Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

So it's been an eventful year. Six books published and another in the works. Plus the sequel to The Legend of the Talking Sword, which I know was promised in October 2012, but thanks to family circumstances it has been necessary to postpone the project temporarily.

Happy New Year everyone and may 2013 bring everything you dream of.

Thursday, 27 December 2012


I know it's been a while since I wrote anything, but it's been a busy few months so please forgive me. I published Millionaire Playpen and after much effort and many alternations got it accepted into the Smashwords Premium catalogue. It is now available in major stores e.g. iTunes.

Visited friends and had chill out time. My grandfather has been in poor health recently so I lost the inclination to be creative.

Then I published Gemini Blood on 18th November. Again available in stores such as iTunes. Then there was Christmas shopping and then I spent Christmas Eve day with my best friend, his fiancée and their son.

Christmas was a quiet family occasion and I look forward to finding out what 2013 brings.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Just a quick update to announce that Horses for Courses has made it into the Premium Catalogue and wil be distributing to retailers soon.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


What have I been up to since last time I wrote. Well here goes.

Three of my books are now in the Premium Catalogue. Selling steadily with the 5% free samples going healthily up to.

The 3rd DS Steven Potter novel was published a few days ago on and is waiting to be assessed for inclusion in the catalogue.

I've not long returned from a visit to the home of my ldes childhood friend, which I'm honest was a good break. Got to concentrate on spending time with my 2 year old godson, rather than my sales figures.

Went to the cinema with a friend this afternoon to watch the Sweeney starring Ray Winstone. A good film if you like mindless violence. It was good to escape from reality for a while, as well as giving me ideas for future DS Potter novels.

I now want to take it in a new direction so watch this space. Ambitious maybe, but one of these days I might be watching an adaptation of one of my own novels in a cinema.

I will however be insisting on a good quality film. I mean adaptations of films based on Darren Shan novels and Anthony Horowitz works haven't been so hot have they?

We can all have dreams can't we?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Busy Bee

I know long time no see right? Been really busy recently. So what have I been up to I hear you all shout. Well, End Game is now available in more stores.

Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Itunes, Diesel, Page Foundry

The Legend of the Talking Sword got published on 19 August 2012.

Itunes, Diesel and Page Foundry

Taken For a Mug got published on 1 September 2012

Distribution to be arranged.

More ideas for novels in progress.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Premium Catalogue

So the book has made it into the Premium Catalogue and will be shipping to major retailers soon. I'm currently working on The Legend of the Talking Sword, which will be part of a different series and available upon its completion.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


So the sample downloads are slowly creeping up, which is good. I have a business strategy now. Hopefully someone will like the 5% free sample enough to buy it, read it and tell their friends how much they enjoyed it. The drafts for the 2nd novel are not getting very far.

I have uploaded onto Smashwords a new book cover design for "End Game". That's what I bought the giant dice for. I am if anything unique. I have ideas brewing for the cover design of the next novel already.

Monday, 6 August 2012


"End Game" has now sold 4 copies. Admittedly to my mother, but hey. Beggars can't be choosers right? As yet it hasn't been distributed to Amazon or anywhere because I have yet to come up with a design for a decent book cover. That's what the giant dice are for. Don't ask. I'm original, either that or crazy. After all I did see a shrink once in my youth.

Last minute edits are currently underway on my 2nd novel in the series, due out at the end of August

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


So far "End Game" has sold 3 copies and I'm hopeful that it will be distributed to Amazon, the Apple Store and other such retailers. My target sales for this quarter is ideally 15 copies, but not sure I'll get that, but time will tell.

15 copies a quarter wouldn't be bad going.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


So I've spent the day promoting my published e-book "End Game". Never realised quite how difficult it is to get publicity. I've posted the link on Facebook, Twitter and now there's here so here goes. Nothing to lose. The more publicity the better. So frustrating

Happy reading and I'll let you be the judge. Only 99p.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Oak trees

So yesterday on the advice of someone who has made it as an author I put End Game on I put a price on it of 99p or the $ equivalent. It has achieved 7 downloads. Imagine my surprise to learn this morning it got a sale.

OK so I'm not expecting megabucks, but anything is better than nothing. The new JK Rowling I ain't, but from small acorns oak trees do grow.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Long time, no hear

So I've been quite quiet recently. Well I've been mapping out ideas and contrary to popular belief my head is not a simple place, possibly as demonstrated by samples of chapters previously written and published in this blog. At the moment these are just early drafts and should it be picked up by a publisher, adjustments and adaptations can be made.

