#BlogTour #Extract #Recipe ~ Twelve Days of Elfin by Melanie Chambers @rjchambers2009 @gilbster1000 @AuthorightUKPR

This is the story of a little boy who becomes friends with an elf; soon they are best friends!

The elf and the boy go on adventures together, creating wonderful magical things that every child would love to experience.

Keep the magic of Christmas alive for your little ones with this delightfully festive story by author and mum Melanie Chambers, to help create magical times together, with lots of fun and happy memories, for parents and children everywhere.

Amazon UK  B&N

About the Author

Melanie Chambers was born in Bristol, and had a troubled childhood. She was only diagnosed with dyslexia a few years ago on a British Sign Language course. Melanie has been inspired by her own children to write books for that age group, due to their limitless imaginations. With her younger daughter also being an arts and crafts fan, and with Christmas being a favourite holiday it made sense to combine them into a her first book – The Twelve Days of Elfin.

You can follow Melanie on  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

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#BlogBlitz ~ Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found by @EmDaviesAuthor @Bookouture

I’m thrilled to welcome Emma back to the blog today. I was supposed to be doing a review but I know Emma is such a lovely lady she will understand that due to health circumstances I haven’t been able to yet. I do have a copy of the book and the fabulous people at Bookouture know I will read/review as soon as I can .. meanwhile take a look and perhaps all my readers will enjoy it before me! 🙂 xx

Sometimes you’ve got to run away to find yourself…

Twenty-four-year-old Lucy needs a fresh start. Forever single and frustrated with her studies she gives up everything to run a little library in the leafy village of Tilley Moreton.

Lucy loves reading almost as much as she loves fixing other people’s problems, so starting a book club seems like the perfect opportunity to do both. As she meets her new members, it’s clear she’s going to have her work cut out for her. Handsome but silent Callum is the biggest puzzle of them all… 

But Lucy’s meddling begins to cause more problems than it solves, and no one is more surprised than Lucy when Callum steps in to help. Could there be more to him than people think?

As Callum and Lucy start working together to fix the broken hearts of the library’s most loyal customers, the first sparks of romance begin to fly.

Can they right all the trouble Lucy has created, and might there be a chance for a happy ending of their own?

An utterly uplifting, emotional page-turner that will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your face. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Milly Johnson.

  Amazon UK  Amazon US

About the Author

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea. 

Pop over to her Website where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on  Twitter or find her on Facebook  (a little too often than is good for her).

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Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week! @beckvalleybooks

Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs…
Life as Leels | IrishdaisylovesRomance | Book Babble | All Romance Reader
It’s My Side of Life | Celticlady’s Reviews | First Time Mommy Adventures | Bound 2 Escape
Beck Valley BooksA Library of Reviews | Cinnamon Hollow Reviews
Miki’s Hope | Taking Time for Mommy | Nicki’s Nook
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance | A Bit Bookish | Mother Distracted | Colorimetry
Totally Addicted to Reading | 3 Partners in Shopping | Angie’s Angle I Creat Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings
Lynchburg Mama | LibriAmoriMieiAli – The Dragon Slayer | Wondermom WannabeMy Bizzy World |
Deal Sharing Aunt 

For Pre-orders post – PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author

For New Releases post – NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post – FREE / genre / title / author / end date
For Bargain Books post – SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!

Would you like to share our linkup on your site? click here
Would you like to become a weekly host? sign up here

Come back and check out the new selection every week x

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#BlogTour Q&A ~ We Have Lost The Chihuahuas by Paul Mathews @QuiteFunnyGuy @emmamitchellfpr

London, 2046. The British Republic has a new First Lady. She’s Californian, ‘in-your-face, for sure’ and she’s got big plans for a Buckingham Palace refurb. When her three Chihuahuas go missing, one man is determined to avoid getting dragged into it all. His name is Pond. Howie Pond – presidential spokesperson, retired secret agent and cat lover. Meanwhile, Howie’s wife Britt is handed her first assignment as a National Security and Intelligence Service rookie – to solve the mystery of the missing canine trio. Will Howie manage to slope off to the pub before he can be roped into help? Will Britt unmask the dognapper and grab the glory? Find out, in the latest, crazy comedy-thriller from dog-loving British author Paul Mathews.

