Sunday, 22 October 2017

COMING SOON

Blurb for Scorpio. Coming Oct. 28th! 

With a mind as strong as twisted steel, Scorpio obsessed Henry Slater, suave, sophisticated, sexy, intelligent, and wealthy is the perfect man—except to women who tell him what he doesn’t want to hear.
Dr. John Trenton is called back to NYC for a case close to his heart, while NYPD Detective Samantha “Sam” Wright and Dr. Frank Khaos, conflicted about their on-again-off-again relationship, take on another case—a serial killer who’s orchestrated sixteen murders across the United States over a nine-year period. The seventeenth victim is Sam’s best friend, Carrie Baines. When forensic science connects Frank to Slater, Frank is pushed to delve into his past, something he swore never to do. Meanwhile, due to the interstate nature of the crimes the FBI gets involved, convincing Sam to go undercover. But Slater is clever, and Sam is no match for him. Will her psychic skills and police training be enough to survive this close encounter with a killer, or will she end up as his eighteenth victim? And even if she lives, is her relationship with Frank really over?

AUTHOR LINKS

Readers can subscribe to my newsletter and read blogs at http://www.ronnieallennovel.com
Readers can also catch up on Gemini and Aries, Books 1& 2 of the series. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00YSLGOSY
 Amazon For both books in The Sign Behind The Crime Series, Kindle and Paperback
Barnes and Noble For both books in The Sign Behind the Crime Series, Nook and Paperback
Amazon CA For both books in The Sign behind The Crime Series, Ebook and Paperback

Amazon UK For both books in The Sign Behind the Crime Series
PROMO

Blurb:
Gracie, a young girl with the gift of hearing the Voices of the dead, finds herself alone and facing a dangerous journey. The power grid has failed across the globe, her city is being burned to the ground, and her only hope is to try to meet up with friends who share her gift...

Most of the ghost stories in A Light in the Dark are based on true encounters. At my first book signing, the more people I talked to, the more ghost stories I heard. Everyone seems to have an experience, or at least know someone who has, and it was really interesting to hear all of the different ways people have been touched by the paranormal. 
Imagine trying to survive the apocalypse with the gift of hearing the Voices of the dead...


Links to A Light in the Dark by Kelly Bedford

NOOK:
https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-light-in-the-dark-kelly-bedford/1125948111?ean=2940154382721

KOBO:
https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-light-in-the-dark-14

APPLE:
https://itun.es/ca/k434jb.l

Amazon US:
https://www.amazon.com/Light-Dark-Kelly-Bedford/dp/0995831300

Amazon Canada:
https://www.amazon.ca/Light-Dark-Kelly-Bedford/dp/0995831300

Amazon U.K. 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0995831300

Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/722105

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34396263-a-light-in-the-dark

Thursday, 19 October 2017

BLOG TOUR Rocco & the Nightingale 

Product description
When a minor Paris criminal is found stabbed in the neck on a country lane in Picardie it looks like another case for Inspector Lucas Rocco. But instead he is called off to watch over a Gabonese government minister, hiding out in France following a coup. Meanwhile, Rocco discovers that there is a contract on his head taken out by an Algerian gang leader with a personal grudge against him.



Philomena Callan – Q&A for ‘Rocco and the Nightingale’ book blog tour – 20th October

cheeky pee reads and reviews  

Where do you get your book ideas?
I can’t honestly say. There have a been a couple of books which sprang from hearing news items and produced a gem of an idea, but most them seem to occur out of nowhere. Possibly writing series novels, I end up subconsciously looking at specific areas and scenes, so that must help in some way. The rest is out there, somewhere!

Do you write every day? How many hours do you write a day?
I try. My goodness, I try. But to be honest there are days when I do anything but, purely because nothing is flowing (or my mind is on something else), and I end up working on something else. When it clicks in, though, it can be all day and I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night to finish something – usually when I’m getting close to completion.

How do you select the names of your characters?
I look at film or tv credits and mix-and-match first names with surnames. Football teams from years ago are a good guide, too – especially for foreign names where I need accuracy. Then I think about whether the names match the appearance, and whether they sound right for the character. I know, probably not as scientific as I’d like to think, but it works for me. J

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
Out of 22 books published so far, I’ve only written two standalones. The others are all series novels, so the connections are right there (although each one can be read as a standalone). In terms of the type of books, I’ve written crime novels and spy thrillers, hopefully each with their own style, otherwise it would be like dressing the same character in different clothes, which I try not to do.

