Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Available Now: The House in Fez by Dianne Noble

Dianne Noble



(99c through Sunday 25 March)
In the oppressive heat of a Moroccan summer, an already fractured family is forced to re-examine its loyalties.

Sisters Juliet and Portia haven’t seen each other in years. When they’re invited by their estranged mother, Miranda, to visit Fez, they’re shocked on arrival to discover she has married Samir, a man half her age. What’s more, he’s already married to Zina.

Pressure builds in the simmering heat. While growing closer themselves, Juliet and Portia are dismayed that Miranda is only loyal to Samir, even while he employs children in sweatshops. Portia defies him daily to help the children, but when Zina plunges from a balcony, it’s Portia who’s blamed.

Juliet and Portia are forced to re-examine their loyalties.

• • •

MAY 21st


The foreign stamp puzzled her, but then she recognised the writing and backed away, left the letter lying in a sea of manila envelopes on the doormat. Darren scooped them up, his jaw tightening as he riffled through the final demands. Then his expression lightened.

‘One for you, love. From…’ he squinted, held the letter at a distance, ‘…Morocco, of all places.’

Juliet looked up at him. At forty-two he shouldn’t be so grey, have so many worry lines. ‘It’s from my mother,’ she said dismissively.

‘Aren’t you going to open it?’

‘No, it won’t be good news. Lord, the breakfast’s burning…’ She dashed into the kitchen and snatched the pan of bacon off the heat, her eyes smarting in the haze of blue smoke. At least it masked the smell of unreliable plumbing. After taking slices of bread from the open packet she forked the charred rashers on to them, then poured two mugs of tea.

He sat at the table in his boxers and vest, tattoos descending like sleeves from his shoulders. Upending the HP bottle over the sandwich he thumped the bottom. ‘Come on, love, see what she has to say.’

She sank into the chair opposite. The damp patch on the wall behind him had grown since yesterday. It looked like a map of Africa. She licked dry lips. ‘I don’t want to.’

The kitchen clock ticked loudly, announcing the arrival of each new minute. Darren put down the sandwich, took her hand, stroked her fingers.

She straightened her shoulders. ‘You do it.’

He ripped the letter open, and with a low whistle pulled out a cheque. ‘Now that makes a pleasant change.’ He passed it to her and she stared at it blankly.

‘Three hundred pounds. Whatever for?’

He fumbled in the envelope and retrieved a sheet of paper. ‘Here. Can’t read it without my glasses.’ He picked up his sandwich.

Her mother’s scrawl, as ever, resembled a lie detector printout. She frowned as she tried to decipher it. ‘She wants me to visit her in Morocco… the money’s for the fare… she’s sent a cheque to Portia as well…’

‘I thought she was teaching in Turkey?’

‘So did I.’ She smoothed the paper. ‘Says she has a surprise for us.’

He stopped chewing and raised an eyebrow. ‘Wonder what sort of surprise?’

‘God knows.’ She chewed a nail. ‘I don’t know—could we both go do you think?’

‘I can’t, love.’ He glanced up at the clock, bolted the last of his breakfast, then pushed back his chair with a clatter. ‘Need to work all the hours I can get.’

She nodded, looking around the kitchen at the lino worn to a dark smudge near the sink, at the sheets of the Leicester Mercury taped over a broken window pane. ‘I wish I could help you more, find another job.’

‘Not yet. Maybe when you’re a bit better.’

She stood up. ‘I’ll tell her we can’t go.’

‘No.’ He put his hands on her shoulders, turned her to face him. ‘You go, have a bit of a break. This last couple of years have been shite.’

‘I don’t want—’

‘Yes. You wouldn’t be on your own if Portia goes too.’

‘Portia? I’ve not seen her for years. We’ve nothing in common.’

He rubbed his chin. ‘You’d think you’d be closer, being twins…I want you to go, love. Please.’

She knew she would agree. She was like a piece of jigsaw, always ready to fit her life in, with, and around others.

‘All right then,’ she said reluctantly, ‘but I’ll get the cheapest flight—what’s left of the money can pay a bit more off the gas bill.’

‘Good girl.’ He dropped a kiss on her forehead, then ran upstairs, whistling, to get into his work clothes.

Her throat ached with unshed tears as he watched him. Such a good man, always putting her first. Why then, didn’t she love him anymore?

• • •

Dianne Noble was on a troopship sailing for Singapore at the age of seven and hasn’t stopped travelling since. Her last trip was to Moscow but her favourite place remains India. The atmospheric settings of her novels reflect her experiences.

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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Available Now: Becker Circle by Addison Brae

Addison Brae



(99c through Sunday 18 March)
New starts mean new rules. Can she triumph through the challenges?

My boyfriend believed I was too gutless to leave. He was dead wrong. I graduated Harvard early and left his hot temper and everyone else behind for Dallas. Determined to make it on my own, I land a second job bartending at the neighborhood pub, smack in the middle of drama central, where almost every jerk in the neighborhood hits on me.