Pre-Order link: Here  Available 28th November 2017

About the Author

Paul Mathews is a quite funny British guy who’s managed to escape his day job and is currently on the run as a comedy novelist. His sharp, satirical – often surreal – sense of humour draws on 20 years as a British Government press officer, during which time he encountered politicians, senior civil servants, HR managers, and lots of other people who really sucked at their jobs. His popular ‘We Have Lost’ comedy-thriller series set in 2040s London, starring beleaguered presidential spokesman and wannabe secret agent Howie Pond, currently comprises four titles with more on the way. Paul has read all the books at least ten times and highly recommends them. Make him happy by signing up for his ‘Very Funny Newsletter’ Here. If you don’t want to sign up for it, stay calm and do nothing. Paul also owns a cat, Lulu, who works as his assistant. All fan mail to her, please.

 Website Twitter  Facebook

Q&A with Paul Matthews

1. Who would you like to star in the film of your life?

As a former amateur actor, me, preferably!

2. Describe your best ever holiday.

I’ve got it booked for March 2018 – Los Angeles for seven nights and five nights in Vegas. The cat won’t be happy, but I’ll make it up to her when I get back.

3. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

Have fun with the cat and her toys.

4. If I joined you on your perfect day, what would we be doing?

Watching Watford win the Champions League final while drinking black beer and eating a hot dog.

5. What do you think is the best thing about social media?

Finding other writers and artists to network with. I found both my editor and cover designer on Twitter.

6. And the worst…?!

It’s not very social. I have 100 friends on Facebook but trying to actually socialise with them can be a challenge!


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#PublicationDay #Review ~ The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part 1 by Audrey Davis @audbyname @rararesources

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One:

Some people just won’t take death lying down … ! (NB: cliffhanger ending).

Part one of a fun-filled trilogy about life, death and letting go.

Hattie Hastings is happily married, even if husband Gary drives her up the wall at times. When tragedy strikes, she is left alone and heartbroken, with only an assortment of family and friends to prop her up.

Struggling to cope, she is left reeling when her deceased other half returns, popping up at the most inappropriate times.

Hattie can’t convince anyone that Gary has returned. Not even best friend Cat – now free from the cruel and controlling Stewart – will believe her.

Why has Gary returned? And what will Cat do when her slimy ex-husband tries to worm his way back into her affections?

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings will make you laugh, cry and count down until Part Two …

Purchase from  Amazon UK

About the Author

Scottish-born Audrey studied journalism in Edinburgh more decades ago than she cares to admit. She cut her writing teeth on provincial newspapers (using a typewriter) and a London-based video magazine (another sign of her advanced years).

Engagement to her now-husband Bill took them to Singapore, Australia and Buckinghamshire, England, before they settled in Switzerland in 2002. Along the way they had two boys, both all grown-up and living in the UK.

Her journey to becoming a published author began with an online Writing Fiction course. It took well over a year but, in June 2017, Audrey published her debut romantic comedy novel, A Clean Sweep. It was quickly followed by a shorter and darker prequel, A Clean Break.

The idea for The Haunting of Hattie Hastings came from nowhere, just a random title that popped into her head and from there grew into Part One of a trilogy. It comes under the same genre, but has some poignant scenes and – hopefully – lots of laughs! Audrey admits to being a worrier, and has always used humour as a defence mechanism, as her friends will attest.

When Audrey isn’t writing, she loves shows like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and Strictly Come Dancing (a strange mix, she knows). Her interests include cooking (and eating pretty much anything apart from oysters), travelling and going to the gym. OK, the last one is mainly to compensate for her passion for food!

Audrey would describe herself as a ‘pantser’ rather than a ‘planner’, preferring to run where a story takes her and scribble copious notes along the way. She’d love to write a page-turning thriller, but fears her natural tendency to see the comic side of life might be an obstacle.

Website  Facebook  Twitter

My Review

I’m always a little dubious about books with certain titles and content due to my current health situation but the blurb sells this as a light-hearted story. 

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings is quite well written with a definite slant towards humour. There are some great one-liners to raise a smile. It’s only a short novella so can be read in one sitting, beware it does end on a BIG cliff hanger with two further parts to come.

The characters are fairly realistic in the circumstances, son Johnny had to be my favourite, anyone who has experienced a teenager in the house will relate! 