How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason for writing each book?
I always wanted to write, right from when I began reading adult books at the age of about 8 – mostly Leslie (The Saint) and westerns. My first success venture was a crime story to a London newspaper. That got me hooked, but because there wasn’t much of a market for short crime fiction, I studied the women’s magazine market and started writing fiction and features here and overseas. That kept me busy for some years, and in between I was writing novels. Eventually, one of them got taken on (‘No Peace for the Wicked’ – the first in the Riley Gavin series), and it all started from there. So, yes, I wanted to be an author, and the only reason I write each book, if there is a reason, is because I want to see if I can do it. Every book is a bit of a punt, a challenge, and each one takes its own effort.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the good or bad ones?
I try not to read them because it’s like poking your head into a dark hole: you never know what’s waiting for you until it’s too late! But sometimes you can’t avoid seeing one, which can either make your day or make you depressed. I don’t mind criticism because I put myself out there, so I fully understand that not everybody will like what I write. We can’t all enjoy the same stuff. I’m a reviewer myself, and because I know how much work goes into a book, if I really don’t like a book, I’d rather not review it than trash it.

Thank you, Philomena, for your questions and for taking part in this blog tour. I appreciate it.

‘Rocco and the Nightingale’ – publ by The Dome Press - book 5 in the Inspector Rocco series – available in h/b, p/b and ebook
Adrian Magson – http://www.adrianmagson.com
Blog: - http://adrianmagson.blogspot.co.uk
Twitter: @adrianmagson1
Facebook: @adrianmagsonbooks




Review
'Reminiscent of Maigret, this book captures perfectly the rural atmosphere of France. Rocco is a terrific character. Excellent!' Booksmonthly.co.uk; "The result is a pure joy, a crime novel that deserves to be ranked with the best." -Daily Mail; 'A classic crime star in the making' DAILY MAIL; 'Gritty and fast-paced detecting of the traditional kind, with a welcome injection of realism' -- The Guardian

About the Author
Adrian Magson is the author of the Harry Tate novels, the Inspector Lucas Rocco crime novels, and the Marc Portman novels. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, and has been short-listed for the Crime Writers' Association's Debut Dagger Award, and the East Midlands Book Awards. Adrian writes two regular columns for the Writing Magazine.

BUY LINK


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

#NewRelease ⇒  Rose De Muerte by Natalie Bennett- Author is #LIVE! #OneClick your copy today, #KindleUnlimited! #Amazon #KU

#BuyNow ⇒
Amazon: http://bit.ly/RoseAmz
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2z5NgxT
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2z4UDW9
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2z4VSF0

#Giveaway ⇒ http://bit.ly/2iaHY0Q
#Goodreads ⇒ http://bit.ly/2trsRRd

🙏🏻 Praise for Natalie Bennett🙏 🏻
“Her story are abnormally captivating and get under your skin.” - You Can’t Resista a Dirty Book

“I always quickly dive straight into the crazy psycho fuckedup world that is Natalie Bennett's writing.” - A Woman & Her Books

“This was classic Natalie Bennett. Dark, twisted delicious mindfuckery at it's best.” - Between the Bookends

== SYNOPSIS ==
Roselynn ‘Rose' Morgue is in love.
That sounds good on the surface, but nothing about Rose’s life is ever simple.
The object of her affection is not only her stalker, he’s also supposed to be dead, and that little fact throws a wrench in her plan to reinvent herself.
You see, Rose is far more twisted than anyone would ever believe, and will do whatever it takes to ensure no one ever finds out the truth about her past. But when a series of murders begin, Rose’s secrets rise to the surface, and one extremely pissed off secret can’t wait for her to get what she deserves.

💥Trigger Warning💥
Bad Sh*t happens.
This book will not entice warm fuzzy feelings.
(This book is a standalone prequel that sets the stage for Pernicious Red)

== STAY CONNECTED WITH NATALIE BENNETT ==
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2lAkWgi
Facebook: www.facebook.com/nataliebennettwriter
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Website: https://www.nataliebennett.net
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01G8Z4IF8
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cAAY4v

#RoseDeMuerteRelease

This event is hosted by #EnticingJourneyBookPromotions



MY REVIEW

I’ve read a few of Lily’s books and this is definitely my favourite so far. It’s so wrong yet so good. I read it in one sitting- staying up til the wee hours as I didn’t want to put it down. 