In the mean time I continue with my "therapy" of writing when the mood takes me. I may even take inspiration from the fact that the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics took place yesterday.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Third Time Lucky Maybe

So this is the second rejection letter/e-mail for End Game. Some feedback on how to improve would be good.


Thank you so much for your submission.  I'm afraid that Snowbooks will not
be able to publish your manuscript, but I do wish you the best of luck in
finding a suitable publisher.

Kind regards,


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

First Rejection

Here's a copy of my first rejection for End Game. Encouraging or not, can't decide

Dear Laura,

Thank you for your submission of ‘End Game’, we very much enjoyed the sample.

However, I am sorry to say I do not feel your work is quite right for our list. We are still a relatively small publishers, so competition for submissions is extremely high. However, I really enjoyed reading your submission, and wish you all the best in finding another publisher for your book.

Thank you for contacting us and if you are interested in keeping up to date with developments at Legend Press we would be delighted to send you our free publishing-news monthly email bulletin. You can register for it simply by emailing with your full name and we will add you to the database.

With thanks again, and very best wishes,

 Legend Press

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


So Michael Jackson has been dead 3 years. Why is it that legends always die young? This is my own tribute to them, some who were around in my lifetime, some who weren't.

Marilyn Monroe 1926-1962

Judy Garland 1922-1969

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley 1935-1977

John Lennon 1940-1980

Princess Diana 1961-1997

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Holiday and other stuff

OK so I haven't been around much recently. First I spent 5 days in New York, visiting all the tourist sites. Statue of Liberty, 9/11 memorial, the usual stuff.

Then I had jet lag for what felt like a week and then there's been the Euros. I have a slight crush on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Then my friend came home for a while, having recently extended his trip, we have had a few mammoth drinking sessions. He has been comforting me as this is a difficult time of year for me what with one thing and another.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Chapters 15-16 of End Game

Chapter 15 Wheels in Motion

DS Steven Potter was working at his desk on so much paperwork, they must have cut down a whole forest to print it. Most of it was pointless. So many open cases, that would never be solved. He broke off to answer his ringing phone.  
He could hardly believe what he was hearing. He listened incredulously to what the caller was saying. He ended the call by promising to investigate and then hung up the phone. No way, the call he just got was a joke. It had to be, but he was worried too. The scenario just seemed so unlikely and yet....
He rubbed his tired eyes and took off his designer glasses. He was working all the hours God sent to keep Princess Kayla in the cushy lifestyle she was accustomed to. She spent his money like water, faster than he could earn it, going shopping and lunching with the ladies and they were getting on no better. This was his call, if he made the wrong one, he could easily get demoted.
He made his decision and picked up the phone to dial his superior officer’s number. He had decided to err on the side of caution.

Chapter 16 Heavy Duty

Later that night Darren sat in front of the TV, his second whiskey in hand. Dutch courage he told himself. The twins were out for the evening, so there was no one there to stop him. He could get as plastered as he liked except... except she was counting on him.  
He drained the whiskey glass and stood up. He reached for his jacket and brushed the fat envelope in his pocket. There wasn’t even a quarter of what they’d asked for in there, but he hoped he’d be able to promise to get the rest and they would be satisfied. Yeah right and the Pope would suddenly start advertising condoms.

Laurel was full of nervous energy. Something was happening tonight, she could feel it. There was an excited air about the place. Her guard had been as uncommunicative as ever when he’d brought her the remains of the pasta, they’d had for dinner. His eyes had been as hostile as ever in his masked face, but that didn’t matter, perhaps tonight it would all be over. For the first time in a long time she prayed. Please Darren, please don’t stuff this up.

