Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ghost Mate (Soul Mate Book Three) PUBLISHED

Ghost Mate is now available on Amazon and will be available at other outlets shortly.

Book 3


Tommy is back on the street living rough and he's facing a tough decision. As the ghost possessions get more random and dangerous, he's desperate to take back his life and for a chance to make things right with Suki. But then he learns what giving up the ghosts will cost. Is it a choice he can make?


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Ghost Mate (Soul Mate Book 3)




Tommy is back on the streets, living rough in London, and he's facing a tough decision. As the ghosts take over and things get crazy, he has a last chance to take back his life, but can he take it and  deny the ghosts their last chances? 

Ghost Mate will be published in October. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Traitor Blood (SPOILER for the Traitor Blade series)




Traitor Blood - Chapter One (SPOILER IF READING THE TRAITOR BLADE SERIES)






Ronaldo filled a flask with his best wine and reached to gather two beakers. He fumbled and one beaker slipped from his grasp. It hit the tiled floor with a hollow clang. Ronaldo cursed softly and looked to the cause of his distraction, a table at the far end of the narrow tavern where his newest customer was waiting to be served.

The man held a dagger, twirling it between his fingers and stabbing the blade into the table. The thud of blade into wood was unnerving, perhaps raising a memory of the softer sound of blade into flesh, especially when the thrust was repeated over and over. It was not the damage to his property that upset Ronaldo, though at this rate the table would be holed through, but years spent in a small dark bar set on the edge of a minor seaport town in the tumultuous kingdom of Cyrenne had given Ronaldo an exceptional instinct for danger.

The trouble was that, in the end, such an instinct provided little protection. The men, and sometimes women, who scared him were the ones he was least likely to offend. There was no question of asking them to leave his establishment. This man, with a stubble of dark hair and an ugly scar running from his chin to disappear beneath his shirt, alerted all Ronaldo's natural caution. The glitter of the blade in the man's hand aroused more primal instincts.

The chatter in the bar had lessened considerably, and some customers, prone to the same instincts as Ronaldo, had already slipped away, leaving the room near deserted. The loss of trade was not the innkeep's greatest concern.

As he approached the table, Ronaldo found it hard to keep his eyes from the blade. He set down the wine and beakers carefully. Normally he would make some effort to wipe the table but he refrained, fearing it might seem a reproach for the splintered woodwork.

"Will there be anything else, my lord?" Here was another thing. Despite the man's dress and appearance, which marked him as the roughest mercenary, Ronaldo was sure that his unsettling customer was well bred, perhaps dangerously so. The nobility of Cyrenne often had need to leave the realm in secret and the minor port of Farock with its mix of trading and fishing vessels was a good place to slip away anonymously, or to enter Cyrenne unnoticed.

"Food when my friend arrives." It was a cultured voice but the accent defied Ronaldo's ear. Up close he saw the man was younger than he had thought.

"You are meeting a friend, my lord, how pleasant." Ronaldo took a breath and tried not to babble. He had no cook or serving girl at this time of day, and nothing suitable to serve. "What refreshment will you require?" He shuffled back half a step as the man turned a cold blue gaze upon him. A killer's eyes, Ronaldo thought.

"Bring us what you have, he's not fussy," said the man, smiling at some private joke.

The smile was nearly as disconcerting as the blade. Ronaldo was spared the need to answer as the door, swollen from the winter rain, opened reluctantly.

A golden haired man entered. He was dressed in leggings and a jacket of the softest grey leather. Ronaldo could not imagine what animal had given its hide to make such magnificent garments.

The newcomer did not look impressed by his surroundings. He had the pale coloring of Cyrenne or of the lands across the narrow sea, but his skin was darkened by a dessert sun. He wore rings and a long blade with an extravagantly worked hilt studded with jewels. In contrast to his appearance he scanned the room with a soldier's caution and moved with a warrior's grace. Despite the contrast between the two men, Ronaldo did not doubt that this was the expected friend.

The man rose to greet the newcomer who approached, silent, unsmiling. The men touched fists and embraced briefly. Watching, Ronaldo was moved by the intensity of this greeting; he could not decide if it made him more or less anxious about these unlikely customers.

The dark haired man turned back to him. "Bring us the best you have," he said softly.

Ronaldo bowed; embarrassed by this action he glanced towards his other remaining customers then hurried away to send out for food he might dare to serve.

