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Opening Lines: Dark Words from Tracey Norman

This week ‘Opening Lines’ delves into the realms of folklore and fantasy with Tracey Norman.

Friend, actress, author, expert on all things ‘witch’, and a fellow member of the Exeter Author Association, Tracey is bringing us the very beginning of her story, Dark Words.

Over to you Tracey…

Living not far from Dartmoor, I have a wealth of inspiration on my doorstep. When I was introduced to the reservoir, forests and stone circle of Fernworthy, something about the place spoke to me and it has become something of a retreat for me when I need space, or peace and quiet to write.

Periodically, during particularly hot periods, the reservoir’s water levels drop dramatically, revealing the various hut circles and bridges which were submerged when the reservoir was built. Wandering around these rarely-seen features, I came across a boundary-type stone which appeared to have been carved with an unusual chequerboard effect. It piqued my curiosity, so I tried to find out more about it – unsuccessfully.

In 2015, I was invited to contribute a story to Secret Invasion, a charity horror anthology of South West-based Lovecraftian tales raising money for MIND. I seized the opportunity to provide a backstory for the enigmatic stone. Thus was born the tale of the taciturn, sinister villagers, the stone tablets and the landscape which bound them together.

I have taken several liberties with the landscape. The house and estate I describe are both fictitious and I have no idea what secrets the old quarry may contain, as it has long been flooded. The drowned village beneath the reservoir is of far greater antiquity than my story suggests and was abandoned long before the events I describe.

However, if you visit Fernworthy reservoir, you can walk around its shores, you can see the (now fenced off) flooded quarry and, if the water level is sufficiently low, you may be lucky enough to spot parts of the hut circles just beyond the edge of the picnic area. A walk into the forest itself will take you to the Fernworthy stone circle and the twin circles of the Grey Wethers can be found on the open moor just beyond the forest boundary.

I highly recommend visiting the reservoir at dusk and siting at one of the picnic tables at the water’s edge. As the sun sinks in the sky, watch the light glinting on the water and revel in a tranquillity my characters never knew….but beware if you hear chanting…

(Dark Words has since been published in Folklore and Fairy Tales Reimagined, so it can be enjoyed with slightly less horror!)

Secret Invasion is a new collection of original horror fiction set in the mystical landscape of England’s West Country, influenced by the storytelling of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. This anthology includes a Q&A with horror maestro Ramsey Campbell followed by fifteen chilling tales by writers such as Andrew Lane (Young Sherlock Holmes), Jessica Palmer (Sweet William) and Nigel Foster.

 

First 500 words from Dark Words

Excavation fieldwork notes – 2015 – Alison Forster

It was good to finally crawl into my tent at the end of another long, hot day and kick off my boots. Stripping off my socks, I flexed my toes and massaged my ankles, then stretched out on my camp bed. Half past five. An hour until dinner. Plenty of time to go over the day’s notes and perhaps pop along to the finds tent to see how the cleaning and preservation was going.

I took my notebook from the large, upturned cardboard box next to the camp bed, which served as a rather flimsy table. Flipping through the pages of today’s notes, I started reading, pausing now and then to roll onto my side so I could annotate the page or make a note to myself for the following day. I wondered what other treasures were lying hidden beneath Dartmoor’s gorse and heather, just waiting for us to uncover and bring them back into the light.

The excavation was progressing very well. We had been extremely fortunate with both the weather and our finds. I still couldn’t quite believe that I was directing an excavation which had uncovered a previously unknown stone circle on the moor. It was undoubtedly the find of my career. Thank God I had decided against early retirement when the museum offered.

My planning finished, I sat up and took a swig from the water bottle on the ‘table’. I shoved my boots out of the way under the camp bed and put on trainers, then headed over to the finds tent to see how the team were getting on.

Much of what we had found were potsherds, with a few flint blades and one or two shell beads. I stopped to have a quick chat with each of the four students working on the artefacts, then, satisfied that everything was in order, I went to the mess tent and helped set up the meal.

Our mealtimes were generally noisy, chaotic affairs, but now that the stone circle’s significance had sunk in, everyone was hugely enthusiastic and motivated. I could hear discussions all around me about its possible ritual use and comparisons between it and the other stone circles not far away. Personally, I was very keen to find out if there was any connection between this new circle, the twin circles of Grey Wethers and the Fernworthy circle with its stone row and burial mounds. The thought of being able to identify an ancient ritual centre, with the attendant research, academic papers and perhaps a book, which would keep me in paid work for some time, was so enticing that it was almost palpable. I ate my food with as much gusto as my colleagues and students that night, flushed with our incredible good luck and determined to do whatever it took to secure funding for follow-up work next season.