I’m not gonna write anything about the storyline as I think you should go in blind. I didn’t even read the blurb before reading it. I felt the author threw me on a crazy rollercoaster and I loved every second of it. 


I thought the storyline was brilliant and the sex scenes were hot. If your looking for a crazy, twisted taboo read then I recommend you read this. I’m looking forward to reading more. 
◾️ ◾️ ◾️ #IllusionsOfEvilPromo ◾️ ◾️ ◾️
Illusions of Evil by Lily White is LIVE!
#DarkRomance #Erotic #Thriller #Taboo #Priest

◾️ ◾️ ◾️ PURCHASE TODAY ◾️ ◾️ ◾️
Amazon Universal: myBook.to/IllusionsOfEvil
iBooks: http://apple.co/2gKeUKb
Nook: http://bit.ly/2yupePL
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2xJlOF1

✰ Enter the Giveaway:  http://bit.ly/2hIw9ZI

◾️ ◾️ ◾️ About The Book ◾️ ◾️ ◾️
CONFESS.
It's what he said to me across his altar, what he demanded so that I would be pure.
In the moment he blessed me with his virtue, I was no longer the woman I'd once been.
I was Eve.
His light.
His salvation.
His bridge to Heaven's gate.
I failed him because my faith was not strong enough.
He punished me for not giving in.
Resisting temptation is never easy.
Not when his hands, his teeth, his heat and hunger were the greatest of my sins.

Monday, 16 October 2017

FOSTER AN AUTHOR

RUTH G JULIANO

#FAA3  #fosteranauthor3 #cheekypee

Ditching Melody - 
Emotional 18+ Australian drama US99c / 99p / AUD$1.30
Since the age of fourteen, Theresa’s life has revolved around her daughter Melody. Her days were spent hiding her sexuality from most people, avoiding difficult conversations, and putting up with her daughter’s constant criticism. Throw in some yoga, a few inane calls from her little sister, a lame career and a disastrous love life and … voila, life. That was until she met (wo)man’s best friend.
Falling for your best friend can be controversial, especially when you’re a lesbian and he’s not. But a love without limitations is something you can never give up on. 

www.amazon.com/dp/B07562218L
www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07562218L
www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07562218L
Trailer - www.facebook.com/ruthgjulianobooks/videos/1737322699690604/

About the author

Simple. Direct. Chaos. Welcome to the Ruthless Beings World, where conversations are important, love has no limitations, and judging people on superficial things will only lead to trouble. I'm here to educate and entertain. That's my aim. I find people fascinating. They're complex. What motivates them and why they do the things they do is what sparked the Ruthless Beings saga. I have chosen a simple and direct style for the chaos of the Ruthless Beings World novels (Ruthless Beings series and stand alone novels), because of the complexity of the issues dealt with. 
You'll find the writing is omniscient third person or third person, maintaining an arm's length, and that there is not an overuse of description for surroundings or florid language. This is intended to ignite your imagination differently.
The books contain love, crime, sex, violence, family life, and ideology, and are generally listed under the Family Life genre. If you like soap operas, can get your head around a cast of characters, and like a bit of mystery and psychology then maybe you'll like what you read. I write about everyday life, death, abuse, crimes, sex from various angles, and love, always love. All of my books are set in Australia (where I am), rated 18+ and are intended to be read by adults. 
I say "read love differently" not only for the style I choose to write in, but also for what constitutes love. I know some people have some fixed views about love and life, and they might not understand love the way I write it, but I'm not giving up hope. Without hope you have nothing. 

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FOSTER AN AUTHOR

BARB SHULER

#FAA3  #fosteranauthor3 #cheekypee

A Marshall’s Courage
A Rescue Series Novella; Book 1
Publish Date: August 26, 2017 
Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Published by: Barbara Shuler

Cover:
Design by: MadHat Books (http://madhatcovers.com)

Tag Line:

Danger. Attraction. Bravery. One man’s journey to save the woman he shouldn’t be falling for. 

Blurb:

Daniel 

Danger is a part of life, at least in my line of work. I serve. I protect. I take down the men and women that would endanger the innocent. My Marine training led me to believe this would be an easy job. It was until Elayna Hart was dropped in my lap. After that, it was all up in the air.

Danger struck, and I had no choice but to do whatever I could to keep her safe. The attraction between us made it harder to focus, until I did the only thing I could. I ran away with her. We were off the grid with only two others for back up. If anyone came after her, we’d die to protect her.

