbours’ conversations over her baby monitor, she can’t help but use the sneaky information in her quest to build new friendships.

Of course, eavesdropping never ends well, and when Dottie discovers that two of her neighbours are having an affair, she’s horrified. Worse still, the locals are convinced she’s the one who’s doing the cheating. It’s up to Dottie to clear her name and uncover (and expose) the real cheat—in her signature haphazard way!

A humorous blend between chick lit and cozy mystery, this funny novel will have you laughing along with gin-drinking amateur sleuth Dottie!

Previously published as Mothers Ruined

Perfect Mayhem


Bridget Jones’s Diary meets The Nanny Diaries in this Amazon UK Best Seller!

The only thing Dottie Harris loves more than her gin & tonic is her family. Most of the time.

From her hapless-but-well-meaning husband to her two energetic bundles of joy, Dottie certainly has her hands full. And she’s tired. So tired.

With quips like “How do sleeping babies know the minute you sit down?” this modern-day diary will have you laughing—when you’re not crying with empathy, that is!

Dottie tells it like it is: the good, the bad, and the eternal piles of dirty laundry.

If you’re looking for chick lit packed with parenting humor, or simply want to know you’re not the only one having trouble parenting newborns and toddlers, this book about the ups and downs of parenthood is for you! It’s a motherhood manifesto, social media style!

Previously published as Survival of the Ginnest.

Perfect Christmas

A hilarious Christmas novella from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

“Cooking for nineteen people will be a cinch!”

Ever-optimistic Dottie Harris is preparing for the biggest and best Christmas celebration ever, and nothing—not even unexpected guests or running out of gin—will get her down.

But as always, things don’t run smoothly for Dottie, and it’s not long before her two energetic children, hapless husband and a nasty stomach bug wreak havoc on her carefully planned spreadsheets.

Can Dottie throw the perfect family Christmas (without so much as a swig of gin to help her through) or will preparing for the festivities get the best of her? One thing’s for sure: This will be a Christmas to remember!

A humorous Christmas novella, perfect if you’re looking for a funny read for the Christmas season, or want to get in the Christmas spirit. Or you can spread some Christmas cheer and give it as a Christmas gift!

Previously published as Survival of the Christmas Spirit.

Perfect Mix-Up


Find out just how British Dottie is…

Dottie Harris is as British as they come, which is exactly what endears her to us. But when her pregnant American cousin comes for a visit, Dottie is a frazzled disaster who can’t seem to overcome the language barrier.

Perfect Mix-Up is a funny look at parenting from both sides of the pond, and the surprising number of confusing language differences that entails.

If you’d like to try the ebook before you buy, it’s free if you join Aimee’s mailing list:

Previously published as Lush in Translation.



Am I the only one whose plans always go wrong?




I’m speeding. Well as much as you can speed when you’re stuck behind a tractor on what feels like a single-track road. There can’t possibly be enough room to overtake, even though that posh-looking car has overtaken us both and is already just a speck in the distance.

I glance at the seat next to me, where a Tesco carrier bag stuffed with various snacks, fruit shoots and about five different electrical gadgets is resting, along with my hospital bag. By hospital bag, I mean random clothes rammed into the first handbag I could find that didn’t have a layer of mini-cheddar crumbs crushed into the lining.

I didn’t expect this baby for another three or four weeks. How the hell was I supposed to know it would bloody come early?

The nearly out-of-battery iPad is charging in the cigarette lighter, and my mobile is propped precariously on the dashboard in front of the petrol gauge. Stabbing at the screen again, I select Henry’s number for the hundredth time and listen to it ring out. The kids in the back are irritating me even more by counting how many times it rings before going to answer machine. This time it’s only three before the sound of Henry’s “grown-up work voice” comes out of the tinny speakerphone and informs me he’s away on business and will be back in the office next week.

He’s bloody diverted my call! Three rings means he’s seen my name and diverted it! Idiot.

Stopping the car on the grass verge, I grab my phone from the dashboard and Google Henry’s Scotland office. He visits there every few months, yet I’ve never needed to call. I’ve always relied on his mobile phone to get in contact. However, this time it’s serious.

“I need to talk to Henry Harris, please,” I say to the Scottish voice on the other end of the phone. I attempt to sound calm, even though I can feel a niggling pain again in my lower back. The receptionist begins to inform me he’s in a meeting right now, but with the cars racing past and the kids shouting, I can’t hear her and lose patience.

“Look, can you give him an urgent message… no… I don’t want you to get him to call me back; I need you to use these exact words: THE BABY IS COMING. GET YOUR BLOODY ARSE HOME NOW. Have you got that?”

It’s times like this I wish I could slam my phone down instead of just pressing the screen angrily.

The pain subsides, and I try not to think about how cross Henry is going to be with me for speaking to her like that.

I suppose it was a bit rude.