At the end of the evening, after the cider had started flowing slightly more slowly and half the

Bio

I am a professional actress and voice artist who has always been a storyteller, whether on stage, in front of a keyboard or behind part of my extensive collection of notebooks and pens. Living not far from Dartmoor, I have a wealth of subject matter on my doorstep. My first short story (written under the pen name Anna Norman and published in the Lovecraft-inspired Secret Invasion, a charity anthology in aid of MIND, in 2015), is based on the landscape and artefacts in and around Dartmoor’s Fernworthy Reservoir, one of my favourite places.

In 2016, I accidentally became a playwright, having decided to do something meaningful with the Honours degree in History I achieved from The Open University in 2015. The result was a one-act play, WITCH, which examines the human story behind accusations of witchcraft, focusing on the social conditions and interactions which led to such accusations. It was based on depositions from the 1687 trial of a Lyme Regis housewife. The play, in which I perform alongside my colleagues from our company Circle of Spears Productions, enjoyed a very successful debut season in 2016 in the library at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle (where better to perform a play about witch trials?!) and since then, has gone on to enjoy further success in a number of venues across Devon, with a lengthy list of performances in 2017. It is currently being booked by universities as Theatre in Education.

I have been lucky enough to secure a contract with Troy Books in Cornwall for a book based on the research I originally undertook to write WITCH – it will look at the various issues raised in the play, expand on them and examine how theatre may be used to preserve our social history whilst simultaneously making it more accessible.

I published my first children’s book in 2017. Written for my daughter in 2010, when she was three, Sammy’s Saturday Job has finally been released as a Kindle ebook.  It follows the tale of a little dragon who wants to be a firefighter. She gets a chance to help out, but it doesn’t go well and she needs to work out how to put things right. It encourages children to persevere and to think creatively about helping others. It also promotes inclusiveness by showing that being different doesn’t mean that you have nothing to offer.

Publishing this particular story means a great deal to me because the three year-old I wrote it for became a ten year-old who sat down with me and helped me to work out what illustrations I should draw for it and where they should go.  I can’t think of a better editing assistant.

Currently, as well as my WITCH non-fiction, I am working on a High Fantasy novel which tells the first instalment in the back-story of a character I created for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign I was involved in. Sometimes, a character will really capture your imagination and this is certainly the case with my feisty, independent elf Aamena. I am hoping that the book will be out in late 2018.

Social Media links

Facebook – www.facebook.com/TraceyNormansWITCHbook

www.facebook.com/TraceyNormanAuthor

Twitter – @WITCHplayCoS and @fireeyeschron

Websites – www.traceynormanswitch.com   and   www.thefireeyeschronicles.co.uk

Buy links

Secret Invasion (in aid of MIND): https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/secretinvasion

Folklore and Fairy Tales Reimagined: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07728RXWS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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Many thanks to Tracey for popping by!

See you next week!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


Opening Lines: A Few Bad Boys by Nicole

Opening Lines day is here! This week’s blog takes us into the world of hard boiled crime.

I’m delighted to welcome Nicole, to share the first 500 words (exactly) of her novel, A Few Bad Boys.

I am thrilled to be part of the Opening Lines Blog and am introducing you to my debut crime novel, A Few Bad Boys., which I published last year.  Like so many others, I had wanted to write a book for a long as I can remember and finally I achieved it.  My next novel, Survival At Any Cost will be published later this year.  After the sudden death of my husband, I found getting back to writing very therapeutic amongst the chaos that surrounded me.  People often find me an inspiration and I encourage anyone that wants to pursue their goals, even if they are not writing related.  Since it is my birthday week, A Few Bad Boys is available for only 99p/99c until Saturday 11th August 2018.

The first 500 words of A Few Bad Boys

As Lucy Fratelli lay on the cold bathroom floor, her head was spinning, she knew that she could not keep doing this. Her life had to change and it had to change now. She had been in this position too many times and Rob always said sorry and that he wouldn’t do it again, but he always did. The violence had started shortly after she let him move into her house. First it was a slap, then it was a punch, then it was kicking whilst she was lying helpless on the floor. How was she going to get away from him and get him to leave her house? She had lost consciousness this time and was feeling very sick. She wasn’t sure if the feeling of sickness was due to her head injury or due to the intolerable situation she had now found herself in.