A week into the job, the neighborhood’s very popular drug dealer falls to his death a few feet from the table I’m serving. The cops say suicide, but the hot guitar player in the house band and I suspect foul play, and we intend to prove it. Digging deeper, we’re drawn closer to each other. Then we make a shocking discovery. We know the murderer.

• • •

I peek back at my butt in these loose-fitting jeans and all I see is sad. Remembering what my new boss said about better tips if I wear something a little sexy, I button a plaid shirt halfway up to show a little. I fasten one more and brush through my wavy auburn hair. Why did my apartment come with a full-length mirror in the bathroom? I’m nothing like my curvy new next door neighbor in that dress.

Even though I had to borrow a can opener from her to eat lunch today, I’m prepared with every bartender’s necessity. A good bar blade. I dig out the one I used to open bottles during my forty-two days of bartending at the place on Harvard Square back in Boston before Connor made me quit and stick it in my back pocket so I don’t look like a total rookie. It’s one of the few utensils in my kitchen drawer.

With the pink fuzzy scarf Lauren gave me for Christmas tucked inside my jacket, I message her before I talk myself out of going. “First night. Wish me luck!” I glance at the collage photo frame of our college memories she gave me before I packed up and left.

Mixers, whisky brands, and vodka flavors run through my head down the six flights of stairs and on the short walk to the first shift of my new night job. My jacket shields me from the cold as I step through the circles of light shining on the dark red brick sidewalk. A couple jogs by totally into one another, and three guys who were probably high school stars toss a football near the fountain, yelling back for not throwing right.

What am I doing? Am I invisible? Everyone’s with someone like I was. Taking the CPA job in Dallas seemed like such a great idea. It’s where no one knows me. Away from Connor. Before he had a chance to break me.

Rule one of my new life—forget about what already happened. Period.

Just as I turn the corner toward the tree-lined park, someone rams into me from behind. I gulp a breath as he twists me to the ground, dragging me along by the arm. The strap to my purse connects me to a guy who looks barely old enough to drive until he yanks it away. The purse holding the cash I have to live on until I get paid, my ID, one credit card, and proof I took an exam today.

The purse Mom gave me for my eleventh birthday.

“Stop!” I struggle to untwist my legs and sprint toward the strap dragging behind him. “No!” The distance between us widens.

At the edge of the park, a well-dressed man jumps out of a shiny SUV and shoves the guy into the shrubs. He leans over as they exchange words. Then the man extends a hand to help the purse thief out of the bushes.

I stop running to observe. The guy bolts without looking back and I still haven’t remembered to breathe.

Then the man, who’s at least my dad’s age, walks toward me. With my purse.

“Are you okay?” He hands it to me.

“Thank you so much.” I nod and glance at the leaves caught in it and back at the man, not quite believing any part of what just happened and fighting back the anger that it happened to me. “But what the . . .?”

“I understand. He has some problems. He won’t bother you again.” He bows his head like a nineteenth century prince and heads back to his truck.

I shake off the soreness in my arm. Who was that guy and why would he rescue a purse for some stranger?

The George & Dragon Public House sign creaks in the breeze. Smokers corralled on the patio by the black iron fence huddle around heaters, an occasional laugh rising above the steady hum of music and conversation. I walk through the door luckily ten minutes early. The smell of bleach mixed with mesquite from the fire lingers covering every secret that’s happened here. Clanking bottles drown out the low music.

Steve’s bald head pops up from behind the bar, his ginger beard even thicker and longer than I remember. “There she is. We took bets whether you’d chicken out.”

• • •

Addison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. As a child, she was constantly in trouble for hiding under the bed to read when she was supposed to be napping. She has been writing since childhood starting with diaries, letters and short stories. She continues today with articles, video scripts and other content as an independent marketing consultant. When she’s not writing, Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes and hosting parties. She’s still addicted to reading and has added jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy.

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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Available Now: Don't Call Me Mum by Mary T. Bradford

The Lacey Tayloe Story, #2
Mary T. Bradford



(99c through 11 March)
Raised by a cold stepmother, Lacey Taylor’s life was turned upside down by the stroke of a pen, putting her on a path to find her birth mother, Cora Maguire. But Cora is not the maternal type. For her, her career is paramount to everything else, including her only child, Lacey. Their relationship is, at best, strained. Lacey struggles for Cora’s affection, but when her life-path takes an unplanned twist, Cora becomes furious. Lacey’s half-siblings, the Taylors, want to help, but they have their own demons that threaten to rip the family apart.

How often can Lacey deal with life’s struggles without finally succumbing to them?

• • •

The bitch, Lillian, would have loved this. All pomp and show. The hotel where they gathered for the meal was indeed a five-star. Large, rusty-coloured clay urns dotted the foyer, filled with ferns and eye-catching vegetation, as you entered. The flooring was Italian marble, soft grey swirled with white. The cool pillars, which Lacey leaned against, complimented the flooring colours.

