BROOK COTTAGE BOOKS PRESENTS: Promotion for The Bride’s Trail by A A Abbott




Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer and Ruth Rendell

Twenty grand has vanished from Shaun Halloran’s casino, and so has gorgeous blonde croupier Kat White. Once he’s tracked her down, he’ll shoot first and ask questions later.

Amy Satterthwaite’s just learned Kat stole her ID for a sham marriage. Desperate to clear her name and save her friend from Shaun, she swallows her pride and turns to arrogant Ross Pritchard for help. But can they find Kat in time?

Twists and tension keep the pages turning in A.A. Abbott’s stunning crime thriller. As Kat’s trail leads from London’s smart Fitzrovia to secret tunnels below central Birmingham, the stakes couldn’t be higher.




“What do you want?” she asked.
“Where’s Kat? I need to see her.”
“I don’t know.”
He took the knife from his pocket.
“No,” Amy said, “I really don’t know. If I did, I’d tell you. She’s been gone for three days and I can’t reach her. I’ve tried, believe me.” This was no time for heroics. Had she the slightest idea of Kat’s whereabouts, she would have divulged them, of that she was sure.
His eyes darted down to the knife. He flicked it open, stroked its blade, then looked up at her again. “I need answers, Amy,” he said, almost sorrowfully. “If someone had stolen twenty grand from you, you’d want some answers too.”
“Kat stole twenty thousand pounds?” A week ago she wouldn’t have believed it. Now, she couldn’t be sure. “That’s not all she’s done. She married an illegal immigrant, using my name. The police were round this morning.”
“Do they know where she is?”
Amy sighed. “No.”
“Good. I want to see her before the police do. I don’t suppose they’ve searched this flat for clues to her whereabouts?”
She was silent.
“No,” he said. “I thought not. You and me, Amy, we’re going to do that now, before any such clues might do a vanishing act like our mutual friend. Show me Kat’s room.”
“You’re in it.”
He looked around, shook his head. “Really? I thought this was the lounge. Okay, I want you to take everything out of those boxes.” He pointed to a stack of wooden wine crates, painted white, in which Kat’s belongings were stowed.
The top crate was crammed with shopping bags, over a dozen of them, bearing the names of designer boutiques: Prada, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and more. Reluctantly, Amy picked up a bag.
“Open it,” the knifeman said.
It was from Agent Provocateur, a powder pink paper bag sealed with a black ribbon. Carefully, Amy untied the bow. Inside, there was a pink cardboard box.
“Now that,” he ordered.
“Must I?” Amy pleaded. “These are Kat’s personal things.”
“That’s the whole point.”
Silently, she opened the box, unfolded the black tissue paper inside and shook out a frilly silk underwear set. A receipt showed it had cost two hundred pounds.
He whistled, leering. “Very nice. Now the rest.”
Altogether, Kat had spent over four thousand pounds on unworn purchases. “A shopping addiction,” he said thoughtfully, reflecting Amy’s surprised reaction. “Carry on.”
The crates below mostly contained clothes, neatly folded, and shoes in bags. There were a few books, overspill from the shelves by the wall, and finally, a box file containing paperwork.
“Give me that,” the dangerous stranger commanded. He fished out a letter. “Dearest Kat,” he read aloud, “I hope you are well. I am fine, and so is Cedric the Cat, but he is very old now. I have a little job now at Treasures in Harborne. Same old, same old. Do write and tell me your news. With love, Auntie Lizzie.” He paused. “Isn’t that sweet?” he said sarcastically. “Let’s see if there’s more of the same.”
He rifled through the box, shaking his head. Evidently, nothing further was deemed worthy of comment. He asked her to empty the only other article of storage in the room, a large rosewood chest, but that merely yielded towels and bedding.
“Interesting, and predictable,” he muttered. “I’ll tell you what we haven’t found. No suitcase, money, passport, women’s things like cosmetics. No certificates for qualifications, birth, marriage even.” He looked pointedly at Amy. “She’s done a runner.”
Amy bit her tongue. He was unlikely to appreciate being told he was stating the obvious.
He pocketed the letter. “I’ll be back. And you’ll tell me where she is, okay?” He fingered the knife again. “Not a word to the Old Bill. I’ve never been here, not on your life.”
“What about the CCTV?” she couldn’t resist challenging him.
“What about it?” he said dismissively. “None in that car park. I cut the wires.” He stood to leave, putting a finger to his lips. “You’re a lucky, lucky girl, Amy, because I believe you. Thousands wouldn’t. Now don’t forget – not a dicky bird, okay?”
When he’d gone, Amy bolted the door and searched the kitchenette for alcohol. Finding a bottle of Snow Mountain vodka, less than a quarter full, she drank all that was left of it and went straight to bed.

