The Seduction of the Glen #MichelleDalrymple @RandomResourcesBlogTour #BlogTour #RomanticFiction #HistoricalRomance #TheSeductionOfTheGlen

The Seduction of the Glen
By Michelle Deerwester-Dalrymple

Today I present a new book, that’s a bit of a different type in some ways for my blog, thanks to Rachel Gilbey and her Random Resources blog tours for inviting me to take part. So, fill your boots and discover romance and warriors in the Highlands of Scotland. Take a look to see what the book is all about.

The Seduction of the Glen FINAL cover with pub (1)

A fierce Highland warrior, loyal to his king. His beautiful English captive. He has promised her protection, but will he have to risk his own life to do so?

John Sinclair, faithful warrior for Robert the Bruce, makes a fateful wager with his brother: whoever wins Aislynn’s affections will wed her. Only Aislynn de Valence, niece to the English King, is a captive of the Bruce, sent to the Highlands as a prisoner and for her own protection. The last thing she wants it to wed her enemy.

To win the wager and the woman, John woos Aislynn with his whole heart.
But the Highlands are unstable. And no one in the Highlands is ready to welcome an Englishwoman into their midst.

When Aislynn learns that she was nothing more than a prize in a wager, she decides she’s had enough of Scotland and its Highlanders.  Can John convince Aislynn of his true intentions and protect her when she needs him the most?

The Seduction of the Glen extract

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Link: https://books2read.com/u/bP9xLY

 

 

 

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Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin @julietconlin @bwpublishing @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today, I am also pleased to present the blurb from a great sounding book called Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin. So why not take a look to see what it is all about. Also take a look at what exciting things the publisher is doing too. You will also find a link to be able to purchase the book. Please note, I do not get anything from this.

Sisters of Berlin BT Poster (1) (1)

 

Sisters of Berlin_RGB (2) cover

Blurb

Berlin 2014. The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, and the city is gearing up for a celebration of unity and liberation. But, beneath the surface, are those for whom the divisions and allegiances of the past remain close to home.

In her hushed and leafy corner of Berlin, Nina’s life is a comfortable, conventional one– until her younger sister Marie, a free-spirited writer, is attacked and left for dead.

For Nina, Marie’s brutal demise – and that of her unborn child – tips her own carefully controlled life into a nightmare. Stonewalled by official incompetence and subterfuge,

Nina begins to realise that her sister’s past and the secrets of the once-divided city are connected in unimaginable ways. As she seeks out justice for Marie, Nina becomes caught in a tangle of obsessions, lies and hidden truths that threatens to destroy her marriage, her livelihood and all that she holds dear.

Sisters of Berlin_RGB (2) cover

Author

Sisters of Berlin Juliet Conlin 8 Annette KorollJuliet Conlin was born in London and grew up in England and Germany. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Durham. She works as a writer and translator and lives with her family in Berlin. Her novels include The Fractured Man (Cargo, 2013), The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days (Black & White, 2017), The Lives Before Us (Black & White, 2019).

Buy Link

http://blackandwhitepublishing.com/shop.html

Sisters of Berlin_RGB (2) cover

 

Publisher

Black & White Publishing was founded in 1999 by Managing Director Campbell Brown and Publishing Director Alison McBride. Since then, the business has grown into one of Scotland’s leading independent publishers with over 300 books in print across a variety of genres. Committed to publishing the best books from the most talented writers in the UK and beyond, some of our bestselling authors include Daniela Sacerdoti,  James Robertson, Estelle Maskame, Nick Alexander, Richard Gordon, Alex Norton, Millie Gray, Sally Magnusson and Tony Black. We produce an extensive range of titles, including general non-fiction, biography, sport and humour, as well as selected fiction, young adult and children’s books.