Elayna

Life is full of challenges - ones I have been able to meet head on. My path was straight until him - then it went upside down. Now I’m on the run from a man that wants to do more than crush my heart. My only hope is that the men who have agreed to protect me can do just that.

Links:

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2sLKNXj         Add to your Goodreads TBR


Purchase Links:
Amazon
US: http://a.co/appU2Mk
AU: http://amzn.to/2wfcQim
CA: http://a.co/1Gcf4WE
UK: http://amzn.to/2uOVZ8s

Teaser Snippet:


Being a witness to a robbery shouldn't destroy your entire life, but it certainly wrecked mine. It may not have been so bad if I hadn't have recognized the man holding the gun. The man who shot an innocent man for no reason other than stupidity and greed. His face had been shielded by a ski mask, but that deep baritone gave him away. The moment “Hurry the fuck up or I’ll blow your head off” left his lips, I gasped, uttering his name in what I thought was a silent rebuke. He looked my way and the man behind the register tried to grab the gun. My world flashed in multiple colors as I watched in horror. The guy’s hand reached out, Jonathan jerked back, and with a twitch of his hand the man's head blew back, a coating of red spraying against the back wall. He was dead. I screamed and Jonathan attacked me. His hand wrapped around my throat, and I fought unsuccessfully to get out of his grip. Some noise distracted him for a moment, and I was able to hit his arm and slip out of his hold, barely. The sound of the sirens made him think twice about attacking again. He ran off, but not before warning me to stay quiet, or I was dead. Why he didn’t just shoot me right then and there, I don’t know. 

Author Bio & Social Media Links:

~Meet Barb Shuler~

I’m a Carolina Girl by right and a Texan by birth. Best of both worlds. I have the brass sass to keep up with my Texas sized temper. Living and working in both states i’ve learned a lot about hard work, adapting to your surroundings and making the best of the path that you have been led down. My grandma Dollie once told me I would know what I was meant to do when it happened. She was right, as always.
As with most book lovers, I am an avid reader. Reading has always been a hobby - a passion, really and a way to get lost in other people’s lives, their drama and other worlds. It’s a private movie in your imagination that you get to cast and navigate through, at your own pace. Reading helps to expand the perimeters of one's mind. That is what got me into writing. Writing has been something that I have done since I was a kid. If I had paper, I was writing. Nine out of ten times it made no sense but what are words if they are not to be used to your advantage? Words are a part of us all. Why not use them, right?
During the day I work as a ‘desk jockey’ and help the residents of my county navigate themselves around our little, but not too little country town. By night I am either blogging with my best friends, doing PA work for some of my favorite authors or fighting with the voices in my head. They can be stubborn at times. It’s a blessing and I am cherishing every moment. Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I want to make sure I live the day as fully as possible. For what is my creation, can become someone else's treasure.


~ Connect with Barb here ~
Email: info@authorbarbshuler.com 
Newsletter: https://goo.gl/nd98hJ 
Website: http://authorbarbshuler.com   
Author Blog: http://authorbarbshuler.blogspot.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author.Barb.Shuler/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HerCountryGirl 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/hercountrygirl/ 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16012627.Barb_Shuler 
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2jw0a4K  
Buy Signed paperbacks here: https://goo.gl/forms/i2IZqgzgGQv1k06r2 

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FOSTER AN AUTHOR

ZIZI COLE

#FAA3  #fosteranauthor3 #cheekypee

Sweet Nightmares
Nightmares aren’t always figments of our imagination.
Alexandrea Cooper moves back to her hometown, Ravensville, after a ten-year absence.
She starts adjusting to life back home again, when her parents are brutally murdered.
There are no suspects and Alexandrea tries to cope with the grief of what has happened, when suddenly her sleep becomes plagued with nightmares of her parent’s killer.
She quickly realizes that there’s more to her world than she originally believed.
She’s reunited with her high school sweetheart, Jake, and the nightmares intensify. Attempts on Alexandrea’s life twist her life as she knows it.
In a race against time, can they stop the killer before it’s too late?

 About the author

Zizi was born in Kirksville, Missouri in 1985. She lived there most of her youth, until she moved to Brookfield in 2001. She attended college and obtained her Associate's of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood. She later went back to college and received her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources.

        Zizi resides in a small town in Missouri with her two boys and cat.  When Zizi isn’t writing, she likes to spend time with her boys and reading.  

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Monday, 9 October 2017


The sins of the father. The burden of the son.
Unloved by Katy Regnery is LIVE!