Please note there is also a taster story, The Gap, at


aa abbottAA Abbott (also known as Helen) chose her pen name in a shameless attempt to slot into the first space on your bookshelf. Born near London, she’s lived in Birmingham and Bristol, and worked in all three cities. She works for big companies for half the year as a tax accountant, taking temporary work so she can spend the rest of the year writing fast-paced crime thrillers. Although her work gives her inspiration, she says none of her colleagues have murdered, blackmailed or defrauded anyone. Hanging out in coffee shops and cocktail bars, she loves city life and can’t resist writing about it.


Twitter: @AAAbbottStories
Goodreads Author Page:




Historical fiction
Series: A Dan Foster Mystery
Release Date:
16 May 2017
Publisher: S Books

In the winter of 1794 Bow Street Runner and amateur pugilist Dan Foster is assigned to guard a Royal Mail coach. The mission ends in tragedy when a young constable is shot dead by a highwayman calling himself Colonel Pepper. Dan is determined to bring Pepper to justice, but the trail runs cold.

Four months later Dan is sent to Staffordshire to recover a recently excavated hoard of Roman gold which has gone missing. Here he unexpectedly encounters Colonel Pepper again. The hunt is back on, and this time Dan will risk his life to bring down Pepper and his gang.

The Fatal Coin is a prequel to Bloodie Bones, the first Dan Foster Mystery, which was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016.



“Dan dragged himself to the injured man, leaned over him, tried to see how much blood there was. A lot.
‘Wilkinson, stay awake. Stay with me.’
Dan struggled to loosen the rope at his wrists until the skin was raw and bleeding. He and the naval lieutenant shuffled back-to-back and tried to unpick each other’s knots. Then they tried sawing the ropes on the rim of one of the mail coach’s wheels. At the end of an hour they had made little progress.
Release came when a carrier wagon full of seamen on their way back to their ships plodded along the road. But by then, Wilkinson was dead.”

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LucienneBoyce2 300dpiRGBLucienne Boyce is a historical novelist and women’s suffrage historian. Her first historical novel, To The Fair Land (SilverWood Books) an eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas, was published in 2012. Her second novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (SilverWood Books, 2015) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016, and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016.
In 2013, Lucienne published The Bristol Suffragettes (SilverWood Books), a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west country. She regularly gives talks and leads walks about women’s suffrage.
Lucienne is on the steering committee of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network, and is also a member of the Society of Authors and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She is a regular presenter on the Silver Sound show for BCfm Radio, a Bristol community radio station.
Lucienne is working on the third Dan Foster Mystery, and a biography of a married couple who were involved in the suffragette, socialist and pacifist movements. She was born in Wolverhampton and now lives in Bristol.
Goodreads Author Page:

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Brook Cottage Book Tours presents: The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald 29th May – 9th June 2017



Genre: Adult contemporary fiction; Domestic Noir
Release Date: 28th May 2017
Publisher: Matador – An imprint of Troubador Publishing

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket follows the story of two women who are each struggling to let go of a long-term destructive partnership. Felicity is reluctant to detach from her estranged archaeologist husband and, after being banished from the family home, she sets out to test the stability of his relationship with his new love, Marianne.

When Felicity meets Coll, a charismatic artist, she has high hopes of being distracted from her failed marriage. What she doesn’t know is that he has a partner, Sarah, with whom he has planned a future. Sarah is deeply in love with Coll, but his controlling behaviour and associations with other women have always made her life difficult. When he becomes obsessed with Felicity, Sarah’s world collapses and a series of events is set in motion that will challenge the integrity of all the characters involved.

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is a thought-provoking book, written from the perspectives of Sarah and Felicity. The reader is in the privileged position of knowing what’s going on for both of the women, while each of them is being kept in the dark about a very important issue.

Inspired by the work of Margaret Atwood and Fay Weldon, Linda explores the issue of mental abuse in partnerships and the grey area of an infidelity that is emotional, not physical. The book will appeal to readers interested in the psychology of relationships, as well as fans of Linda’s ‘Lydia’ series.