But I’m having a bloody baby!

It’s not enough that he pissed off on a jolly to drink whisky for nearly a week and left me to move house on my own with the two kids—oh no. Now he’s going to miss the birth of his third bloody child, his second daughter. And yet again, I’m left to do everything myself. But I can’t do it all. I mean, I can’t even work out how to use the bloody newfangled baby monitor. It keeps screeching static at me or playing random music.

Starting the engine, I take a deep breath and carry on to the hospital. But all I can think about is: If I can’t manage to operate the baby monitor, how can I look after three children on my own?

Arriving at the hospital, I reach into my bag for my wallet to buy a parking ticket, but I can’t find it. Shit! I rummage about, but as I work my way through button-down nighties, big pants and feeding bras, the image of my lovely tan and pink leather wallet flashes in front of my eyes. It’s next to the kettle.

How the hell did I forget my wallet? I NEVER forget my wallet; you never know when there’s going to be a good shopping moment.

Sod it. I don’t have time to worry about little things like parking tickets. Balancing a vile-smelling, nearly asleep Mabel on my hip, I grab Arthur’s hand and make my way towards the entrance of the maternity wing. I’m nearly at the door when I hear a shout, and turning around, I see the traffic warden waving his hand, indicating my ticketless car.

This isn’t fair. Why do they charge for parking anyway?

In a sudden burst of pain-free energy, still lugging my bag and the kids, I march back towards him. As I approach my car, I realise he’s actually writing me a ticket. He’s not even given me a chance!

“You going inside to get change for the machine?” he asks, not even looking at me. He holds the ticket in the air, in what I can only assume is an overly dramatic way of giving me one last chance to say I was going to get change. But of course, I don’t give him that answer. Instead, I squeeze between my car and the one parked next to it and snatch the ticket off him.

“I…” I begin through gritted teeth as another pain builds up, “am… in… bloody… labour…”

He opens his mouth, starting to say something as he attempts to take his ticket back, and that’s when it hurts. Like proper hurts, and before I drop her, I thrust Mabel at him and grip onto the bonnet of the car, letting go of Arthur’s hand and the parking ticket as I do. The traffic warden visibly recoils, and I’m not entirely sure whether it’s because of the smell coming from Mabel’s nappy or because the ticket flies into the air and is carried away by the breeze.

Where the hell is Henry? How the heck am I meant to deal with all this on my own?

“Let’s get you inside, Miss.” I hear the attendant’s gruff voice, and holding onto the kids, he ushers me forwards. As we approach, we see a big sign on the automatic door reading “DOORS BROKEN. PLEASE USE REVOLVING DOOR” in bright red letters. The man moves through first, holding Arthur’s hand and Mabel in his arms.

Through the glass, I see a look of panic forming on Mabel’s face as she leaves me outside. Not wanting her to be scared at a time like this—I’m already terrified—I rush towards the door to follow them.

“Whose bright idea was it to put a revolving door in a maternity wing?” I mutter.

Taking a deep breath, I give the door a shove. It moves quicker than I thought, and one of the sections passes me by, then another. I jump into the next, managing to squeeze my big belly into the tiny compartment. I give another little push, hoping it will spin just as quickly, but my bag is blocking it.

Shuffling in farther, I drop my bag to the floor and try again. Nothing. My bump is too big; I can’t get the right angle. Damn it! Mabel’s calling my name. Her voice is on the edge, and she could start screaming any time now.

For crying out loud.

I turn sideways so that my bump is facing the middle, then take a side step. This time the door moves, and I manage to slowly sidestep round until a draft of air-conditioned air hits my red cheeks and the back of my neck. Collapsing into an undignified squat, I scoop up my bag before straightening up and turning around so I can make my way into the hospital.

Two young nurses and the car park attendant are trying their hardest not to laugh.

With as much dignity as I can muster, I wave at them, but in doing so, clout myself in the face. Instead of trying to save my dignity any further, I turn to the kids and point to some chairs next to a big television.

“Artie, here are some crisps for you and Mabel. Go and sit on those seats over there while Mummy talks to the nice midwife.” I collapse into a nearby wheelchair, nearly knocking another pregnant woman over who is about to ease herself into it. She opens her mouth, ready to say something, but I silence her with a glare.

That’s when I realise how serious the situation is, because while Henry will probably miss the birth of his child, the two small children already halfway through a bag of Pom-Bears might not.

I need a gin and tonic.




“Something’s not right.”

The words ring in my ears, and my exhausted, aching body jumps to attention.

After I collapsed in the wheelchair, the kids were ushered off with a nurse, and I was wheeled in for an examination. I was only two centimeters dilated.

How can I be only two centimeters dilated—I thought I was at least eight!