This year, we’ve started an exciting new alliance with PGUK who now provide sales representation for our titles, and GBS continue to distribute our books. Our eBooks are distributed by Faber Factory. Over recent years, our range of fiction has grown following recent eBook successes such as Daniela Sacerdoti’s Glen Avich series, which has sold nearly a million copies to date. These new alliances and our e-book successes are helping us shape and develop the list in new ways to bring more exciting new titles to both local and global markets.

Heart of the Warrior by Lali. A. Love @laliaristo @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #SupernaturalThriller #Fantasy

Today I am pleased to share something a bit different. I am sharing some content of the book Heart of the Warrior by Lali A. Love. A book that is an emotional tale that has kindness, love and courage as some of its central themes. I am delighted to share this as part of a blog tour I was invited onto by Kelly Lacey at LoveBooksTours. Below, you will also find all the links for the author.

Heart of Warrior angel bt poster

About the Author

Heart of Warrior angel author picAward-winning Author, Lali A. Love provides a supernatural thriller of metaphysical and visionary fantasy with her own revolutionary philosophy and unique narrative skills to produce this heart-wrenching and gripping tale.

Lali A. Love lives in the capital city of Canada with her husband and two beautiful children who are her greatest source of pride, joy, and inspiration. As a debut author, Lali loves to write stimulating, character-based novels that invoke an emotional response in her readers. She has done extensive research into epistemology and metaphysics to further her understanding of the Universal Laws of Energy.

Blurb

HeartofaWarriorAngel-Lali A. Love-Book CoverLilac Noble must face the traumatic experiences of her childhood before she can conquer the dark entities that have wreaked havoc on her family. On this epic journey, Lilac undergoes the destructive process of spiritual enlightenment in order to lift the veil of darkness and shame that has obscured her youth. As Lilac unlocks painful memories of abuse, suppressed in her subconscious from years of fear-based conditioning, she uncovers menacing secrets feeding the evil within her generational bloodline. In an attempt to vanquish the sinister energies, Lilac finds the courage to discover her inner truth, vulnerability, and authenticity, as she awakens her divine light and overcomes her debilitating fears of the past. Lilac’s unconditional love for her family guides her through her process of healing and transformation, fuelling her instinct for survival and her burning desire to illuminate the world.

Spanning two continents and three generations, this inspirational novel portrays the best and worst of humanity and shows how the “tiniest spark of light can overcome the darkness of any magnitude,” through forgiveness, compassion, and the most powerful force in the universe – Love.  

Extract from the book

In her spare time, Lali is committed to writing her visionary fiction trilogy about spiritual transformation. These mystical novels are based on the journeys of three incarnated Angels that have been brought together in the third-dimensional existence, to realize their Divine Feminine soul purpose. Each of them must experience unique self-realization to overcome the dark demonic entities that are determined to destroy their inner light to derail their Soul mission.  

On the eve of her milestone birthday, as Lilac sat in her studio admiring the abstract composition of her landscape painting, she could not help but reflect on her life’s journey over the past years. The textures and vibrant colours of the acrylic paint had provided her tranquillity and were quite therapeutic, especially during the moments she felt emotionally vulnerable. Lately, she had felt the anxiety of her youth that emanated from the post-traumatic stress of her upbringing take a stranglehold of her heart. The acrylic painting had helped her find temporary relief as she expressed her emotions creatively through her art while processing her complicated feelings.

Turning to look out her window, Lilac considered the reality of years gone by as her own reflection mirrored her authenticity. She was approaching her sunset years, as evidenced by deep lines on her forehead and dark circles around her eyes. Lilac pondered the meaning of life and her soul purpose in this world. She realized that she had not been alone in these reflections; these were questions that have mystified humans from the beginning of time. Lilac could not ascertain if she were having a mid-life crisis or a spiritual awakening.

She was standing at a crossroads in her life as unresolved issues from her past had recently resurfaced. Lilac intrinsically knew that she was about to be catapulted into an unknown event; however, she could not rationalize this instinct with her analytical mind. She was feeling discombobulated and confused, stuck between levels of consciousness and her perceived dimensional reality. Before she could move forward, Lilac found herself at a critical junction—she had to face the truth of her childhood and relinquish her victim mentality to truly ascend into a higher spiritual being.