As soon as I began reading this I took an instant dislike to Coll. What a selfish pig of a man! The whole world revolves around him and his needs.  He has been in a ten year relationship with Sarah which has had its on-off moments as well as (she suspects) other women, whom she labels OWs.  Both in their fifties, all the things he has promised her – a new home and an enjoyable retirement together – have yet to materialise.  If this story had been written from the third person, I might have felt Sarah had brought a lot of this on herself.  She is too accommodating, too reluctant to challenge his behaviour for fear of losing him. By virtue of the fact he was an artist he seemed in her eyes to be allowed this temperamental and I have to say, awful behaviour. But written from the first person and learning of her tragic past, I could see how this had influenced her attitude to life and Coll.

Enter restaurateur Felicity. Tall, attractive, self-assured. She’s everything quiet librarian Sarah is not. She’d abandoned her marriage a year ago to live abroad with a much younger lover. Now it has all gone wrong she’s returned, planning to build fences with her husband Ted, sure he’ll take her back. The problem is in her absence someone else has come into his life; a woman Felicity’s children are coming to accept.

Coll is looking for an outlet to sell his paintings, and what better than the bare white walls of Felicity’s newly opened restaurant?  Felicity is very taken with this mature, handsome man and his teasing banter and agrees to his proposal. For a time it seems she’s keeping her options open with two men in the frame as Coll begins to show a healthy interest in her, spending time with her and asking her out to the theatre.  I didn’t immediately take to Felicity. I could see she wanted her husband back for all the wrong reasons. If she had really been set on a reconciliation Coll wouldn’t have even figured in her plans.  She seemed to want the best of both worlds, flattered by the attention Coll gives her. However, it’s when she learns of Sarah’s existence that we see the kind of woman she really is.

A great read. Written from Sarah and Felicity’s viewpoint I was able to get far deeper into each of the two women’s characters than if the story had been told from the third person.  Coll was a cleverly drawn character – so easy to dislike.  A man who breezed through life never happy with what he had, always wanting the next ‘out of reach’ thing.  His obsession with Felicity was his undoing and I had absolutely no sympathy for him. A great five star read.

five star rating



Colour cropLinda MacDonald is the author of three independently published novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind and The Alone Alternative. They are all contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues.

After studying psychology at Goldsmiths’, Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing.
Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham, Kent.

Twitter: @LindaMac1
Goodreads Author Page:



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First prize signed paperback book bundle of all of Linda’s 4 books with 3 recipe cards and a bookmark. (uk only)
Second prize signed copy of The Man in the Needlecord Jacket + 3 recipe cards and bookmark (uk only) OR an ecopy of The Man in the Needlecord Jacket (International participants.)

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Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: 14/03/2017
Series – Willoughby Close #3 (can be read as a standalone)

Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

Harriet Lang had the perfect life, so she’s left reeling when everything is taken from her in one fell swoop. Suddenly, Harriet learns her beautiful farmhouse in the Cotswolds is double-mortgaged, her husband Richard’s been unceremoniously fired—and he’s become a little too close to his young, sexy assistant.

Harriet moves into Willoughby Close with her three children, trying to hold her head up high. With the help of her neighbor and newfound friend Ellie Matthews, Harriet starts to rebuild her life–but dipping a toe in the dating pool feels strange and meanwhile her children are struggling in different ways. She wonders if starting over is really possible…

Then Willoughby Close begins to weave its healing magic on both her and her children, and Harriet begins to see a way forward. She even starts to date sexy local vet Tom Roberts–but when Richard reappears in her life, wanting to make amends, Harriet must make the painful decision about how much of the past can be forgiven—and what kind of future she is fighting for.