###

Angelo de Loristen sprawled in a chair and took a moment to settle his sword more comfortably. "This is the best you can do?" he asked, looking around. He laid a scroll and a packet of papers on the table. "You look like shit."

Edouard ignored the comment and the scroll with the royal seal of Allesarion alongside the dark seal of the chief magister. "You have news from home?" he asked. The dagger was still in his hand.

With a glance to check they would not be overheard, Angelo spoke softly, "The army of Ettivar is gathering. By spring King William will have thirty thousand men or more ready to cross the border."

Edouard said nothing, but the blade flashed and stabbed deep into the wood. The table shuddered softly with the impact. "How many men can Ferdinand raise?"

Angelo shrugged. He indicated the packet of papers lying close to the sealed scroll, glancing around again before he spoke. "Shamet has sent you the latest reports, all the details."

"How many?" Edouard asked tersely.

"Perhaps ten thousand." Angelo plucked the dagger from the wood and laid it on the table. "Etrives is still weak and the plague ravaged the south last year." He gave helpless shrug.

Edouard eyed the packet of papers but left it where it lay. He had heard enough.

There had been no battles between the old enemies, Valderon and Ettivar, last year; the plague had cut deep through both realms. Of the two Valderon was more greatly weakened, her armies already depleted by losses in recent wars. It was a devastating reversal. A few years ago Valderon had threatened to overrun Ettivar, raiding into William's lands each summer, laying siege to important cities and ports. All that had changed after the defeat at Ralmadre.

Edouard knew this history too well.

He picked up the dagger and turned it idly between his hands. "You will go home and to join army," he said, more command than question.

Angelo nodded. He looked around the bar, near empty now. "Your father has been made Marechal, supreme commander alongside the Duke de Etrives. It is rumored that Ferdinand will join them in the field."

"Old men," said Edouard.

Angelo grinned without mirth. "And you would tell them that?"

"I should think they know it well enough."

Angelo started to speak, thought better of whatever he had been going to say, and eventually said mildly, "They have experience."

Edouard shrugged. "And my brothers will join them." Again it was not a question. Edouard knew that Charles, for all his distaste for martial matters, would join the army, no knight would stand aside at such a time, and Louis and Henri, his youngest brothers, were of an age now. The blade thudded into the wood.

After a few moments silence, Angelo said, "You cannot return while Ferdinand lives," He spoke harshly, hearing what had not been spoken. "And perhaps not openly when he is dead."

"I know. I'm not a fool."

Angelo's lips quirked in the slightest of smiles, but he made no jibe, and all trace of humor disappeared as he studied the other man. A tense silence fell between them. Angelo reached for the flask and poured wine.

"When will you leave for home?" Edouard asked.

"When this hunt is done." Angelo indicated the scroll with its royal seal.

"I have no need of you." Edouard paused in his stabbing and spoke more softly. "I hunt best alone."

Angelo's grin was sharp as broken glass. He raised his beaker. "To the hunt."

They each emptied a beaker. Angelo poured again, carelessly, until each beaker overflowed.

Edouard let the beaker stand. "You'll return to Valderon now." This was spoken with command, he continued with less certainty. "To whom will you go?"

After a moment's hesitation Angelo said, "I have written to your father."

Edouard nodded. It was the answer he had expected, however hard to hear. He lifted the beaker and drank. They sat in more companionable silence for a while. The innkeeper brought platters of cold meat and freshly baked bread. When they were alone, Angelo indicated the papers and scroll.

"When this is done you are to return to Allesarion," he said.

"No, it is too dangerous," Edouard snarled.

"It is the Queen's command."

"What is she thinking? I cannot return." Edouard shifted, holding the dagger as if it was hard to restrain some violent urge.

"Enough time has passed. You will not be recognized in Allesarion."

"I will not take that risk."

"It is a royal command, I do not think you can refuse," said Angelo. He grinned. "There is no chance you will be recognized. Your own father would not…" The grin faded. "You look like a destitute warrior monk." He hesitated. "Edouard de Chamfort is five years dead."

"Then why should I not return to Valderon and fight against Ettivar?"

"You know the answer as well as I," Angelo said softly.

"You set more value on my name than skill?" Edouard gave a growl of laughter. "There are many these past five years who would disagree."