Darren sat in his car in the park and took a deep breath. Watching as the digital clock ticked towards midnight. Slowly he got out and waited under the trees. The wind whistled eerily through the trees, an owl hooted loudly, causing him to jump nearly out of his skin. He was barely waiting 5 minutes when he heard footsteps and someone shone a torch right in his eyes. He shielded them automatically. The person holding the torch nodded once and someone grabbed him from behind. He started to struggle, but a voice spoke in his ear.
“If you ever want to see your wife again, I suggest you stay still”

Darren stiffened and immediately went still. The person holding him threw him to the ground. He then proceeded to blindfold him and for good measure kicked him in the ribs. Darren held in his pain as repeated blow after blow rained down on him. He curled into a ball to protect himself.
After a while the blows stopped and he was forced to his feet and made to walk. The sound of a car door opening and then someone pushed roughly on his head, so that he had no choice, but to duck. Minutes later the car moved off. As it did so the unmarked police car, waiting in the shadows began to follow, keeping a discreet distance. Lights off, sirens quiet.
Darren spent most of the journey reflecting on the situation. Is this the treatment Laurel had received when they took her or had it been worse for her? Where were they taking him? What would they do to him when they got there? Where were they keeping her? The same place, maybe. If so would he be allowed to see her? Would he want to? What would he feel if he was allowed?
He quashed the growing bubble of hope, rising in his chest with difficulty. If you allowed yourself to hope, you made mistakes.

The car stopped suddenly and he was bundled out. Walking clumsily, held up by two men, followed by several others. His muscles ached from the beating they had received, but he dare not complain or slacken his pace. Eventually after what seemed like hours, but was probably only minutes he was forced down onto his knees, where they preceded to thoroughly strip search him, searching he presumed for hidden wires. Finding none they took his briefcase and emptied out the money.
“This it?” The guy who seemed to be in charge asked. Darren nodded.
“I need more time to get the rest. I...” he was cut short by a sharp blow to his abdomen, which knocked the breath out of him. He rolled with the blow, ending up on his back. It seemed that the person who’d punched him was about to land another blow, but his companion held him back with a sharp look.
“Seems like we’ll have to talk to the boss about you and he’ll have to decide what to do about your wife. But as neither of you seem too interested in giving him the information he requires, don’t bank on the decision being favourable.

Without another word they left the room. Darren heard the sound of the key turning in the lock. He ran his fingers through his hair. That hadn’t gone at all well. In fact they couldn’t have gone much worse. Everything now depended on a gangster who apparently routinely went around kidnapping and hurting people being merciful. The odds didn’t look good.

Luke Timberlake stood staring out of his office window. What he could see at this time of night was anyone’s guess. He was quite ordinary to look at, no red tinted glasses that reflected his eyes blood red, no wheelchair, no cat sat on his lap. He was just an ordinary businessman as far as the taxman was concerned. Only his business was far murkier than most other people’s.
He sighed exasperatedly as there was a loud knocking on the door.

The door opened and two of his senior henchmen came in.

“He hasn’t got the money”
“Well he has, just not all of it”
“He’s asking for more time”

Luke smiled, enjoying how they talked over each other, clamouring to get their explanations in before he could even think of blaming them for the slight hitch in the plan. He put his fingers together and considered what he was being told.

Yes it was an inconvenience. But not a major one. He wanted someone to pay for the event that had changed his life forever, caused him to go off the rails, enter the English criminal system at an early age. So what if this person and his wife weren’t directly responsible, someone close to them was. He wanted to send a message to that person. Innocents sometimes got hurt. Collateral damage. He had taught himself patience in prison, patiently planned this out. a little more patience was all that was needed.
“Let him go. He can have his extra time”

Darren breathed a sigh of relief as he was let out into the open air. That was close. He really had believed they were both dead. He had even said a quick prayer. Nothing had really changed though. He might be free, but Laurel wasn’t. Somehow he had to get her released without any more harm coming to her. But how? He was out of ideas.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

End Game Chapters 13-14

Chapter 13 Creative Accounting

Days turned into weeks and still Laurel Hunter was not to be found. If people were confused by her absence, nobody said anything.  Darren continued to go about his normal business, though with a slightly more distracted air. He knew it was too much to hope that no one would notice, but no one said anything.
One evening Rueben Hammond sat in his office, working late yet again. He was going through the books for the business, but they just wouldn’t balance this evening. He rubbed a hand over his sapphire blue eyes in frustration.

A deep frown creased his forehead. He was worried, though he didn’t really know why. All he knew was that Darren, his business partner was acting oddly. He was however far too discreet to say anything. He knew that Darren would come to him, if and when he needed to. He just hoped it wasn’t too late to help him when he did. There were discrepancies in the accounts. Rueben didn’t like this. It appeared someone had been stealing from the company and only one person other than him had access to that particular authorisation code. That was Darren, but how could it be Darren? He was so honest. Deciding he could do no more tonight, Rueben went home to his wife. An early night for once, Danielle would be pleased.