Lilac had been blessed with a keen sense of intuition. Her ability to feel and be in touch with energetic vibrations around her had been uncanny; however, she had spent most of her life trying to ignore these precious gifts. In an effort to keep the darkness at a safe distance, she had been afraid to explore her instincts and their spiritual significance. But lately, the power of her senses had been robust, projecting shards of light in her mind’s eye as she practised her daily meditation.

Lilac had been sensing imminent, foreboding energy about to be revealed and realized that she could not hide from her spiritual ascension any longer. She knew that she needed to face her painful truth once and for all. The universe had been sending her signs for a reason—a call to action to fulfill her soul mission.

Her life journey had not been an easy one, but Lilac strongly believed in good and evil, the existence of a higher power, a divine energy source that surrounded all beings—a form of radiant light emanating from the goodness of human souls. She often thought about creation and had an inner knowing from a very young age that there were two very distinct scientific forces in this world—gravity and love. Lilac had never questioned the power of unconditional love, human kindness, and the sheer force of positive spiritual existence. She believed in karma, in putting out good energy into the vast universe and manifesting it back into her daily life.

Spirituality, for Lilac, had nothing to do with organized religion. She thought that these convictions had been created by humans to exert control and dominance over the masses. This was done by the exploitation of specific doctrines that propagated fear to foster division in the name of a deity. In her mind, religious dogma had caused war and genocide throughout history, all elements of darkness. Lilac, therefore, had never affiliated herself with any organized belief system, but she did respect traditions, values, and the fundamental laws of humanity. She felt that tradition was vital for family unity, and Lilac had done her best to continue the customs that were taught to her by her grandmother.

She wondered why she valued this heritage so much and questioned whether it was hypocritical, given her principles. Lilac knew she needed to unravel her past to fully comprehend her life path before she could discover any type of enlightenment. She needed to face the veracity of her childhood to discard the chains of her past—not gloss over her experiences—no matter how painful and complicated the process.

This quest would require her to tear down the dark curtains around her heart. She needed to unlock her suppressed memories to bravely face her fears and discover the depth of generational violence and cruelty of her upbringing. After all, she had been assured that the vicious cycle of abuse stemming from her paternal grandfather’s bloodline had been broken. However, her genetic history of darkness and heritage had shaped her identity, fuelled her instinct for survival and inspired her burning desire to illuminate messages of hope, kindness, and forgiveness.

HeartofaWarriorAngel-Lali A. Love-Book Cover

 

Links and websites for the author

Twitter handle: @laliaristo
Instagram handle: @vibrationslovelight

Author Website

http://authorlalialove.com/

BookBub

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lali-a-love?list=about

GoodReads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19274711.Lali_A_Love

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46360566-heart-of-a-warrior-angel

Reedsy

https://reedsy.com/discovery/user/love-lali-a

Amazon

US: https://amzn.to/2qCoaaP

CA: https://amzn.to/2NPvcAQ

UK: https://amzn.to/33ypfz4

AU: https://amzn.to/33zS2mP

Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood @HeideGoody @IainMGrant #Extract #LoveBooksTours #Christmas #BlogTour #XmasReads #XmasGifts

Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood
By Heide Goody and Iain M. Grant

Thanks to Love Books for inviting me to the blog tour of Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood by Heide Goody and Iain Grant. It certainly seems to be a very different sort of book for Christmas, so I am pleased to be hosting an extract from it today, especially since it is freezing and all wintry where I live and is the 1st December today.

About the Authors

Heide lives in North Warwickshire with her husband and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. Iain lives in South Birmingham with his wife and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. They aren’t sure how many novels they’ve written together since 2011 but it’s a surprisingly large number.

 

Elf Story authors Iain and Heide by Pete C b+w

Blurb

Christmas is a time for families to come together.