“Come on,” Harriet said now, as she climbed resolutely out of the car and gave them all as cheerful a smile as she could. “Let’s check it out.”
The movers had already come; Harriet had marked what furniture to take from their house to Willoughby Close, and it had been a depressingly small amount. The big, bespoke kitchen table wouldn’t fit, and the huge dresser with all the pottery she’d collected over the years wouldn’t either. In fact, at least two-thirds of their furniture was going into storage, which was expensive, but Harriet couldn’t bear to lose all of it along with the house. They’d need it when Richard got his job, and they bought something bigger.
She’d spent hours and hours, weeks and months, selecting all the furniture for the house, with the help of the expensive interior decorator who had more or less held her hand through the entire process. She’d bought tasteful antiques interspersed with fresh modern pieces, carpets and kilims from various holidays, watercolors and oil paintings of places that were meaningful to them. Sophie had once said, with admiration that bordered on envy, that Harriet’s house could be featured in Country Life.
And so it would again. This was a blip, damn it. Things were going to get better. Richard was going to find a job, he’d said so, and they’d get back their house or buy an even better house, and she’d live there without him, happy and defiant. Or something like that. She couldn’t picture specifics yet, but she couldn’t stand the thought of the rest of her life looking like… this.
The children trooped silently behind her as she fumbled with the keys and then opened the door to number two. The smell of fresh paint and emptiness hit her like a smack in the face. It was the smell of fresh starts, and she didn’t want one.
She stepped inside, reaching for the lights. Although it was only four in the afternoon it was already getting dark, the skies heavy and low with gray clouds. Spring felt a long way off, despite the fact that it was mid-February, and the spattering of snowdrops interspersed with an early crocus or two that she’d seen on the drive in.
“This is it?” Mallory’s voice rang through the empty space, scornful and incredulous. William kicked at the skirting board, scuffing the pristine white paint. Chloe stuck her thumb in her mouth.
“Yes, this is it,” Harriet said, trying to pitch her tone somewhere between firm and bright. “It’s lovely, isn’t it?”



Kate Hewitt is the author of over 65 novels of women’s fiction and romance. Whichever the genre, she loves telling a compelling and emotional story. An American ex-pat and former New Yorker, she now lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five children. You can learn more about her books and life at

Goodreads Author Page:


1st Prize – £10 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize – a print copy of MEET ME AT WILLOUGHBY CLOSE (book 1)



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Five Must-See Places in the Cotswolds by Kate Hewitt

 The Willoughby Close series is set in the Cotswolds, and I sometimes worry it gets a bit of a bad rap in the books. Admittedly when I moved to the area I struggled with some of the wealth and snobbery I encountered, especially as I had moved from an area that was remote and economically deprived, and everything and everyone just seemed so… entitled.

However, I don’t want readers to think that the Cotswolds is all snooty mums decked out in Burberry, or overpriced coffees at organic farm shops, although there is a fair amount of both of those! So I thought I’d compile a list of some great places to visit in the Cotswolds.

1.)    Cotswold Water Park: This sounds like a pool with slides and inflatables but is actually a nature preserve with a lake and a lot of water sports. There is a lovely man-made beach and some great swimming, although it is sure to be crowded on a sunny Saturday!

2.)    Cotswold Wildlife Park: This is a small zoo with a great playground and a surprisingly good collection of exotic animals—lions, tigers, giraffes, and gorillas all feature. It’s a lovely day out, especially if you have under 12s.

3.)    Burford: This is a lovely village with a medieval bridge, a long high street with lots of quaint shops and cafés, and a beautiful church. It’s called ‘the Gateway to the Cotswolds’, although I gather there are several of these!

4.)    Blenheim Palace: This is the only non-royal, non-episcopal palace in the country, and it is quite magnificent, both for the house itself and its gardens. It’s also the birthplace of Winston Churchill, and there is a nice exhibit on Churchill, including the room where he was born.

5.)    Thirsty Meeples: This isn’t technically in the Cotswolds, as it is in Oxford, but my family has had a lot of fun there. It is a café with over two thousand board games and if you make a reservation, you can come and play any of them for up to three hours, with café staff who will help explain the rules. If you don’t have enough people to play a game, you can join tables. So much fun!

 The Cotswolds is a great place to visit, and even though I don’t live there anymore (I moved sixty miles away, to Wales, which feels very different!), it’s also a great place to live—as all the characters in the Willoughby Close books come to discover!

Happy Reading, Kate






Publication Date: 8th May 2017
Series: Eleanor Raven – Book 3
Genre: Crime / Thriller

The brand new thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the author of The Safe Word and The Vault.

Winter is settling on Toronto and a series of seemingly unconnected murders are weighing heavily on DI Eleanor Raven. When an army veteran holds his family hostage, leaving chaos and an unidentifiable skeletal human hand in his wake, Raven is left tangled in a web of leads, lies and secrets, with each thread leading her closer to the all too terrifying truth.

But with time running out, Raven needs to re-connect with her past life – the one she thought she’d finally escaped from – if she’s to find out who the killer is before they strike again . . .

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_DSC7264Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.
She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.
Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website, where she posts regular blogs.
The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, later joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault.


All author or review enquires please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston –

Did you know that Eleanor Raven is also online?


Like the sound of this book? Have a book blog? Want to review THE COLD ROOM? Be part of the review tour 15th – 19th May!