She attempted to move her bruised and aching body and gradually pulled herself up, using the bath for support. She shuffled to the basin, terrified to look in the mirror. What damage had he done to her this time? Her right eye was so swollen that she couldn’t open it. Her lip was split and her ear was bleeding. A massive lump was already forming on her head. As she felt her head she realised that it was also bleeding. She lifted her top as best as she could so she could try and inspect her back. No wonder it was agony, she could see an impression of his shoe engrained on her slender body. Her ribs hurt so much that she was scared to cough and she could barely move her left arm. Bruising was already appearing on her legs and they felt like they could hardly take her weight. She tried to clean herself up a bit and hobbled to the kitchen to get a glass of water and to ponder on whether to go to the doctors or not and on how she was going to leave Rob.

She also reminisced a little on how her life was pre-Rob. Lucy Fratelli was loved by everyone. She was really attractive with beautiful, thick dark hair and eyes that were so full of life. She had a family that adored her and brilliant friends. She had been so full of confidence, ambition and determination and inspired others; that was before Rob started to shatter her world. Why had she let him move in with her? He had turned her into a shadow of her former self. He was a control freak. Lucy knew all this and inside she knew that she had to free herself of him. She felt so lonely and ashamed. Many times she had wanted to confide in her best friend, Julie, about what was going on but she knew that her reaction would be to tell her father, Terry Fratelli, and then there would be murder. Terry would never allow anyone to hurt his family and if they did

Blurb

Lucy Fratelli is the girl who has everything – beauty, brains, her own apartment, a close family and friends. Unfortunately, she is hiding a secret from her family and her best friend, Julie. Lucy knows that she can tell her family and Julie anything but she also knows that if they find out her secret, there will be hell to pay.
Terry Fratelli, Lucy’s father, is a gangster and lives for his family. He will do anything to make them happy and protect them at all costs. When Lucy’s secret is revealed he will stop at nothing to keep her safe.

***

If you like hard boiled crime this is right up your street!

Amazon.co.uk link

Amazon.com link

 Don’t forget that ‘A Few Bad Boys’ is available for only 99p/99c until Saturday 11th August 2018.

***

Nicole was born in London but moved to Spain in 2000.  She has two children, James and Phoenix, who have been her driving force behind her completing her debut novel, A Few Bad Boys.  Prior to having children she worked for Karren Brady, which added to her determination to succeed in all goals.

Nicole has wanted to write a book for as long as she can remember, and although she has written articles and helped others with their writing, it is only last year that she finally completed and published her debut novel, A Few Bad Boys. Although the journey to becoming published has been long and difficult, she is overjoyed that she has managed it, but understands that there is a lot more work to do.

Nicole is a firm believer in living life to the full but also living a balanced life.

Nicole is currently working on her second novel, Survival At Any Cost and has a regular blog.

Goodreads link

Instagram Nicole

Facebook Nicole

Webpage Nicoletheauthor

Jolsclub

Many thanks to Nicole, for popping by today with her fabulous words. 

Happy reading,

Jenny x


Opening Lines: Nostra Dame by Jacqueline Evans

Today I’m delighted to welcome Jacqueline Evans to my blog to share the first 500 words of her book, Nostra Dame

It’s time for some ‘Opening Lines.’

After drawing a blank in my search to find someone who shared a similar ability, I was inspired to write my first book.  The word ‘psychic’ is used so loosely these days and often leaves people either cringing or wanting to know more.  It saddens me that people part with their money in the hope of getting a ‘message’ from a deceased loved one at events or private sittings that promise such things.  It’s nothing like that for me; I don’t profess to speak to dead people!  The thought of being put in the same box prompted me to write my own story.  For me, the definition of psychic is precognitive, spiritual and selfless – it doesn’t come with a price tag or self-glory.  The people in my book – those that lost their lives, are very dear to my heart.  My only hope is that I told the story with dignity.….

First 500 words of Nostra Dame

Chapter One – Preppy

From the start it appeared as if I’d been in training; a ‘preppy’ guided by an unknown force.  As if my path had somehow been pre-determined.  A near-death experience in my mid-twenties triggered a chain of events that completely changed my course.  Not only did it give me the strength to shed years of imposed beliefs but also taught me to trust my instincts.