Guin Roberts can’t think of anything worse than visiting a Christmas market with her new family. Guin is perfectly happy with own company and doesn’t want that disrupted by her wisecracking stepbrother and his touchy-feel mum.

Their Christmas celebrations are invaded by a sleigh full of murderous elves. And it doesn’t matter if they’ve been naughty or nice —these elves are out for blood.

Can the family band together to survive the night? Or will Santa’s little helpers make mincemeat of them all?

Elf Story cover

Extract

“Cuckoo clocks!” said Esther, arms spread.

“So, I see,” said Dave.

They pressed forward under the shallow eaves of the stall to avoid the briskly falling snow. The side walls and back of the stall were crowded with intricately carved clocks — chalet house shapes, covered with carved trees and fruits and animals, pine cone weights dangling on long chains beneath. On tiny balconies and in tiny doorways, varnished figures stood, some fixed, some poised to spring out at the chiming of the hour.

“I don’t like them,” said Dave.

“Why not?” said Esther.

“I don’t know. They always look … sinister to me.”

She looked up at him and smiled.

He kissed her on the forehead. “I look at them and all that super detailed carving and I think ‘that’s what happens when you’re cooped up all winter with snow piled outside your door and nowhere to go.’”

“Really?”

“Cabin fever as an art form.”

She shrugged. “I guess people did need something to keep them occupied through the winter months.”

He looked back the way they’d come. “They’ll be all right together?”

“Newton will keep an eye on her.”

“I’m more concerned about him,” said Dave. “No, I meant long term. Them. Us. A new life.”

Esther gave him a reassuring hug. “Taking it slow. Let’s see how Christmas goes, all four of us at your place. And if that works out…”

“Oh, crap.”

She pulled away. “You don’t want it to work out?”

Dave patted his coat pockets before putting a hand in each.

“What?” said Esther.

“Keys. Car keys.”

He took out his wallet to check the inside pocket. He looked inside the carrier bag of mulled wine.

“When did you last have them?” asked Esther.

“Definitely in the car.”

“Obviously.”

He shot her a tetchy took. “I had them at the car. I went into that pocket to buy pretzels and mulled wine. I might have…” He mimed a hand out of pocket action and then looked round as though the keys might magically be on the ground somewhere nearby.

“Maybe fallen out near one of those stalls,” she said. “Let’s go look.”

He held out his hands. “You stay here. The kids will come to you. I’ll go check.” He sighed. “Buggeration,” he said and hurried off.

Esther leaned close to the cuckoo clock stall as the snow came down in thick, tangled clumps. There was still virtually no wind but there had to be a point at which heavy snowfall automatically became a blizzard. Wherever that point was, surely they were close to it. She pulled her collar about her neck and continued to look at the range of clocks.

 “So, are all these clocks hand-carved?” she asked the old man behind the stall.

The old man grunted ambiguously. He was packing clocks away in wooden crates lined with straw. It was late; the fairground rides still turned and there were still people drinking and eating but this man had probably sold his last cuckoo clock of the year. And it was the last day of the Christmas market. Esther supposed the clocks that went unsold would resurface in this market or another next year.

“I just wondered,” she said. “They are very beautiful. Does someone carve them all?”

“Yes, yes,” he said and waved to the unseen space behind the stall. “All carved.”

He continued to pack clocks, spooling the weight chains in his hands before laying them flat. He moved sluggishly, failing to co-ordinate left hand and right.

“You make them back here?” said Esther. There was a narrow space between this stall and the next, little more than a crawlspace but, looking round, Esther could see a dim light and hear the sounds of industry.

“Yes, yes,” said the old man, waving. “All carved.”

“I mean, if you don’t mind me looking—”

The old man didn’t seem to care. She took a step towards the little cut-through. “I’ll just—” She slipped down the space. There was a surprising amount of room: the stalls weren’t arranged precisely back to back. A wide alley was laid out between them, covered over with sheltering canvas, in parts lit by an inferior sort of fairy light.