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2 lucky readers have the chance of winning a signed paperback copy of the book!

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Brook Cottage Book Tours presents: Death of a Cuckoo by Wendy Percival. Blitz Day Wednesday 12 April, 2017

death of a cuckoo cover.jpe

Death of a Cuckoo by Wendy Percival

Release Date: 6th March 2017
Pages: 106
Genre: Cozy Mystery

An Esme Quentin Short Read

A letter. A photograph. A devastating truth.

When Gina Vincent receives a letter of condolence from a stranger following her mother’s death, a photograph slipped inside reveals a disturbing truth – everything she’s ever known is based on a lie. Shocked and disorientated, she engages genealogy detective Esme Quentin to help search for answers.

The trail leads to an isolated and abandoned property on the edge of Exmoor, once the home of a strict Victorian institution called The House of Mercy and its enigmatic founder, whose influence seems to linger still in the fabric of the derelict building.

As they dig deeper, Esme realises that the house itself hides a dark and chilling secret, one which must be exposed to unravel the mystery behind Gina’s past.

But someone is intent on keeping the secret hidden. Whatever it takes.


I ran down the steps and squeezed my way down the slim passage. In the recess was a narrow door but it didn’t match the faded, peeling paint of the remainder of the house’s decoration. It was brighter, as though it had been protected from the elements. As I stepped closer, I realised that’s exactly what had happened. Under my feet were pieces of broken planking. Until very recently, this doorway had been covered by a decorative panel and disguised. So who had uncovered it? It couldn’t have been there at the viewing.


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What would you do if you discovered your whole life had been a lie? Quite a scary thought, but that’s exactly what happens to Gina Vincent after her mother dies. She receives a letter of condolence and an accompanying photo. This has come from a woman who claims to have been a close friend who has lost touch over the years .  Comments in the letter lead Gina to check her birth certificate only to find her mother had a hysterectomy three years before she was born.  Enlisting the help of genealogist Esme Quentin, the pair set out to uncover the mystery surrounding  Gina’s birth and the identity of her real biological mother.

The plot is a clever one with plenty of twists and turns. The subject matter, discovering your biological mother is someone you have never known, is handled well. Gina is the main character in this story but Esme provides strong support alongside her. Although this was a bit of a departure from my usual book choice I grew to like Gina’s character and wanted to know how everything worked out.  An enjoyable and engrossing read. Highly recommended.



61Ct7XEv9ZL._UX250_Wendy Percival was born in the West Midlands and brought up in the Worcestershire countryside. After training as a primary school teacher she moved to North Devon in 1980 to take up her first teaching post and remained in teaching for 20 years.

An impulse buy of Writing Magazine inspired her to start writing seriously. She won Writing Magazine’s Summer Ghost Story competition in 2002 and had a short story published in The People’s Friend before focusing on full length fiction.

The time honoured ‘box of old documents in the attic’ stirred her interest in genealogy and became the inspiration for the Esme Quentin mystery novels Blood-Tied and The Indelible Stain. She is currently working on the third in the series, where the clandestine past of the Second World War provides the secret world into which Esme must delve to uncover the truth.

When she’s not writing fiction, Wendy conducts her own family history research, sharing her finds on her blog,

Wendy lives in a Devon thatched cottage beside a 13th century church with her husband and a particularly talkative cat

You can find more on her website




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Brook Cottage Book Tours presents: MURDER ON THE RUN by Lesley Cookman 3 – 7 April 2017



Genre: Cosy Crime/Women’s Contemporary Fiction/ Crime
Release Date: December 1st and January 31st
Publisher: Accent Press

The world of running is completely alien to Libby Sarjeant and her friend Fran Wolfe, but when Libby’s son Adam and Fran’s stepdaughter Sophie join the Nethergate Harriers, they have to take an interest. And when one of the runners goes missing in the middle of the Nethergate 5K, they take more than an interest! It’s not long before a body is found – and Libby and Fran are caught up in another investigation…

The seventeenth instalment in the hugely popular Libby Sarjeant murder mystery series.



Me at AlimosLesley Cookman is a former model, actor, DJ and air stewardess, among other things. She has been writing for money for nearly 40 years (no, I know she doesn’t look old enough), her particular areas of interest being Theatre, Old Time Music Hall and Pantomime. She lives on the Kent Coast and has four grown up Performing Children and two cats.