Hattie and Cat have that brilliant friendship that only years of knowing each other can bring .. so when Hattie is ‘visited’ by her dead hubby will Cat believe her or think she has gone totally crazy!?

Be prepared to alternate between tears of joy or sadness .. a cute little story to enhance your day. Roll on book two!

Thanks to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily. 3.5*


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#BlogTour #Extract ~ His Guilty Secret by @helenefermont @BookPublicistUK #Giveaway #HisGuiltySecret

Secrets & Lies Are Dangerous.

When Jacques’s body is discovered in a hotel room his wife, Patricia, suspects he has been hiding something from her.

Why was he found naked and who is the woman that visited his grave on the day of the funeral? Significantly, who is the unnamed beneficiary Jacques left a large sum of money to in his will and what is the reason her best friend, also Jacques’s sister, Coco, refuses to tell her what he confided to her?

Struggling to find out the truth, Patricia visits Malmö where her twin sister Jasmine lives and is married to her ex boyfriend. But the sisters relationship is toxic and when a family member dies shortly after, an old secret is revealed that shines a light on an event that took place on their tenth birthday.

As one revelation after another is revealed, Patricia is yet to discover her husband’s biggest secret and what ultimately cost him his life.

His Guilty Secret is an unafraid examination of the tangled bonds between siblings, the lengths we go to in protecting our wrongdoings, and the enduring psychological effects this has on the innocent…and the not so innocent.

Hélene Fermont is the author of three books. Because of You and We Never Said Goodbye are also available on Kindle and in print from Amazon.

Pre-Order Here Available 27th November 2017

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7511.0 KB
  • Publisher: Fridhem Publishing (27 Nov. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07782SWK3

About the Author

Hélene Fermont was born in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city and beautiful cultural hub where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood, surrounded by beaches, parks and commons. Her parental home was filled with music and literature and she started to write short stories which she entered into competitions at eight years old. Writing is her passion.

She moved to London in the mid-90s and the city has been home for more than 20 years. Malmö is her native city and she regularly spends part of the year there surrounded by the beautiful landscape and tranquillity which inspires her writing.

Her debut novel Because of You was published in August 2016. The novel is inspired by visits to London during the 80s. The eclectic club scene was something that she was too young to appreciate fully at the time but it is emblematic of an exciting era that is now gone forever.

Her second novel – We Never Said Goodbye – was published on the 6th April 2017 and the third – His Guilty Secret – will be available via Fridhem Publishing from 27th November 2017.

Facebook Twitter Website 


“With pleasure. I wish you a great day and look forward to seeing you tomorrow.” Tom was almost out of the door when the man stepped over to him and gave him a £50 note.
“You must treat yourself and your girlfriend to something nice, Tom, perhaps a movie and bottle of wine? It’s wonderful to see you again.”
“But it’s too much…I can’t accept it,” Tom said, only too pleased to be of service to them without the generous tip.
“We insist, you must take it or we’ll be upset,” the woman said, smiling at him.
The young porter beamed, bowed and reminded them he would return in the morning with their breakfast, before wishing them all the best and closing the door behind him.
Alone at long last, the man’s eyes lingered on the woman seated on the bed. “Je t’aime…you will never know how much I love you.
Promise me one thing: when it’s time to leave, you must start to look forward to our next meeting.” His voice was hoarse with emotion.
“I can’t! My heart breaks each time we say goodbye. Why can’t we be together all the time?”
“You know the answer. I can’t leave her…Patricia loves and relies on me, just like I do with her. You and I made a pact that we’d
never leave our marriages no matter how hard it is for us to be apart.
What’s changed since then?” He sounded as sad as they both felt.
“I don’t love him anymore, I don’t think I ever did…not after I met you. I’m only with him for one reason, as you know.”

The woman burst into tears and lay down on the bed, covering her face with her hands. She’d agonised over whether to put an end
to their relationship but it was too painful to imagine he would not continue to be a part of her life. They were soul mates, regardless of the others who shared their lives.
“You are the love of my life. I’m lost without you,” she cried, feeling his arms around her as they lay together, gazing into each other’s eyes.
“I feel the same about you…And her. Patricia is my wife. I’d never have asked her to marry me if I didn’t love her.” Imagining her eagerness to see him after weeks apart, he felt the same turmoil as if he’d betrayed her trust. But the woman he was with meant just as
much to him. And he knew he would never be able to choose one over the other. “We’ve got too much to lose. I hate to see you so
upset, have you told him how you feel?”
Whenever they were apart, he often wondered if she was happy with the man she had been married to for longer than he and his wife. But long ago they had agreed to never mention their respective lives and spouses while together, except for the one thing that meant everything to both of them.