The sounds of construction came from the dim shanty town. There was almost no light here and Esther stepped carefully, waiting for her eyes to adjust. There were low tables — roughly made things — little more than split logs laid across trestles. Worn hand tools, too dark to make out clearly were strewn around.

Workers sat at the benches. She could not make them out properly, although they seemed happy enough in the near darkness. She guessed, purely from the sounds they made, there were three or four or them; no more than five. They must have been cramped: there couldn’t be room for more than two people to sit comfortably in that space. Suggestions of hands moved across their materials. A chisel glinted here, a saw there.

“Hello?” she said. “I didn’t mean to interrupt but the man said it was okay.”

The work stopped instantly.

“If you don’t mind,” said Esther.

Five pairs of eyes turned to regard her. Eyes set widely in round faces, far lower down than she expected.

The craftsmen — no, they were too small to be craftsmen — the individuals in the makeshift space behind the stalls watched Esther.

“Stinga henni með hníf

They were no bigger than children; small children at that.

“Do you work here?” she asked in her most gentle, mumsiest voice.


*And thus concludes the extract. I hope it whet your appetite to want to discover more.*

An Extract of new book – Violet by S.J.I Holliday Blog Tour @SJIHolliday #Violet @OrendaBooks #TrainNoir #Thriller #Extract #BlogTour #AnneCater #BlogTour

Violet
By S.J.I. Holliday

Today I am pleased and excited  to present an enticing extract that sets the scene of the thriller/train noir book Violet by S.J.I. Holliday. There is enough to give a bit of a taster to know that you are going to join in on a train journey, not just any train journey, an international adventure where you just know something isn’t going to be right and all will not be as it seems. Thanks to Orenda Books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for organising this.

About the Author

Susi author photoS.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.

Blurb

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone. Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is desperate for a ticketon the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.
When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place. Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

Violet Jacket

 

Extract

Beijing

 1

I’m sitting alone on a concrete bench. Around me, people are swarming, shouting quickly in a language that I can’t understand. Above me, the sky is a thick powder blue, like dirty paintbrushes swirled in water. The smog is so dense I can taste it. Waves of panic wash over me as I try to inhale some fresh air, and I wonder how anyone can breathe in this city. What started out as an exciting, fun morning has rapidly declined into panic and frustration; and not for the first time, I regret leaving Sam behind in Bangkok.

There is something easy about that place, with the swarms of British backpackers and grinning Aussies, men on stag parties, cold beers and menus written in English. Even though Thailand is as far away from the English countryside as can be, there is a certain warmth. Familiarity. Despite all the stories you hear, I felt completely safe there. But then me and Sam had that stupid falling-out in the hotel lobby. I can’t even remember how it started.

And so here I am, sitting outside the Beijing international train station, no boyfriend, only half my luggage – since my rucksack went AWOL somewhere on the way to China – and still no ticket for the train I want, which leaves tomorrow morning. I could call Sam, beg for his forgiveness, ask him to follow me out here. But firstly, I know he doesn’t want to, and secondly, I’d only be doing it out of desperation. He got sucked in, in Thailand, didn’t want to follow the plan – my plan – loop back via China and the Trans-Siberian Express to Moscow, before flying home from there. He’d gone into an Internet café and resigned from his job; he was getting more excited than I liked by the cheap beer and the hordes of stunning young women that seemed to flock to him on a daily basis. ‘I’d just like to hang about here a bit longer,’ he’d said. ‘Lighten up, sweetheart. You need to smoke some more weed.’

Idiot.

He’d changed since the group of German students arrived. There’d been a wild night. I’d felt uneasy, but he’d felt the opposite. ‘This is the kind of fun I came for,’ he said. To them, not me. I knew then that my Sam was gone. Was I angry? Not really. I just hope he stayed sober enough to do the appropriate checks on some of those beautiful ‘women’ that he and the German lads were spending so much time with.