Only then did a deeper level of empathy and understanding begin to emerge.  Over time, it seemed to turn a series of cogs, which opened me up to the supernatural and to a world far beyond the constructs of science.  A world that knew the future and one that seemed eager to want to share it.  Down to the tiniest detail, I would be given pieces of information that when put together formed a complete picture.

From serious crimes to global disasters, there had been no limits to the intelligence.  It had proven so reliable that I became able to interpret the most complex murders and anticipate big changes one after the other, like on a checklist.

‘It’ knew everything about me too; what made me tick, my likes, my dislikes and my reactions before I reacted.  It appeared to pave the way, engineering every twist and turn; so many turns that it is difficult to know where to start.  Perhaps then, my first memory would be the best place.

It was Christmas day, 1968.  A sparsely decorated tree stood in the corner of the cramped living room, glistening with multi-coloured lights and it felt magical.  We had sat around the table eating dinner, wearing paper hats; and afterwards my sister and I had wanted to play upstairs with our new toys.

We lived in the inner city of Birmingham, in a dingy, Victorian, terraced house.  Our only form of heating had been a paraffin heater and portable electric fire.  My large bedroom, which I shared with my sister, had high ceilings, bare floorboards and no furniture, other than two single beds.  It had been so bitterly cold, that my mother had put the fire in there to take the icy chill off.

Despite her warnings not to go anywhere near it, I couldn’t resist its warm glow and had stood closer than I should have.  The ribbon on my dress had dangled on the red-hot bars and in seconds, flames lashed around my head.  My sister’s screams had thankfully alerted my father, who flew into the room, rolled me in a blanket and took me straight to hospital.  I was just two and nine months, though remember it like it was yesterday.

It had been the reason for us moving to another house which had been far more modern, albeit still urban.  My sister, Diana was two years older and my brother, Stewart was five years older than me.

My dad worked long hours as a lorry driver, whilst my mom stayed at home looking after us.  She had been relentless in keeping us…

***

Nostra Dame, the true story of a woman trying to make sense of a mysterious world. Suppressing what came naturally for most of my early years; a pivotal moment in my mid-twenties opened a door to what lay dormant. The depth of knowledge that ensued began to snowball, leading me to predict global events and high-profile murder investigations. Each piece of information imparted in fractals, like pieces to a puzzle; and it was down to me, to put the pieces together

UK: http://amzn.to/2u5Dazq

US: http://amzn.to/2iQIdh8

Jacqueline was born in the 1960’s and grew up in Birmingham, where she still lives today with her youngest son. From an early age, she became an avid reader and always dreamt of one day becoming a writer. For many years Jacqueline worked in a bank, doing a job that she enjoyed but left to raise her two sons; a move she has never regretted. She loves spending time with family, cooking hearty meals, sewing and gardening. Above all, she likes nothing more than to escape to a quiet corner to read her favourite kind of books; crime-fiction and psychological thrillers. Currently she is working on her second, non-fiction book and excitedly awaiting the arrival of her first granddaughter.

https://twitter.com/JEvansthewriter

https://www.facebook.com/JEvansthewriter/ 

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Many thanks Jacqueline.

Don’t forget to join me next week to read some words from Nicole Dunsford Evans.

Happy reading,

Jenny x


The One That I Want Blog Tour: Opening Lines

Today I am delighted to be hosting the latest leg of Lynne Shelby’s blog tour for her brand new novel, The One That I Want.

To help celebrate her release, Lynne is sharing the first 500 words (exactly) of her novel, in the style of one of my ‘Opening Lines’ blogs.

Over to you Lynne!

I’ve always been fascinated by theatre and film – my ideal night out is a trip to see a West End play or musical – and my new novel, ‘The One That I Want,’ is set in the world of showbusiness. In the book, Lucy Ashford, my heroine, is unexpectedly swept up into a celebrity lifestyle…

Here’s the first 500 words:

The front doorbell rang, and went on ringing. I sighed. My brother must have forgotten his key again. Still clutching the spoon with which I’d been stirring the bolognaise sauce, I went out of the kitchen and along the narrow hallway. A glance at my reflection in the hall mirror showed me that my face looked much as it always did, if a little pale. Reassured that none of my family would suspect I’d been crying, I opened the front door.