I’m thrilled to say I have been provided with a paperback copy of #HisGuiltySecret for one of my readers to win. To enter just comment below with any secret of which you are guilty or one that has affected you, as told by somebody else. Each entry will be given a number and pulled from my lucky hat by my son! I am hoping to let this run for a week but if hospital/surgery delays it I will announce when I return. (sorry guys you know I normally do it differently!) UK only xx

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#BlogTour ~ CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour @the_cwa @OrendaBooks #CWA

I’m thrilled to be part of this Crime Writer’s Anthology tour .. I was hoping to host a giveaway but due to ill health I’m not going to be able to do that just at the moment .. but take a look at all the great authors involved and be sure to check out all the other bloggers for reviews, guest posts etc ….

Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour. Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

Contributions from:
Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday, Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler, Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey, Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson, Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan, William Ryan and William Burton McCormick

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Orenda (15 Nov. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1910633925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910633922


Forty of the finest international crime writers in an exciting new anthology edited by Martin Edwards, award-winning crime writer
and critic, and author of the bestselling and multi-award-winning The Golden Age of Crime. He is also vice chair of The CWA.

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#BlogBlitz #FirstBirthday ~ Jungle Rock by @CarolineJames12 @rararesources #Giveaway


 This should have posted yesterday but technology screwed up!!

Wishing Caroline and the fabulous Jungle Rock a very Happy (Belated) 1st Book Birthday! 🙂 xx

Handsome young chef Zach Docherty is feeling the heat. Following an exposé in a national newspaper, his fiancée Poppy Dunlop has broken their engagement. Heartbroken at the thought of life without Poppy, Zach drowns his sorrows and, when his agent suggests that Zach becomes a contestant in a reality TV show, Jungle Survival, he reluctantly agrees. Plunged deep in the jungle, into a bizarre mix of talent and trials, Zach meets glamour model Cleo Petra, and the cameras go crazy. Will Zach survive and be crowned Jungle King? Or will his latest exploits push Poppy further away…

“If you’re looking for a highly entertaining story, look no further.”

Linda’s Book Bag

“Another really good book from Caroline James.”

Rachel’s Random Reads

“A fun romantic read – 5 stars!”

My Chestnut Reading Tree

“Fans of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ will love this book!”

Nikki Ashton, best-selling romcom author

Purchase Here

About the Author

Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry – a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK and spends her time writing, climbing mountains and running a consultancy business. Caroline has a great fondness for the Caribbean and escapes to the islands whenever she can. She is a public speaker, reviewer and food writer and loves cooking and baking, especially cake. Her next novel, The Best Boomerville Hotel is coming soon…

 Website  Facebook  Twitter  Amazon Author Page

My Review … I read this book when it first came out so I’m happy to share my thoughts again one year on!

Yet another fun read from Caroline. This time we are heading down under to the jungle, yep if you are a ‘I’m a Celebrity’ fan you will love this but it is just as enjoyable if not.

Chef Zach has managed to jeopardise his relationship with fiance Poppy after lewd pics are splattered across the media of him and another woman. So when his agent highly recommends he plays the jungle game Zach reluctantly agrees to go.

His caring personality soon becomes apparent by the way he acts along with his fellow contestants .. so surely Zach isn’t all bad. His doting mum and Aunt Hattie think he is the bees knees and soon cash in on his fame laying on some fantastic events at their hotel. These two are my favourite characters, full of energy and hilarity.

Poppy is having her own dilemma, she is working an event at Disneyworld and attempting to avoid the advances of another chef. Meanwhile Zach is getting on with the ‘game’ all the while regretting losing the love of his life.

This includes enough reference to the festive season to make it an ideal read for this time of year without being too over the top Christmas.

A great short story sure to appeal to a wide audience with a whole variety of action taking place. I have read other books by Caroline and it’s nice to spot some familiar names but it can easily be read as a stand alone. Sexy male lead, family, truth and love all equals a fabulous mix. A highly entertaining book.