Now I’m alone, in Beijing, a bustling metropolis of nearly twentytwo million people, feeling properly homesick for the first time in months. I did have fun yesterday, going for a proper Chinese tea ceremony with a young couple I’d met in the gardens near the Forbidden City. The tea had been ridiculously expensive, and I’d realised early on that it was a scam of some sort, but as scams go, it was pretty friendly. And I know more now than I ever thought I needed to about the many different kinds of Chinese tea.

This morning I was buzzing, ready for another full-on day, making sure I could fit in as many crispy duck pancakes as I could manage. All I had to do was pop down to the train station and buy my ticket. The station is huge, the guidebook said, but buying a ticket should be simple. Just make sure you go to the international section. When they said huge, I hadn’t quite realised what that meant. But while I sat outside, waiting for the sun to push its way through the everpresent smog – it didn’t, by the way – it dawned on me that small towns in China have five million inhabitants, and that huge really means the station is the size of Manchester, and after walking around the whole place for two hours, being jostled and stared at, pointed at, pointed out and misdirected for hours on end, what I realised was that foreigners can’t buy international tickets in the station after all; they have to go to a travel centre in some business hotel, streets away … and that I am so over this now. This so-called ‘adventure’.

And so I sat myself down on this concrete bench, and all I want to do now is cry. But that’s not going to get me anywhere. Certainly not to Moscow, which is where I really want to be. I need to move on. Find another companion for my trip. So I take a swig of water, then I pick up my backpack and head back into the throng.

 

 

violet tour poster 2019

Senseless By Anna Lickley – Extract – Blog Tour @annal_writes @Unbound_Digital #Senseless #Diversity #Extract #NewBook

Senseless
By Anna Lickley

 

Senseless Blog Tour

Today I am pleased to announce is my turn to take part of the Random Things Blog Tour for the book Senseless by Anna Lickley. Today, I present to you an extract from chapter 1.


Blurb

Senseless is at heart an illustration of the messy unpredictability of love and life and the
resilience of the human spirit.

Senseless BookBeth’s partner, Dan, inexplicably vanishes from her life and nine years later she is still
struggling. In the intervening years, she has learnt British Sign Language (BSL) and got what she thought would be her dream job, supporting deaf students in college. However, she finds she still feels dissatisfied with just about everything: from working life to sex life, domestic life to social life, it’s as if the traumas of her past will forever mar her future.

Through her work, Beth meets a group of strong-minded, pragmatists who show her how
they’ve adapted to challenges of having a disability.

Is Dan’s disappearance the primary source of Beth’s sadness? Can her new friends help to shift her perspective on dealing with life? Will learning BSL prove to be significant after all? And what really happened to Dan? The answers may be quite unexpected.

The themes and characters of Senseless are moulded by the challenges of deafness and
disability but the book is not ‘about’ disability per se. More succinctly, it’s about ordinary
people bumping through the ups and downs of life like we all are.

Extract

Chapter 1

‘The Better Solutions honchos are a nasty, money-grabbing bunch of wankers, Beth,’ Rick was saying as they pulled up outside her house. ‘For God’s sake, you are 32 years young. What the hell are you doing in this pissy job?’ Beth was too tired to answer after they had driven a 400-mile round trip in heavy traffic to attend the Better Solutions UK AGM. She shook her head and shrugged instead. ‘All we do is drive across half the country to care homes trying to persuade underpaid staff to buy Better Solutions bath hoists and Better bloody Solutions state–of–the–art wheelchair ramps.’ Rick paused for breath but Beth knew he wasn’t stopping. She wondered sleepily how many times he’d said this to her in the course of the journey. ‘These people only come to our demonstrations to get the free mugs, pens, mouse mats, cakes and whatever the fuck else we have to sweeten them up with. We’re the ones feeling like bloody idiots slugging this stuff around and breaking our sodding backs in the process.’ ‘I know, Rick, maybe one day I really will get round to moving on but…’ ‘But what, Beth? “But” is what I’ve been saying all my life. We both have dreams of doing something else. What’s stopping you?’ ‘ ‘I don’t know,’ she shrugged, rubbing her hand over her eyes, ‘I’m too tired, Rick, I’ll have to go in.’