"If discovered you risk the accord between your father and King Ferdinand. And you cannot kill the whole army of Ettivar," he took a breath, carefully calm. "Your value to Valderon is to be known and to lead men. That cannot happen." He fell silent watching Edouard, knowing he could not deny the truth of this, and all it meant.

After a moment's silence Edouard said, "I could kill William of Ettivar." The words fell softly between them. "He has no son of age."

END

Friday, 7 September 2012

Traitor Blade - Book Three - PUBLISHED

Traitor Blade - Book Three - the final book in the trilogy is now published.



Branded traitor and murderer, exiled from his home, Edouard must fight to regain his honor, knowing that in Valderon his family will suffer the consequences of his actions.

Her task completed, all Mariette wants is to return to her children and Montmercy, but has she revealed a traitor or betrayed a lover?

As the final battles are fought, hearts, pride and lives are truly at stake.

TB3 is published at Kindle and Smashwords.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ghost Town (Soul Mate Book Two) on Kindle


Ghost Town is out now on Kindle and will be on Smashwords when I setup the formatting!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Soul Mate book 2 - Ghost Town


Ghost Town follows on from where Soul Mate finished. I'm writing the final chapters of Ghost Town now. Then I will edit and hope to have it all done within a couple of months.

Here's the cover image (Bridge of Sighs, Oxford).

And here's the opening scene.

Chapter One

I float for a moment then the water closes over my head and I sink slowly among the reeds. When I touch the bottom silt rises like mist, forming a cloud that surrounds me. Long hair drifts across my face. Some part of me knows this is weird. I don't have long hair. The water is a dead weight pressing on my chest. I can't breathe or move, but that doesn't seem to matter much. An old bike lies in the mud beside me. The sun is shining, faint through the murky, green water. Slowly the ripples fade and the surface above is still. The mud settles around me, soft as silk; it sucks at my clothes, in time it will bury me.

I wake, gasping. Suki's hand is on my shoulder.

"Tommy," she sounds anxious. "You were having a bad dream."

I nod before she can ask. "Just a dream." I know it was more than a dream but I don't want her to worry.

Usually my nightmares are about Danny, his face the moment before he falls, the way his arms windmill as he loses his balance, the thud as his body hits the ground: blood trickling between the gravel. But this was different. It was too vivid. It's not a memory. It felt as if it was really happening to me and there's this weird disconnected feeling in my head that comes with the ghosts. I touch my head. My hair is short, not like in the dream. I can breathe. It was a pond I realise; a body at the bottom of a pond.

Ghost stuff. I push the thought aside quickly.

Suki's watching me. "You, OK?"

"Yeah," I mumble and try to get it together before she asks too many questions. I lean over and kiss her. But she still looks worried.

"It's alright," I say. "Just a bad dream." I don't want her to worry. But though the dream's gone, I can't shake the feeling that something terrible is going to happen today. Ghost stuff? I don't usually know or sense when the ghosts are coming until it happens. I wonder if the feeling has to do with the dream and search for a connection.

It doesn't take me long to remember that it has nothing to do with the dream and it is bad.

It's not the first time I've messed up, but today a reckoning falls due for something that really wasn't my fault. That's not going to make a difference to Ally.  I'm going to die. Or get precious bits of my anatomy handed to me on a plate. Or stuffed down my throat. The thought makes me shudder. I've heard Ally threaten to cut a guy's wedding tackle off.  I'm not making it up. Ally was hammered at the time but he wasn't kidding.

The picture in my head is so vivid I forget where I am and groan.

"Tommy?" Suki looks round. She's frowning.

I make an effort to concentrate on her and put Ally out of my mind. She's wearing a man's white shirt, her legs are bare and her henna red hair is all mussed up. She slides her legs out of bed and stands up. Narrowboats are short on storage space, I never realised that the problem has fringe benefits. As I watch, Suki stands on tiptoe and reaches for something in one of the high cupboards. The shirt rides up, revealing long legs. She looks so sexy it drives me crazy. She reaches higher, acting like she has no idea what she's doing to me.

I slide over, grab her round the waist and pull her backwards on to the bed. Clothes and stuff shower down from the cupboard.

"Tommy!"

"What?"

"I've got to go to work," she says, sounding a bit annoyed. "You can clear this mess up." I don't think she's really pissed off because she lets me kiss her neck.

"You've got to be nice to me," I say. "It might be the last chance you get."

She sighs and rolls over onto her stomach so she can look me in the eye. "You're going to see Ally? You're sure you don't want me to come with you?"