A fairy-tale princess, wearing a long white dress embroidered with a scattering of green leaves, was standing on the doorstep. I started in surprise, and then, for the first time that day, I smiled.

‘Lucy?’ The princess was staring at me.

‘Hi, Cassie,’ I said.

‘Lucy! Oh, it’s so lovely to see you.’ The star of The Adventures of Princess Snowdrop flung her arms around me. It was only with difficulty that I manage managed to avoid smearing bolognaise sauce all over her voluminous white skirts.

‘It’s great to see you again too,’ I said. ‘It must be – what? At least twelve years. Of course, I’ve seen you on TV since then.’

Cassie laughed, and reached up to straighten the crown of white flowers that perched somewhat precariously on top of her blonde curls. She’d grown up extraordinarily beautiful. It was no wonder that Prince Oak and Prince Ash obeyed her every whim.

‘I’ve been doing a Snowdrop publicity gig just a few miles from here,’ she said, ‘and I decided to take a detour on my way back to London and pay you all a visit. May I come in? If it’s convenient.’

‘Oh… That’s what you always used to say…’ For a moment, it was as though we were children again, Cassie walking home from school with me and my stepfather, taking a turn at pushing my brother in his buggy, and when we reached our gate, asking very politely if she might come in, if it was convenient… Back then, it had never occurred to me to wonder why she spent so little time in her own family home, across the road from ours. Suddenly, my throat felt a little tight.

‘Come in Cassie,’ I said. ‘Everyone except me is at work right now, but they’ll be home very soon, and I know they’d love to see you.’

‘I’ll just speak to my driver.’

‘You have a driver?’ For the first time, I noticed the white limo with the blacked-out windows parked in the road outside. Cassie darted along our garden path and spoke to someone inside the car, which then drove off.

‘I’ve told him to amuse himself for a couple of hours,’ she said. ‘I’ll phone him when I want picking up.’

Cassie Clarke is a TV star now, I thought. Of course she has a limo and a driver. I stood aside to let her into the hall, and she headed straight for the kitchen.

‘Oh, it’s just the same.’ Her gaze travelled….

Blurb:

When Lucy Ashford lands a top job at a leading theatrical agency in London, work mixes with pleasure, as she literally falls into the arms of Hollywood heartthrob Daniel Miller. Handsome, charming and irresistible, Daniel is just what unlucky-in-love Lucy needs, and she is quickly drawn into his glittering celebrity lifestyle. But can she tame the A-list bad boy or is she just one more girl in Daniel s long line of conquests? And then there’s up-and-coming actor Owen Somers, fiercely talented but as yet uncast in a starring role. After she takes him onto the agency s books, Owen and Lucy s friendship slowly grows. If she looks closely, Lucy’s leading man might be right before her very eyes…

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B07D2FGCX1/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1526906516&sr=8-1

Bio:

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition. She has done a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actor’s chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Reykjavik – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.lynneshelby.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter

Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

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Many thanks Lynne. Have a fabulous blog tour.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 

 

 


Opening Lines: Perception & Illusion by Catherine Kullmann

It’s Thursday! That means ‘Opening Lines’ day is upon us. This week I’m handing over to Catherine Kullmann to share the first 500 words of her Regency period novel, Perception and illusion.

Over to you Catherine…

Thank you for hosting me on Opening Lines, Jenny. About me, very briefly; I was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, I moved to Germany where I lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. I have worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. I am married and have three adult sons and two grandchildren.

It was only after I took early retirement that I was able to fulfil my long-cherished ambition to write fiction. My books are set in the extended Regency period, a fascinating time when the foundations of our modern world were laid but also when male/female double standards reigned supreme. Married women had literally no rights, their very being or legal existence being suspended during marriage. Historical fiction opens a window to the past that helps us understand and value the present and I particularly enjoy the challenge of having my characters behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to today’s readers.

My novels are generally triggered by “what if?”, “what next?”, or “what happened then?” I always want to know what comes after the first happy end. Perception & Illusion begins with a classic damsel in destress scenario. But what happens when two people who hardly know each other marry? Falling in love is easy; building a trusting, true relationship is not so simple, especially when life, as it tends to, gets in the way of love.