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Genre: Victorian romance
Release Date: March 15th 2016
Publisher: eKensington/Lyrical Press

She Can’t Forget Him…

Jane Charlotte Danes has loved the squire of her idyllic country town for as long as she can remember. He is good, kind, and alluring beyond words… and he chose to marry another. Tired of dwelling on her futile longings, Jane plans a move to Bath, where she dreams of a new beginning. But the man who has so imprisoned her heart is only a few steps behind…

He Can’t Let Her Go…

Until now, Matthew Cleaves has endeavoured to meet the responsibilities of his position with dignity and good spirits–including his dutiful marriage. But when his wife leaves him for another man, Matthew is at last free to pursue his one true love. Only one vital question remains: will the captivating, stubborn, beautiful Jane allow him the challenge, and the pleasure, of winning her back?

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Having only ever read Rachel’s Templeton Cove series, this was a completely new departure for me.  And a rather enjoyable one.  Both Bath and the village of Biddestone are well known to me, so as I read I could actually visualise where the action was taking place.

Growing up with Matthew Cleaves Jane Danes has always loved him.  Her most painful experience was to watch him marry someone else.  But that someone has now abandoned him to be with another man.  Since his wife’s departure Matthew has become an insular grouchy man, abandoning his responsibility as squire to the village.  After running into sharp tongued Jane and her sister Monica he visits the local pub only to find himself facing some more home truths from barmaid Maggie. He realises how much his wife’s actions have affected not only him but those he is responsible for.  It’s a wakeup call.

Now their elderly mother has died Jane has decided to take up residence in the family’s town house in Bath leaving her sister and brother in law to run their country home, the Marksville Estate. She plans an independent life doing something to help those less fortunate. When Matthew learns of this he’s concerned about the move. Despite her protests he insists on accompanying her to Bath to see her safely to the house.

Jane is very independent, totally at odds with her contemporaries who love to shop, take tea and gossip.  She resents Matthew’s intrusion in her life but another part of her can’t deny the attraction she still has for him.  Despite their tendency to rub each other up the wrong way, the two eventually realise they love each other. But it’s a forbidden love and one which has no future when he still remains married to his wife.

A lovely read about forbidden love and second chances.


Me at Ashford2Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for three more.
She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical and hoping to sign a new contract for further historical romances shortly.
When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family.

Facebook: Facebook
Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers
Twitter: Twitter


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One Dark Lie - high res


Genre: Mystery
Release Date: 12 December 2016
Series: London & Cambridge Mysteries #3)
Publisher: Choc Lit Ltd (Death by Choc Lit imprint)

The truth can hurt, and sometimes it leads to murder …

After becoming embroiled in a murder investigation, Nate Bastable and Ruby Fawcett have decided to opt for the quiet life. But crime has a habit of following them around.

When her work dries up, Ruby finds herself accepting a job researching and writing about Diana Patrick-John, a colourful and enigmatic Cambridge academic. Simple enough. But then there’s the small fact that Diana was found dead in suspicious circumstances in her home – the very place where Ruby has now been invited to stay.

As she begins to uncover Diana’s secret life, Ruby’s sleuthing instinct kicks in, leaving her open to danger and retribution. But can she rely on Nate to support her? Especially when his behaviour has become increasingly distant and strange, almost as though he had something to hide …

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I really enjoyed A Stranger’s House so was really looking forward to reading One Dark Lie – the third book in the London and Cambridge Mysteries series. Nate and Ruby are now an item – well almost – they’re in a relationship but not currently living together. Ruby is given the opportunity to write a book about well-known academic Diana Patrick John’s life by her brother Quentin. She is invited to stay in Diana’s house, where he and his daughter are currently living in order to get an authentic feel for Diana’s life and to access her papers. When she discusses this project with PI Nate, he is less than enthusiastic, having previously refused Quentin’s request for his services to track down Diana’s killer. Despite Nate’s warning about Quentin’s controlling nature and the fact it might be a way of persuading him to change his mind about investigating Diana’s death, Ruby accepts the commission. She moves into the house in Felix Road and begins meeting people who knew Diana. Despite being aware she needs to concentrate on gathering information for the book, her interviews begin to draw her deeper into the circumstances surrounding Diana’s death. Meanwhile Nate is off on a mission of his own as he draws closer to the person he knows is responsible for setting the fire which caused his sister’s death. Knowing the danger he’s dealing with and wanting to keep Ruby safe means playing his cards close to his chest. However, his secretive behaviour begins to fracture their relationship, especially when Ruby discovers Nate has been receiving visits from attractive policewoman Jax Smith.
I loved the parallel stories which ran through this book: Ruby initially there to write a biography of Diana Patrick John but finding herself gradually drawn deeper into events surrounding her murder and Nate in constant danger as he nears the end of his own search for the truth. Clare teases us, taking us first on Ruby’s journey then just as things are beginning to hot up, switching to what’s happening with Nate. A well thought out plot which keeps you guessing right till the end. I read it in several sittings and there were times when I felt really frustrated at having to put it down. A thoroughly engrossing read, beautifully written and well deserving of four stars. And as I said in my review for A Stranger’s House, Ruby and Nate share so many similarities with Maddie Hayes and David Addison in the 1980s series Moonlighting. Can’t wait for book 4 to arrive.