It feels like I’ve been here for days. They started to make noises about sending me home, muttering things about “coming back in a few hours,” but I couldn’t stand it. I could feel my voice getting higher and higher as I told them how hard it had been to get here. How my waters had broken on the stairs after celebrating a successful poo in the toilet (Mabel, not me). How I’d assumed it was a huge wee, but then the pains kept coming all through the afternoon and the school run. That’s when they changed their minds and whisked me off for another examination, promising me that the kids were perfectly happy and they would try to find out where Henry was.

That was hours ago, and now here I am, with those terrifying three words hanging in the air.

Something’s not right.

“What’s not right?” I ask, but it comes out as a whisper. Not that anybody is listening to me anyway. In fact, they’re all whispering to each other. I turn to the midwife hovering next to me, but she avoids eye contact.

“What’s not right?” I say again, louder, and I can hear the fear in my voice.

“Baby seems to be in a bit of an awkward position,” she trills, patting my hand. “We’re just fetching the consultant to come have a look.” She is smiling and seems perfectly calm, but I can’t get the words something’s not right out of my head.

What am I going to do? How can I do this on my own?

That’s when I remember Jane. My best friend Jane. She works on the children’s ward. As soon as her name pops into my mind, I start to breathe properly again. She’s at work today! Right at this very moment, she is somewhere in this hospital.

She’ll know what to do.

In my excitement, I gabble at the midwife, who eventually understands what I’m trying to say, and they put out a page.

As we’re waiting for Jane to appear, the doctor arrives. He’s tall, dark and looks to be in his late fifties. He obviously recognises me, but I don’t have a clue who he is.

“Dottie Harris!” he greets me. “I thought you were never going to have another baby as long as you lived!” His eyes are sparkling, and he has a smile on his face.

He must have been here when one of the kids was born.

“How is the young man?” he asks as he examines me. I start to tell him about Arthur and now Mabel, but he stands up and cuts me off. “This baby looks like it’s going to be a monkey, breech, so we need to prepare for other options.”

What does that mean? I can’t cope with this.

Totally overwhelmed, I burst into tears. Just then, Jane runs into the room, closely followed by a midwife who informs me that while she’s not been able to get through to Henry, his office confirmed he’s on his way.

On his bloody way? If he hadn’t gone to bloody Scotland he’d be here by now, telling me everything is going to be OK. Luckily, I have Jane.

Jane is already by my side, stroking my hair. After a few reassuring words, she turns to the doctor and asks what my options are.

Jane talks me through what the doctor said, and I look at her blankly. She realises I’m too far gone to hear anything in detail so pauses before saying, “They were going to try and turn the baby manually, but you’re quite far along now, so you’re more than likely going to have a C-section.” Her blue eyes are full of concern, and she searches my face, waiting for my reaction.

The words hit me like a punch in the stomach. Either that or it’s another contraction. I irrationally blame Henry for all that has gone wrong.

Idiot husband. If we’d not bought that stupid house, I’d not had to start bloody decorating the bloody awful nursery and gone into labour. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t bloody be here now. Alone.

Just as I start ranting at Jane, the door flings open again, and a midwife shouts, “Sir… sir… please! Who are you?!” as Henry appears, closely followed by two security guards in hot pursuit. As soon as they see me half lying, half sitting on a hospital bed, my legs akimbo and my gown hitched up around my knees, they stop short. One turns a funny shade of green, and looking at his shoes, starts to whistle tunelessly.

Yeah, because he’s the one in the awkward position… But wait. Henry is here?

“HENRY!” The tears pour down my face as he runs towards me and grabs my hand.

“I told you I’d be here!” He smiles down at me before winking at Jane who tactfully leaves the room, saying something about going to check on the kids.

I want to punch him, and I actually clench my fist, but another pain comes. Instead, I satisfy myself with squeezing his hand extra tight, making sure my engagement ring digs hard into him. To give him his dues, he doesn’t even cry out in pain, although I kind of wish he would.

“How did you get here? It takes hours to drive from Scotland,” I say when the pain passes. “I haven’t been here that long, have I?” I look around, disorientated.

“I jumped on the first plane here.” He smiles as he wipes my face and squeezes my snotty nose with a tissue. I feel a warm flush of pride grow on my cheeks. But wait a minute. This is Henry.

“You FLEW?” I’m unable to keep the disbelief from my voice. Henry would never pay for a direct flight; he won’t even pay for the train unless it’s on expenses.

Am I dreaming? Am I already in theatre? Have I died?

Laughing, he kisses my forehead and shrugs. “So, what’s happened? Where are we now?”

“Well, I got stuck in the door on the way in after the stupid car park attendant tried to give me a ticket, and I thought the removal men had kidnapped Mabel, but I found her hiding in a cupboard, and the nursery is all painted. I painted it pink and was about to pull the carpet up, but then Mabel did a poo on the toilet, and that’s when I think it all started. My waters broke on the stairs—don’t worry, I cleared it up. But then she threw up on the slide in the school playground and slid through it—she stinks—and I forgot to put the washing in the dryer, and oh God. I was so rude to the girl at your office. I’m sorry. I was just so scared and… oh… shit that hurts.” Another pain surges through me and snot bubbles come out of my nose. Great. I wipe my nose and cheek with his suit jacket.