This assumption turned out not to be true however. Danielle Hammond was not pleased to see that her husband had left the office early once in a blue moon. In fact by the end of the evening, she was rather wishing he'd stayed the night there. He was distracted all night, snapping at her unfairly, so that she retired to bed early deeply hurt. He tried to apologise, but she just kept reading her Catherine Cookson novel. Great! She would hold a grudge against him for days now.  He barely got any sleep that night, tossing and turning, much to Danielle’s irritation as he kept her awake too.
"What is wrong with you?" she snapped at breakfast the next day. "You were as twitchy as a fox caught in a trap last night"
Rueben winced at the example she'd chosen to use.

There were a good many things bothering Rueben at the moment, besides the apparent creative accounting. There was that meeting to award the new contract. They had discussed this only a few months before. It had been a tossup between two companies and Rueben thought they’d reached a decision, agreement. Then today Darren had voted the other way. Darren’s vote. as the slightly more senior partner had swung matters. The contract had been awarded the other way. There might well have to be a meeting to dissolve the partnership. Not something he wanted, but needs must sometimes, he reasoned.

Chapter 14 Consequence of Conscience

Darren’s evening as you can imagine was little better. The children were keeping their distance these days, as he was as likely to snap as the average piranha fish. He tried to do some work for the office, but he couldn’t concentrate. The angry red crossings out, signified that. Now he lay on his bed, staring at their wedding photograph in its silver frame. Five weeks since she’d kissed him goodbye and promised not to be late, that they’d do something special.

He had by now realised that the house had been searched, the safe. The bastard hadn't forced the safe. He'd got the combination from somewhere. Had he got to her by then? What had they done to Laurel to make her give that up. His mind was spinning with worst case scenarios. His wife cold on some pathologists slab, Steven telling him she'd been dragged out of the river. Every time these thoughts occurred, his breathing accelerated uncontrollably.

Courtney had made him a doctor’s appointment with Adrian. This he had attended to shut her up, but he’d been less than honest. Nonetheless Adrian had put him on anti-depressants and upped his already large Vallium prescription. 

What wouldn’t he give to have her in his arms now? Safe, happy? Instead here he was with a million unanswered questions. Had she been hurt? What was she thinking? She was secretly blaming him, despising him? Who were they anyway? Why him, why his wife? What should he tell the kids? Would he ever see her again?

His mind spinning with the same unanswerable questions, he fell asleep. Only to be jerked awake again by the sound of his phone, delivering  a text message. He sat up and flipped his phone open.

2morrow, the park, midnight, be alone, bring the money, be under the trees.

His heart sank like a stone and he swallowed, cleared his throat. He felt as though he was choking. He retched, but nothing came up. Deadline day and he wasn't ready. Cold sweat drenched his forehead.

The following day Rueben went into the office, still undecided. There could be an innocent explanation. He hovered outside Darren’s office. He could see him, filling in forms with his silver Parker pen, a 21st birthday present from Laurel. Laurel, now there was something else that was worrying him.  The last time Darren had mentioned her, he’d said they’d had a row. That was 5 weeks ago and Laurel had not been seen, or heard from since. Darren? Surely not. He knew him didn’t he? Rueben went back to his desk and twiddled his fingers, his conscience uneasy. Coming to his decision he picked up the phone and dialled a number.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Chapters 11-12 of End Game

Chapter 11 Meal Ticket

Laurel sat and stared at the blank wall. They’d moved her again, though she had no idea where. She had been placed in someone else’s hands now. No idea whose, but this must be the big boss. The guy who’d planned it all. He’d certainly done his research. It was uncomfortable to think how much work had been put into this. What was it all for?

Her thoughts returned as they regularly did to Darren. How was he? She knew he’d be trying desperately to get her out of this, but how had he ended up in this mess in the first place? What had he to do with men like these? If he was in trouble, why hadn’t he told her? For the first time in their married life, she was doubting her husband. What else hadn’t he told her? She shook her head. This wasn't healthy. She needed him. She needed to be able to trust him.