2015-04-30-Clare_Chase (1)Clare Chase writes mysteries set in London and Cambridge featuring crime-solving couples. She fell in love with the capital as a student, living in the rather cushy surroundings of Hampstead in what was then a campus college of London University. (It’s currently being turned into posh flats …)
After graduating in English Literature, she moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She’s fascinated by the city’s contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.
As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.
She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.
One Dark Lie is her third novel with Choc Lit. Previous titles are You Think You Know Me and A Stranger’s House.


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A fantastic prize going to one winner!!!
1. paperback copy of A Stranger’s House (the first Ruby Fawcett and Nate Bastable Cambridge mystery),
2. a sweet treat from Hotel Chocolat and
3. a Cambridge key ring.

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Brook Cottage Book Tours presents: Sins of the Father by Sheryl Browne 20 – 24 March 2017


SOTF Final

Genre: Thriller
Series: DI Matthew Adams #2
Release Date: 28th Feb 2017
Publisher: Choc Lit (Death by Choc Lit)

A roller-coaster of a read which you won’t want to put down! Former Police DCI Stuart Gibbon

What if you’d been accused of one of the worst crimes imaginable?
Detective Inspector Matthew Adams is slowly picking up the pieces from a case that nearly cost him the lives of his entire family and his own sanity too. On the surface, he seems to be moving on, but he drinks to forget and when he closes his eyes, the nightmares still come.
But the past is the past or is it? Because the evil Patrick Sullivan might be out of the picture, but there’s somebody who is just as intent on making Matthew’s life hell, and they’re doing it in the cruellest way possible.
When Matthew finds himself accused of a horrific and violent crime, will his family stand by him? And will he even be around to help when his new enemy goes after them as well?