Bitterness and resentment ran through her body. Great, she thought, at a Christening celebration and all I want to do is escape. In the chapel, she had shuddered each time the priest had said her niece’s full name. Not that the infant was at fault. But although Lacey Taylor had accepted her past since that momentous day three years ago when she’d read that letter, she was surprised to find herself cringing at the lies she had been spun all her childhood, lies she had believed were behind her.

Often the inky scrawl of Lillian’s handwriting appeared before her eyes, just as she dropped off to sleep. Pronounced as my husband’s sin by that woman, Lacey realised now that is what she would be forever more. Even today at the mention of Lillian’s name, Lacey felt dirty and unwanted.

Keeping a smile on her face and remaining pleasant was proving to be difficult. Listening to her sister-in-law going on and on about the tot was draining. Surrounded by family, Lacey should have been happy, but a lingering black mood clouded her, and it was going nowhere fast. She really was trying to appear jolly and upbeat, and so far, it was working. No-one had commented on her lousy disposition.

Her tiny niece, only three months old, was sleeping in her Moses crib nearby. The pretty baby looked angelic and calm as the adults celebrated her special day. Robert, the tot’s father, had splashed the cash for this big occasion – one of only a few happy occasions for the family in recent years.

He’d booked a private room for their celebration, and the staff were busy topping up champagne glasses and offering more food, as time went on. Damn it, she could do with a drink. Just one sip should be alright, but her conscience wouldn’t allow it. Best not to when she was in a dark mood.

Really, she was thrilled that Robert and Aoife had their little girl. So, what was it that irked her so? Don’t answer that; you know bloody well what, she corrected her thoughts.

She wandered over to the baby basket and peeped in at the small bundle. Her beautiful long lashes were perfect over her closed eyes. Her tiny fingers were balled into two fists, ready to face any challenges. Ruth Lillian Taylor will be a fighter, Lacey thought, as she admired her niece. She’ll take on the world and win. Lacey smiled at this thought and found herself reaching out to touch the little girl, her baby skin soft and clear.

“Isn’t she adorable?” Sally gushed, joining her sister by the Moses crib.

Smiling, Lacey nodded. “Indeed, she is. I was just thinking she will grow up to be a strong young lady.”

“Why would you say that?”

“Ah, I was just admiring her little fists. She was named well, too, wasn’t she?”

“Ruth? I think it means companion; it’s a Hebrew name.”

“I meant, Lillian, after her grandmother. She certainly made the world her own, not caring who she stood on when doing so.” Anger she did not mean to share, swept into Lacey’s words.

Without responding, Sally stepped back from Lacey, then turned and walked away.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, Lacey thought, recalling the barbed remark she’d just made. The little girl before her was innocent, she wasn’t to know anything of the cold woman her grandmother had been. Lacey wished the ground could open and swallow her. She needed to apologise to Sally quickly. She didn’t want to ruin this special day for anyone. To hell with being tee-total, she was going to have a drink. Where were the waiting staff when you needed them?

Looking around, she tried to see where Sally had gone. Her older sister was a kind soul, and Lacey owed her a lot. It was Sally who had stood by her three years before, when Lacey had gone searching for her birth mother. What a rollercoaster ride that had been. Her life had totally turned upside down back then and, if she was being honest, she was still trying to right it.

Time to go home, she heard someone say. Great. Saved by the clock; forget the drink, and just get out of here.

“Thanks for a lovely day, Aoife.” Lacey kissed her sister-in-law briefly, then searched for Robert to say her goodbyes. She found him chatting with Sally. As she approached her siblings, she plastered on her best smile.

“Robert, thank you for a great day, I enjoyed it. Little Ruth is an angel.” She hugged the big man in front of her. Her only brother, he had made a successful life for himself over the years.

“Are we still on for coffee tomorrow, Sally?” Lacey asked hesitantly. Sally nodded and followed her to the exit. Outside the venue, the two women parted, heading off in different directions.

• • •

Mary T Bradford has been writing mainly short stories for a number of years now and has enjoyed success with her fiction in many magazines, newspapers and anthologies both in Ireland and abroad. It was because of this success, Mary took the plunge and self published her first collection titled, A Baker’s Dozen (2012) and is available in both print and e-book format from Amazon and other sites. She decided to tackle a novel when one of her stories kept getting longer and the word count continued to climb and so ended up with My Husbands Sin. She has also branched out into writing plays and has seen her work shortlisted and performed.

When taking a break from writing and reading Mary loves to crochet or cross-stitch, crafts in general interest her. Living in County Cork, Ireland, she is married and is a mother of four children. Having overcome open heart surgery in 2008, Mary made the decision to dedicate more time to her writing as her children were almost raised and were starting to spread their wings. Family is important to her and her writing often reflects the ups and downs of life that all families go through daily.

Connect with Mary through any of the links on this page and that is something else Mary enjoys, chatting with people!

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Friday, 2 March 2018



2-4 March

Discover some new-to-you authors, or catch up on some of your favorites and their new releases.

Participating books at just 99c for your Kindle!

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Also, our official House of Tirgearryen T-Shirts are on sale for just $15, includes postage anywhere in the world.

If you'd like more than one, email us for an even deeper discount.