‘Alright, Beth love, I’ll see you tomorrow.’

Beth pulled herself out of his over heated car and it was so cold that by the time she’d walked the 15 steps to her front door, the metal door handle felt wet to her frozen fingers. ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck,’ she chanted as she fumbled with her key, seeing a frozen cloud coming from her mouth. The only light was a faint glow from the distant street lamp but even that was obscured by an overgrown bush. There were no lights on in the house, so Dan was already in bed. He would usually leave the porch light on if Beth still hadn’t come home from a long working day. He’d sometimes leave a note on the door for her too: Come to bed immediately! Or Welcome home, sexy! Tonight there were neither of those things. She was worried about Dan, he’d been in a strange, uncommunicative mood for the last few weeks. His sullen moods were very unlike him.

After asking a couple of times if he was okay and getting the brush off, she had decided to ignore it and wait for the real Dan to come back. It was probably just work stress; he had mentioned budget cuts. All Beth wanted now was to get this bloody rigid bra off and curl up in bed next to a calm, sleeping Dan hoping he’d wake up in a better mood tomorrow. When she got in, the dark house was freezing. Had Dan not had the heating on at all tonight? She went to the lounge and bent to turn on the glass-fronted faux-flame gas fire, holding out her hands to the flames. That’s when she noticed the envelope on the mantelpiece with BETH written in large black letters on the front. Had Dan left a welcome note after all? He’d never used an envelope before. She lifted it down drowsily, tempted to just put it in her pocket to read in the morning. But something about the formality of the sealed envelope made her open it. When she pulled out the folded piece of A4 paper there was just one short line in Dan’s best cursive. Bile rose in her throat as she read the words: I have loved you so much Beth, I’m so sorry. D xx All thoughts of sleep suddenly vanished. ‘Oh my God, Dan,’ she screamed out, ‘Dan! Dan!’ She ran to the kitchen and switched on the light; there was nothing there but a discarded half-drunk mug of cold tea. ‘DAN?!’ She bolted to the stairs, running up them two at a time, and threw open the door to the box room they used as an office. It was empty. With a pounding in her chest, she wheeled round and checked the bathroom. It was also empty, towels slung carelessly on the floor where she had left them this morning in her haste to dress. God! Finally she threw open the door to their bedroom. The bed was unmade but the room was empty. Thank God! All she felt was relief.

No Dan hanging by his neck or convulsed on the bed or slumped in a cold bath of bloodied water. But then the relief became despair. If the house was empty, Dan was gone.

About the Author

Anna Lickley PicAnna’s adult life has been moulded a great deal by challenges on her physical health and needing to adapt to them. She was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) in the 1980s when she was 16. NF2 is a complex genetic illness involving benign tumours developing on nerves throughout the body, usually in the brain or spine. As a result, she went deaf whilst at University and began to learn British Sign Language to help with communication. She loved the language immediately and went on to became fluent enough to teach it.

In the last 5 years, Anna’s vision has deteriorated and she is now registered deafblind. That and other health complications led her to stop working. Although sad to leave a job she loved, she is now relishing having more time to write and much of her writing is greatly influenced by her desire to share the realities of living with disability.

Anna wrote and self-published a semi-autobiographical novel called Catch it Anytime You Can in 2012 and has in mind a title and plot outline for a further novel. She is in-house writer for Can You Hear Us CIC, a social enterprise dedicated to the needs of people with NF2 and also loves writing poetry, short stories and articles.
Senseless is her first full-length work of fiction.
Outside of writing, she loves horse riding and competes at dressage with the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association)

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Title: Senseless
Author: Anna Lickley
ISBN: 978-1-912618-04-0
Pages: 288
Main Points of Purchase: Amazon