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xVZ87E
iBooks: http://ow.ly/M2Ub30dJORp
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Kobo: http://ow.ly/LD2t30dJQQw

My name is Cassidy Porter…

My father, Paul Isaac Porter, was executed twenty years ago for the brutal murder of twelve innocent girls.

Though I was only eight-years-old at the time, I am aware – every day of my life – that I am his child, his only son.

To protect the world from the poison in my veins, I live a quiet life, off the grid, away from humanity.

I promised myself, and my mother, not to infect innocent lives with the darkness that swirls within me, waiting to make itself known.

It’s a promise I would have kept…if Brynn Cadogan hadn’t stumbled into my life.

Now I exist between heaven and hell: falling for a woman who wants to love me, while all along reminding myself that I must remain…

Unloved.

**NOTE: This book is intended for readers 18+**


SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Official UNLOVED, a love story, webpage: http://ow.ly/ULLF30ftMYU
Add this book to your Goodreads TBR list: http://ow.ly/R3Fs30dJOOn
Check out Katy's Pinterest inspiration board: http://ow.ly/M7Ie30dJP2x
For updates and news, follow Katy on Facebook: http://ow.ly/qpz730dJPFY


Signed paperback copies of this book can be ordered here: http://ow.ly/f6pH30dtYHj

Friday, 6 October 2017

BLOG TOUR

A heart-warming family saga
Ella is trying to put the past behind her, but the past won’t always stay hidden. The truth is, Ella is hiding from a scandal. A scandal that drove her family out of their beloved Lane End Cottage in the tiny Yorkshire village they had lived in all their lives. A scandal that her sister Alice was blamed for.

But Alice is no longer here. So it’s up to Ella to pick up the pieces and do the best she can for the family she loves so dearly.

Ella’s luck finally changes when she gains work in service at Grange House, a gentleman’s residence on the outskirts of York. But can Ella keep her position there? Or will she follow in her elder sister’s footsteps…