Matthew woke abruptly, hurtled from sleep by a nightmare he thought would never end. Sweat saturating his face, pooling in the hollow of his neck, he pulled himself upright and squinted against the thin trickle of sunlight filtering through the slatted blinds at the window. His first thought was that he had a hangover the size of an airdrome. His second, that they had no blinds at their bedroom window.
Easing his legs over the edge of the bed, a wheeze rattling his chest and nausea gripping his stomach as the room revolved in sick-making revolutions around him, his gaze went instinctively to the bedside table. His inhaler was there, the blue curative he carried with him, lined up neatly alongside his phone. Disorientated, Matthew blinked hard. His vision was blurred. His memory? Where the bloody hell was he?
A hotel room. Functional, he registered. Scanning his surroundings, he noted the fire instructions pinned to the door, the ancient fire extinguisher on the wall, the dusty circa nineteen eighties carpet. A shithole. Matthew closed his eyes and swallowed against the acrid taste in the back of his throat, then almost had a heart attack as his phone rang, loud and shrill, screeching through his brain like an express train. Scrambling around his mind for some recollection of what had happened the night before, he came up with nothing that was tangible, his tenuous thoughts seeming to slip away, like sea filtering ineffectually through sand. He had a few grainy, grey memories: Jasmine, the apartment, tastefully decorated. The painting, abstract colours intermingling. Coffee. Dripping. Shoes, clacking, like the ominous slow tick of a clock. One shoe. A stiletto. Connor …? Had he been there? Here? Matthew squeezed his eyes shut, tried desperately to remember. Natalie? Christ, no.
His phone rang again, sharp, insistent. Becky, it had to be, and Matthew had no clue what to say to her. Attempting to control his escalating panic, to regulate his breathing, he let it ring and reached for his inhaler instead … and then stopped dead.
Seeing the crimson stains on his hand, Matthew’s heart somersaulted in his chest.
Dried blood, he registered, trying hard not to let the panic, now gripping his gut like a vice, cancel out logical thought. Old blood. His? How old?
Bringing both palms shakily to his face, he examined them. They were ingrained with the stuff. He flipped them over. His knuckles were bruised. Right hand. Sweet Jesus, what had he done? Disentangling himself from the duvet, Matthew scrambled to his feet, then quelling the nausea now clawing its way up his windpipe, he checked himself over. Deep wheals ran vertically down his chest. Four. Matthew swallowed hard. Checked his limbs. Found scratches on his arms. His neck, too. He could feel those, raw and sore.
His pulse rate ratcheting up, he yanked the duvet back. More blood. Too much. Stark against the grey-white of the sheets. Trying desperately to keep a lid on his emotions, he turned, stumbling towards the bathroom, where he leaned over the toilet and vomited the sparse contents of his stomach.
Standing unsteadily, Matthew clutched the sink hard for support. Deep gouges on his cheek, he noted through the mirror, then flinched as a flashback hit him head on: Jasmine, smiling, her eyes, flat and emotionless. Her fingernails trailing down his face, his torso. Her touch had been light. She’d inflicted no damage. So how? Who? Natalie? A fresh image assaulted him, Natalie lying next to him. On top of him. Had he? No! His gaze straying to the wall behind him, Matthew’s legs almost gave way. There were blood spatters on the tiles. Perspiring profusely, he dragged an arm over his forehead. Irregular, splattered all over the walls. Christ, this couldn’t be happening.
A terrifying scenario unfurling in his head, Matthew willed himself to turn to the bath. His hand visibly shaking, cold trepidation snaking the length of his spine, he steeled himself to reach for the mould-stained shower curtain, hesitated, and drew it back.
A tap dripped, slowly, steadily. Each drip echoing distortedly around the room, sounding like a nail being driven into his coffin. He registered the watery trickle of blood washing over the carcass of a spider wedged in the plughole.
No body.
Wilting with relief, Matthew turned away. Taking several slow breaths, he grabbed a towel from the rail, whilst simultaneously reaching for the sink tap, and then stopped, his head screaming, his instincts colliding. If he cleaned himself up, he’d be destroying evidence. If he ran … Matthew stared hard at himself in the mirror. More images assailed him, disjointed memories. Surreal, foggy recollections. He’d been here with two women. Jasmine and Natalie. Matthew knew that much. Thought he did. And every indication was that one of those women had been badly injured, or worse, possibly by him. If he was going to call this in, and terrified though he was, his conscience told him he had to, he couldn’t wash. He needed to. The smell in the room was cloying. A woman’s scent. It was all over him.
He had to call Becky. Trying to keep calm, to not give into his urge to run from the room and keep running, Matthew headed back to the bedroom, where his phone had been ringing constantly. Whatever had happened, she needed to hear it from him first. He needed to tell her … Tell her what? Something’s happened, but I don’t know what? I think I’ve been set-up but I have no idea why? I might have had sex with someone but it wasn’t intentional?
No! Disbelieving, Matthew gulped back an immediate deep sense of shame.



Hand on heart I can’t say I’ve ever read a bad book from Sheryl Browne.  In fact her writing just gets better and better.

In After She’s Gone we were introduced to DI Matthew Adams.  We learnt how he’d suffered as a boy, being bullied and much worse, by Patrick Sullivan. The reason for such hatred? Because his father was a policeman.  Sullivan was someone who matured into a hardened criminal; a psychopath intent on destroying Matthew in the cruellest most painful way possible – by targeting his family.  I loved Matthew for his honesty, his bravery in the face of great danger and the way – given the stressful situations he was often put in – he coped with his asthma.  For me he was the perfect hero.

Sins of the Father finds him caught up in yet another nightmare when he wakes up in a hotel room covered in blood and can’t remember how he got there.  A body is discovered and Matthew finds himself on the run as he battles to prove his innocence. Who would do this and why do certain aspects of this murder trigger echoes from the past?  Then his young daughter is kidnapped. This brings him face to face with the killer where an even more brutal fate awaits him.

I’m not going to give anything else way, only to say I became so immersed in this book that I stayed up until 1.20 in the morning to finish it – and I don’t do that very often!

This story is a page turning white knuckle ride which left me even more smitten with DI Adams. I now eagerly await the next book in the series.

All in all an exciting and gripping five star sequel.

five star ratingAs a post script to this review, I would keenly advise reading After She’s Gone before embarking on this second great book.



sheryl-browne03-small-fileHeartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, heart-wrenching fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.
Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.





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