Matrimonial Maps charting the perils and pitfalls of the course of true love were popular in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I have taken the chapter headings for Perception & Illusion from the legend of a nineteenth century matrimonial map published in Ireland by lithographers Callaghan Bros. Cork. They throw an interesting light on how ‘inclination’ and ‘amour’ were viewed at the time.

Perception & Illusion: Does a fairy-tale ending always guarantee Happy Ever After?

England 1814: Brought up by her late grandparents after the death of her mother, Lallie Grey is unaware that she is their heiress. When her father realises that he will soon lose control of his daughter’s income, he conspires to marry her off to his crony, Frederick Malvin in exchange for a share of her capital. But Lallie has fallen in love with Hugo Tamrisk, heir to one of the oldest titles in England. When Hugo not only comes to her aid as she flees the arranged marriage, but later proposes to her, all Lallie’s dreams have come true. She readily agrees to marry him at once.

But past events casts long shadows. Hugo resents the interest his three elder sisters take in his new wife and thinks they have turned her against him. And then there is his former mistress, Sabina, Lady Albright. As Lallie finds her feet in the ton, the newly-weds are caught up in a comedy of errors that threatens their future happiness. She begins to wonder if he has regrets and he cannot understand her new reserve. A perfect storm of confusion and misunderstanding leads to a final rupture when Lallie feels she has no choice but to leave. Can Hugo win her back? Will there be a second, real happy end for them?

First 500 words of Perception & Illusion

The Great Ocean of Love represents a period of life that all persons are supposed at some time or another to pass.

Lallie knew the instant she set foot in the house that her father was making one of his rare visits to Alwood. It was difficult to define what had changed. The house was quieter, almost unnaturally so and the atmosphere was charged with a peculiar tension.

“Excuse me, Miss Grey.”

John, their only footman, noiselessly closed the door to the servants’ quarters and carefully steadied a tray of decanters and glasses before carrying it to the library. He wore his best livery. Balancing the tray on one hand, he slowly turned the door knob so that it didn’t squeak. Everyone knew that Mr Grey would not tolerate anything less than perfection and more than one servant had been turned off immediately for failing to meet his standards.

It was as if he needed to assert his position as head of the household, despite the fact that he was the most distant of husbands and fathers, Lallie reflected as she hurried to the schoolroom. Her stepmother was not inclined to stand on ceremony at home, but her father would expect his younger children to make a formal visit to the drawing-room before dinner.

Her half-brother James, who was entertaining his younger sisters with stories of his prowess at cricket during the recent summer half, stood awkwardly at her entrance. He had shot up since they had last seen him and was not yet comfortable in this new body.

“Lallie,” he reddened at his new deep tone, “will you help me later with my neckcloth? You know how my father is.”

She smiled warmly at him. “Of course I will. Beatrice and Eleanor, come with me now, if you please. Once you are ready, you may sit quietly in my room while I change my gown. I’ll come to you then, James and we may all go down together.”

 

Robert Grey was a slim gentleman of medium height, his clothes the epitome of restrained perfection. His curly fair hair was clipped close and brushed forward a la Caesar, a modish style that suggested a nimbus of laurel leaves crowning his high forehead. The head so embellished was habitually cocked a little to one side while the faint curve to his lips spoke of a jest that only he could appreciate.

“Good God,” he said lightly, when his son followed his sisters into the drawing-room. “What have we here? A hobbledehoy?”

“Dear James has grown so much, hasn’t he?” Mrs Grey said fondly, ignoring the boy’s furious blush. “It won’t be long before he’s looking down on you, Robert. He takes after my father, of course.”

Lallie bit the inside of her cheek to stop herself smiling at her father’s petulant expression but something must have betrayed her inner amusement and his gaze swung to her.

“I trust you have been behaving yourself, miss.”

He might have been addressing a recalcitrant…

***

Perception & Illusion is available worldwide from Amazon as eBook and paperback, and is free on Kindle Unlimited.  https://nrnk.co/a/B06XRJ2TF9 

You can find out more about me and my other books, The Murmur of Masks and A Suggestion of Scandal on my website www.catherinekullmann.com . There you can view the Matrimonial Map referred to above and, in My Scrapbook, discover historical facts and trivia relating to the Regency. My Facebook author page is fb.me/catherinekullmannauthor 

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Thanks Catherine. Sounds great!

Don’t forget to come back next week to rad 500 words from Jacqueline Evans.

Happy reading,

Jenny x


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