I shake my head. The one thing worse than getting your balls ripped off by an enraged Scotsman would be having your girlfriend watch. "But you could give me a nice send off, like the soldiers used to get."

"He's not going to hurt you, Tommy. He's just going to shout at you a lot."

I know it's going to be worse than shouting, but I don't correct her. I nicked five hundred quid out of his wallet, or at least the ghost did. Ally doesn't know about the ghosts that screw with my life. He's a Scotsman and, leaving stereotypes aside, he's careful with money. He's not going to listen to excuses. Particularly not crazy excuses like, I was possessed by a ghost and had no control over my actions. I'm just glad to have the money to pay him back, plus a bit of interest. And of course there's Zac who owns Ride in Style cabs and who gave me a chance. He's not a guy anyone messes with; he makes Ally look like a pussycat.

Suki wriggles up the bed and slides her arms round my neck. She plants a brief kiss on my lips. "It'll be fine. You can ask for your job back while you're there."

Suki is the probably the kindest person in the world, and she tends to think other people operate the same way. I'm afraid being round me is going to ruin her life view. After what happened, I'm more likely to win the lottery than get my job as a rickshaw driver back. I can't even afford to do the bloody lottery.

She gives me another kiss and then wriggles free. "Come on, you need to get up. You have to go to the police station this morning."

"Shit." I'd forgotten about that.

"And you should visit Mickey later too. If you go this afternoon I'll come up and meet you after work."

She's perfect. I can't work out what she sees in me, apart from the ghosts.

There's no way something this good can last. "Whose shirt is that?" The question is out there before I really think. Of course it's the last thing I should ask her, but she seems to have an endless supply of other guys' clothing and it winds me up a bit.

She just shrugs. I'm betting it was Simon's, her suave, rich, art dealer ex-boyfriend. Mr Perfect. A guy who is still in love with her. "Was it Simon's?"

She gives me a look. "Maybe." After a moment she grins at me. "You can wear it to the police station if you want to make a good impression, ghost boy." She slides the shirt off and ducks out the door before I can catch her. Instead I end up giving Jess a full frontal. She's not pleased.

"Tommy, you jerk, put that thing away before I chop it off." She's already dressed in her standard black, her hair spiked like a hedgehog. Every bit of her is lean and soft as barbed wire.

I slam the door quick and mutter an apology. I can hear Suki laughing. It's all right for her. I still can't tell when Jess is joking. Even if that was a joke it's not funny with Ally and Zac lurking in my future. I catch sight of Suki's alarm clock and realise I should be on my way to the station.

I end up wearing the stupid shirt because I can't find anything else smart enough. I'm a bit nervous about this visit. Thanks to a psycho ghost using me as a taxi last week, I missed several bail sign-ins and got involved in solving a twelve year old murder. Suki's mum says she sorted the sign-ins out, but Anna's not my biggest fan and I'm not exactly sure what she told the cops. When I'm dressed, Suki's still in the bathroom. I knock on the door, "Let me in, I'll soap your back." But she just laughs and shouts, "You're late."

Jess sips coffee and raises her eyebrows in a longsuffering way. 

I'm busting for a pee. When Suki comes out she's all dressed for work at the café so there's no way I'm getting a special send off. She gives me a peck on the cheek and says, "I'll see you later at the hospital."

I know she's talking about visiting Mick, but I hope the mention of the hospital is not prophetic. I grab a coffee before I go, trying to sharpen up before dealing with the cops. Jess sits at the table and ignores me. She's messing around with beads, as usual, making some sort of jewellery. As I head off she says,

"Watch out they don't lock you up, Tommy."

I'd like to think she's joking, but it's more likely wishful thinking on her part. Suki's going to speak to her about me staying on the boat. That's not a conversation I'm going to be around for. I just say, "Thanks, Jess, have a nice day."

Monday, 5 December 2011

Apologies!

Please accept my apologies that Traitor Blade 3 is not yet finished. I had hoped to get it done for Christmas, but I haven't managed to do so.

Writing is an organic process (for me at least) and the story needs time and space to develop, especially as it is the final book in the Traitor Blade trilogy. I see that, despite her awesome creativity and ability to write full out, Amanda Hocking recently blogged about a similar thing with one of her books. If it doesn't feel right that's something you can't ignore.

Just to say that Traitor Blade 3 will be coming as soon as it is done.