Giveaway – Win a £20 Amazon Voucher

Sign up to Caroline James’ mailing list to be entered into a draw to win a £20 Amazon voucher. Giveaway open internationally and closes 30th November 2017. Winner will be announced by Caroline via email. Sign up Here

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#PromoPost ~ Room 119-The Whitby Trader by T.F Lince @Room119TFLince #BookBoost

High-flying trader Dean Harrison has it all – the London penthouse apartment; the fast car; the beautiful wife. But when the threads of Dean’s life start to unravel, they do so with alarming speed.

Following the advice of a frail stranger, Dean sets off for Welnetham Hall Hotel and is plunged into the mysterious world of Room 119 – a world where nothing makes sense. How does everyone in the hotel know his name? Why does he travel there on a train line that shut down over fifty years ago? And who is the sinister man in black who pursues him wherever he goes?

As he gradually pieces together the puzzle of Welnetham Hall, Dean is forced to re-evaluate his life and realises that nothing is more important to him than his wife and daughter. Desperate to get back to them, he vows he would lay down his life for the people he loves.

It’s a promise he may have to keep.

Pre-Order Here Available 14 December 2017

Goodreads Link   Twitter

I will leave it to Trev to tell you a bit about the book! 🙂 


Who will this book appeal to?

Room 119 is essentially a thriller come mystery with suspense, fantasy and some manipulation of time thrown in for good measure. You will end up rooting for Dean the main character as his fights his way through the twists and turns of his journey.

My book writing journey so far?

Well I’m not your normal book writer, dyslexic and an ‘e’ in English. But I had a dream, and decided to write a book, mad I know but loved the writing experience and found it the easiest part of the process.

My editor who was fabulous said she cried and laughed in equal measure so that’s a good sign, she thought it was a unique story which keeps you hooked from the first to the last page.

If you like nonstop thrillers and twists and turns galore I’m sure this is the book for you

Who is this Thriller – Mystery – Fantasy- Suspense novel aimed at?

So a thriller, mystery, suspense and fantasy, that’s a lot to cram into one book but I think it works. All of these different things are entwined around the story that will leave you having to read just one more chapter then bed, then one more chapter, then just one more. A real page-turner you will fall in love with.

It is not really aimed at anyone, YA Young Adults will like the fantasy and mysterious elements, slightly older readers will like Dean’s humour and northern English wit and the older generation will love when we dip into the early 70’s for a while so I truly believe no one is excluded, you are all welcome into Room 119. A non stop thriller. Dare you turn the key?

There are lots of books available. Why Room 119?

As the author can I just promise that Room 119 – The Whitby Trader will take you on a journey, with thrills and spills, highs and lows in every turn. A thriller that delivers a roller-coaster of emotions, a mystery which will keep you guessing till the very end. And a fantasy where everything and yet nothing makes any sense.

I even enjoyed it reading it again last week. I got emotional and wasn’t sure what was next, and I wrote it.
Well mystery, thriller fantasy or suspense novel, I’m not sure where it sits, but it will tick all of those boxes if you give my new book a try.

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#BlogTour #Extract ~ The Prisoner’s Wife by Gerard Macdonald @gilbster1000 @AuthorightUKPR

From the CIA headquarters to the danger zones of Morocco and Pakistan, undercover agent Shawn Maguire is embroiled in a sinister conspiracy and an unlikely romance in this exhilarating debut spy thriller.

Shawn Maguire, unemployed American spy, has been paid to find a young Iranian now being interrogated in one of the CIA’s black prisons. The prisoner’s location remains unknown – he may be in Fes, Cairo or even Peshawar – but Shawn has every confidence that he’ll find his man eventually. Based on his time as an agent, it’s an assignment he knows he can handle. But there’s one person he’s not sure even he can handle: the prisoner’s wife.

The Prisoner’s Wife is a political thriller ripped from today’s headlines; a tense trip through the murky worlds of state–sponsored terrorism, nuclear politics, secret American jails and lawless rendition. Conspiracies abound in this sophisticated and suspenseful novel, with its crackling dialogue and evocative, lawless landscapes. Maguire is a first-rate protagonist, complicated and heroic, and writer Gerard Macdonald does an expert job of capturing the casual ambivalence of the American intelligence officers in their rendition campaigns and keenly observes the cynical manner in which operatives prop up or depose criminal leaders depending on America’s own needs.