[Extract 1]
‘Ella!’ This time the call was louder, more forceful, stopping her in her tracks. She turned again, scanning the crowd. As her eyes skimmed over the good citizens of York, intent on last-minute Christmas purchases, they were arrested by an almost-familiar figure.
‘Albert?’ she said uncertainly. ‘Albert Spencer?’ He stood before her: out of breath, wiry, dark-haired and little changed in appearance from the young man she’d last seen several years before.
‘You know your way around!’ he exclaimed. ‘I’ve had a hard job keeping up with you in this crowd. Is it always like this?’
Ella glanced about her and smiled. ‘Yes. Always busy with those in search of a bargain or two, particularly so at Christmas. You’re not familiar with the market then?’ She looked enquiringly at Albert, trying to get over her astonishment at seeing him after so long.
‘No, no, I was here by chance.’ Albert sounded hurried. ‘But I’m glad I was. I wasn’t sure it was you at first, but then when I followed you I knew I was right. You move just like Alice!’
Hearing her sister’s name gave Ella a jolt and she glanced quickly at Albert.
Oblivious to the effect he’d had on her, he carried on. ‘What are you doing here? It’s so long since I’ve seen anyone from home! I’m aching for news. It’s too cold to stand around here though. Is there somewhere we can talk?’
Ella hesitated. Mrs Sugden would scold her if she was late back, but she wanted to hear Albert’s news, even if she wasn’t keen to share hers with him. He had a confident air, which was that of a grown man now, far removed from the mill boy she had walked to work with seven or more years ago. The cut of his clothes marked him out as prosperous; not like her employer Mr Ward, of course, but not dissimilar to some of the tradesmen who came to the house to discuss plans for the houses that her employer was building on the edge of the city. Ella was becoming practised at pinpointing who belonged to which level of society, even though such things had been a complete mystery to her when she first arrived in York. Back in Northwaite where she had grown up there had been those that worked at the mill, those that owned the mill, and the overlookers in between. A few other figures, such as the parson and the doctor, occupied a level above the overlooker and below the mill owner, Mr Weatherall, and his family, but there was little to consider beyond that.
Here in York there were landed gentry right up at the top of the ladder, those who didn’t seem to work on a daily basis but whose affairs regularly called them away from home, to Leeds or to London. Then there were those who had a standing and an education, such as doctors and clergy; after that came business people, tradespeople, shopkeepers and a whole layer of workers below who kept the wheels in motion.
The hierarchy ‘below stairs’ in the grand residences such as Grange House was a little world in itself, from the butler right down to the scullery maid. It had taken Ella a while to sort all this out for herself. She’d only managed it by careful observation and listening to the nuances of conversations: the way in which Mrs Sugden referred to those under her jurisdiction, and those above stairs. Although Ella worked as both a house parlourmaid and a lady’s maid these days, her role was relatively clearly defined compared to her previous role in Mr Ottershaw’s house back in Nortonstall, just two miles from where she had been born and brought up. Ella shuddered at the memory. As the only maid that he could afford, she had been expected to cover all the household duties of cooking and cleaning, as well as minding the children. The length and hardship of her days had almost made her nostalgic for her time working at the mill.
Albert had noticed her shudder. ‘You’re cold,’ he said and, taking her arm, he guided her through the grand, gilded doors of the tearoom that stood a little way from the edge of the market. Ella hesitated, trying to pull back, but it was too late; they were inside in the warmth and being ushered to a table. She’d passed this place many times whilst on her errands and had gazed through the huge plate-glass windows, wondering what it must feel like to sit at one of the round tables draped with a starched white cloth, having time to sit and chat over coffee served in monogrammed china cups.
Her cheeks flamed, partly from the sudden warmth but more out of embarrassment. Her coat, which she had thought so smart, felt distinctly dowdy and unfashionable in here. She could see some of the ladies at adjacent tables eyeing her up and down, noting her attire, her basket, her lack of a proper hat and gloves, the way her unruly reddish-blonde hair was escaping from the pins holding it in place. They commented to each other, turning away then glancing back, laughing behind their hands.
Albert was oblivious to this. He ordered coffee for both of them before turning his attention to Ella. ‘You’ve barely said a word,’ he said.
Ella tried to overcome her discomfort, and her worry about being scolded by Mrs Sugden over her tardiness. ‘I’m sorry. I’m just a bit overwhelmed. I’ve never been in here before.’
She chanced a look around, trying to imprint her surroundings on her memory. High ceilings, the grey light of winter filtering through the stained glass which edged the windows, the inside lit by gas lamps and filled with the buzz of chatter and laughter, the clink of china and wonderful aromas of coffee, sugar and chocolate. Ella felt her stomach rumble. Breakfast had been a long while ago.
Albert must have read her mind. As the coffee pot was delivered to the table, he murmured something to the waiter, and a plate of tiny pastries swiftly followed. Ella relaxed a little and unwound the scarf from around her neck, trying to sip her coffee and eat her pastry as though she was used to it, although even a cursory glance at her reddened, worn hands would have suggested otherwise.
‘So,’ Albert said, giving her a probing look. ‘How long have you been in York? Do you have news from home?’
Ella started to fill him in on her last few years, her time at Mr Ottershaw’s in Nortonstall and the hardships of life there, her chance meeting with Mr Ward and her good fortune in being taken on at Mr Ward’s house in York. She managed to intersperse a few questions for Albert, and very soon realised that his apprenticeship and almost immediate employment as a qualified stonemason had kept him fully occupied here in York, and in other cathedral cities. It appeared that he had not returned to Northwaite in all that time. He had sent word home, and frequent amounts of money, but had heard little in return, neither his father nor his mother being ‘much of ones for writing’ as he said ruefully. Ella knew this to mean that they had never learnt how.
The furrow in Albert’s brow had deepened as Ella told her tale, and she feared his next question. Her coffee was drunk and she was very conscious of the passage of time. Mrs Sugden would not be impressed at the idea of a servant meeting up with an old friend and passing the time of day with him in a tearoom. Ella knew she was going to be in trouble.
‘I really must go. It was lovely to see you, Albert, but I will be late back.’ Ella wound her scarf around her neck as she spoke, and pushed her chair back. Perhaps she could make her escape while he settled the bill? She felt a pang of regret. It had been so lovely to see a familiar face from home, but what use could they be to each other now?
‘Wait,’ Albert rose at the same time as Ella and handed her basket to her. Ella tried to ignore the contemptuous stares of their neighbours. ‘Alice. You haven’t mentioned Alice. How is she?’
Ella took a deep breath. She had dreaded this very question. ‘She’s dead, Albert. I’m really sorry. It happened within three months of you leaving. Alice is dead.’

And with that she hurried to the door, almost pushing the doorman out of her way in her haste to be gone. As she passed the window, she glanced in quickly. Albert still stood by the table, as if rooted to the spot, leaning forward slightly and supported by his rigid arms, fingers splayed and tense on the cloth, all colour drained from his face.