“Shhh,” he says, pushing my hair away from my face. Then turning to the midwife, he murmurs, “Is she delirious?”

Before she has a chance to answer, the consultant returns. After a quick examination, he announces the baby is in distress.

No, I don’t want her to be in distress!

He fires out instructions to the room, which is suddenly full of people. Then he tells Henry and me that I have to go into surgery now, that it’s not too late, and that I can have an epidural. Henry is trying to stay calm for me, but he’s gone a bit pale and keeps clearing his throat. He clears it so often that I don’t catch everything the consultant says—something about where Henry needs to go while I’m going through to theatre?

Everything is happening so fast, and I’m terrified. I’m being wheeled off, and Henry is left outside on his own.

“I love you,” he shouts.

“Please don’t put me to sleep! I’m not ready to die yet! I want Henry… HENRY!” I sob, and the midwife comes to calm me down.

“Dottie,” she says, “listen to me. You aren’t going to sleep. We’re keeping you awake. Remember, you had an epidural with Mabel, didn’t you?” She’s gripping my hand and speaking firmly. “Henry can come in as soon as he’s scrubbed up, but we have to get to work now. The baby is in distress, so the sooner he or she is out, the better. Do you understand?”

Nodding my head slightly, I say, “She. It’s a girl. I want to name her Martha, but Henry doesn’t think having two Ms is a good idea.” I feel my breathing return to normal. “Maybe after going through this I can persuade him.”

That makes the midwife laugh. She holds my hand as the anaesthetist explains what’s going to happen.

By the time the needle has been inserted—it takes three attempts as I’m shaking so much—Henry is back by my side.

I have no idea what’s going on. I stare at the ceiling, at the blue screen constructed by a sheet, trying to work out what’s happening. Henry looks a bit green but keeps looking at me reassuringly, smiling and nodding as if everything is OK.

After what seems like ages, there is a bit of a kerfuffle, then, “Here we are. Wow, what a whopper!” But wait a minute. Now there’s silence.

Why isn’t she crying yet?

More silence, and I panic all over again as I watch/see the midwife wrap a pinky, purply, gross little body in a blanket.

“Is she OK? Is she breathing? Just bloody pinch her, OK?” There’s a ripple of laughter, which is quickly covered up by a few coughs, then I hear it.

First a whimpering that gets louder and louder, turning into a full-blown angry cry as they whip her off to get weighed. I’m crying again, Henry too, and he’s stroking my hair, and all of a sudden everything is perfect. Who cares about the horrible house, or a car that only has two back seats, or that Henry nearly missed the birth? He’s here now; we’re a wonderful family. Henry, Dottie, Arthur, Mabel and baby girl Martha.

“Well, he’s a healthy weight, that’s for sure,” the midwife says. “Nine pounds, thirteen ounces. And what a head! There’s no way you’d have turned this boy, and he obviously knew it!”

“She!” Henry and I both shout in unison, looking at the middle-aged woman who is carrying our still-crying daughter towards us. The baby’s blanket is already stained with blood.

Seriously, how is she allowed to be holding babies if she can’t even get the sex right?

“No, definitely not a she,” she says, smiling, “I’ve been doing this a very long time, and I can tell the difference, you know.” She winks as Henry and I glance at each other, confused. Then, lowering her arms so we can see the tiny scrunched-up red face, she says, “Congratulations! It’s a beautiful bouncing baby boy.”



About the Author:

Aimee Horton


Aimee is from Lincoln, England, where she enjoys drinking gin and spending time with her family (and she won’t tell you which of those she prefers doing). As a child, one of her favourite parts of the summer holidays was to devour all the books in a little book shop in Devon. She continued reading at lightning speed right up until having children. She now reads with eyes propped open by match sticks.

Find her here:

Check out the rest of the #BookTour

July 18th

On My Bookshelf – Author Guest Post
Novelgossip – Book Promo/Excerpt
Hello Chick Lit – Book Promo

July 19th

Sylv all about books and films – Book Excerpt
He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post

July 20th

Jenna Books – Book Promo/Excerpt
Judging More Than Just The Cover – Author Q&A
Sweet Little Pretties – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 21st

The Writing Garnet – Author Q&A
Book Lover in Florida – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 22nd

One Book At A Time – Promo Post
Dreaming With Open Eyes – Author Q&A
These Words: A Blog – Author Guest Post
Grass Monster – Book Review (Amazon)

BookTour arranged by HCL Book Tours & Author Services
(now taking clients and book for late summer/early fall)
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