A pulse-pounding account of political intrigue in the Middle-East starring complex hero Shawn Maguire, The Prisoner’s Wife is the perfect next read for fans of espionage and international thrillers.

Purchase from – Amazon UK

About the Author

Author Gerard Macdonald lives in West London and is currently working on a short series of political fiction books



Moving as one, Hassan and Calvin rolled down their ski masks. They were out of the car, across the damp pavement, gripping the arms of the figure in the doorway. When the man yelled and tried to back into the hall, away from the black-masked figures, he was borne in the opposite direction, toward the Volvo. He shouted once. Something soft was pushed into his mouth. Though his arms were held his feet were free. The prisoner had once been a footballer, fullback in Iran. He kicked the black-masked man holding his left arm; kicked again; heard a muttered exclamation. Then something smooth and heavy slugged the place where the prisoner’s skull joined his neck. At the same moment Hassan’s fist hit the young man’s gut, driving air from his lungs. The smooth and heavy thing hit his knees: first the left, then the right.

When his breath came back, and his eyes opened, the suspect found his vision fading in and out of focus. Whatever was in his mouth made it hard to breathe. He tried again to kick but his legs hung limp, like a doll’s.

The masked men bundled him into a car’s back seat.

Hassan followed the prisoner in, gripping his thin neck; binding his mouth with duct tape.

Calvin, in the driver’s seat, pulled the car out, passing a soft-topped Peugeot. He did not turn his head.

‘Just don’t do what you did with the last one, okay?’

Hassan paused in his work. ‘I did what, exactly?’

‘Get outa here. You taped his fucking nose.’

‘Accident, right?’

‘Tell me about it,’ Calvin said. ‘Just keep this one breathing.’ He made a sharp right turn. ‘I’m not flying out with a body bag.’

He slowed for a red light on rue Rivoli, then accelerated through green. ‘Documents?’

Hassan cuffed the prisoner’s hands behind him, bagged his head, then searched his pockets. The man made a sound which, through duct tape and hood, became a muffled groan.

Calvin now wore a black trilby hat. Adjusting it, shielding his face, he turned on the car’s interior light, so Hassan could read.

‘Hate to pitch up in Bagram with the wrong guy.’

Hassan said, ‘He can hear you.’

‘That’s okay,’ Calvin said. ‘He’s not going to Bagram. Still want him to be the right guy.’

Hassan had found the man’s passport, which was worn and red. ‘We got him.’

The man moaned.

‘Planning to travel?’

‘Pakistan. He has a visa. More than one.’

‘Won’t be using them,’ Calvin said, without looking back. ‘Not any time soon.’

Hassan opened the back-seat coffee-cup holder. From a plastic cylinder, he extracted a hypodermic.

‘This won’t hurt a bit,’ he told the prisoner. ‘It will relax you. Take away the anxiety.’

‘Understandable anxiety,’ Calvin said. ‘All things considered.’ At slightly less than legal speed he was driving down the Boulevard des Marechaux, heading for the Parisian peripherique. ‘He must wonder what the hell’s happening. I mean, I would.’ When his phone connected he called ahead for priority clearance at Charles de Gaulle.

Again, the prisoner made a sound. To ease injection, Hassan considered removing the man’s outer clothing, then decided against. Rule was, at destination, three thousand miles away, the prisoner’s garments would be cut from his body; the bagged pieces flown to Virginia for testing. Till then, the man stays dressed. That was the rule.

Through the prisoner’s woollen jacket, Hassan administered a syringe-full of chemical relaxant. As the hypodermic’s needle entered his arm, the man twitched like a rabbit.

Hassan patted the prisoner’s duct-taped face. ‘Oh, come on,’ he told him. ‘Didn’t hurt.’

‘Clean needle,’ Calvin said, from the front seat. ‘if that’s what he’s worried about.’

‘If he is worrying now,’ Hassan said, ‘soon he won’t.’ He found the prisoner’s pulse. ‘Relaxing already, this boy.’

Passing a police patrol, Calvin slowed a little.

‘He might be worried if he knew where he was going.’

‘Fortunately,’ Hassan said, ‘he has no idea.’

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