She let her thoughts wonder back. The Irishman had complained that he was getting sick of talking to her and had suggested she got some sleep. Before she knew what was happening she had felt herself become light-headed. He had obviously drugged her, though why she hadn't been able to tell with what. She had come round with rain pouring on her face. The blood had rushed straight to her head. She realised she was upside down. She struggled to right herself.
"Hey she's awake" someone yelled.
"Knock her out again then" someone snapped.
"Smack her over the head with a baseball bat"
"Nah she dies, there goes our juicy meal ticket"
"Give her the whole cocktail and let's have some fun"
She suddenly felt herself set on the ground. She felt someone feeling for a vein in her arm with a sharp object. She felt herself drifting again, as something new flowed through her veins.

Then someone was undoing the buttons of her red silk blouse. He skilfully unhooked her jet black bra and threw it. She braced herself knowing what was coming. Praying to God that this would end now. Let them kill her. She felt a cold, rough hand brush her breast and then an excited catch of breath. She shuddered, she couldn't stop herself. He took a firmer grip, digging his fingernails in. The cry of pain escaped her lips before she could stop it, stifled by the almost entire roll of tape, blocking her mouth. Some of the men laughed.  She waited for the next move.  Her thoughts drifted, this was just another summer's day. That guy wasn't a violent thug. She wasn't here, she was with Darren. She wanted to vomit, felt the bile rising in her throat. She was starting to choke. The ground vibrated underneath her, as someone fell to the ground next to her.
"You bastard, you broke my nose"
"The boss said he wanted her unharmed"
"He won't fucking notice"
"You wanna bet? Your funeral"

All in a rush she was set on her feet. The tape was ripped hurriedly off her mouth and she vomited. This done her head was pulled back by the hair She felt something cold and sharp against her throat.
“The very next person to make a move towards her I’ll gut him like a fish” a soft Irish voice threatened.

Chapter 12 Top Dog

She followed her thought through to its conclusion. No one had dared come near the Irishman. They knew him to be a deadly marksman both with the knife and the bullet. The only person who could best him at either was reputedly his uncle. He had won trophies for his accurate marksmanship. He, seeing no further opposition had lowered his knife, buttoned up her blouse, feeling the need to do nothing, but stare. Her "saviour", if you could call someone that sadistic that.

She had once again lost herself in dark thoughts, as she hugged herself. She could imagine what Darren would say if the worst came to the worst and she didn't come home. He would be told and he would be horrified, blame himself. He was probably already having nightmares about their treatment of her. His mind would be running riot. Some of his thoughts probably wouldn't be that wide of the mark either.

She had been drugged again, but this time it was more of a relief to escape the memories of the last few hours and she'd been brought here, to this hellhole. Marched in military style, black hood pulled down over her head, eyes down to the ground. She'd stumbled along, going from gravel to smooth stone floor. They'd forced her to sit on a chair and had chained her hands behind her back. She was almost used to this now. Her muscles had at least stopped protesting at being in this position. She had tried to reason out what day it was. Sunday? Monday? Could it possibly be less than two full days since she was shopping and chatting with Marina?

Now she sat across from "The Big Boss" "Top Dog." She had been surprised that she was allowed to see for this interview. But then again he was wearing a balaclava for the occasion. All she could see were grey eyes with the warmth and consistency of steel.

"Do you know why you're here?"
"There are some things, which only your husband can do, that need attending to. We thought this the best way and I'm sorry for that. You may not believe me, but that is of no consequence to me and will make little difference in the long run. We thought he might give his full attention to it, if it was your life threatened, than say Edward or Courtney's..." he broke off with a cold smile of satisfaction, as she convulsed at the mention of the twins.

"You will be glad then that I chose you. That my nephew was able to find you. I had contingency plans in place at the hospital or at the pub. I am nothing but thorough, you see Laurel. May I call you Laurel?"
"Go to hell, you're a fucking psychopath"

One of the "bodyguards" for want of a better word stepped forward fists raised. He looked as though he'd recently had an argument with a brick wall and lost.

"Peace Hans. I asked a fair question. I got a fair answer. Mrs Hunter it is then"

He went on to question her about the ransom demands, but he got none of his answers from her and when Hans and Gustav had no effect, he left her threatening that he would give them free reign next time she refused to answer.  She was left alone.

She looked round her new prison. It was some kind of warehouse, with industrial pallets in the corner, green dripping walls, stone floor, one naked light bulb, dim, bucket as a toilet and rats for company. She was wrapped up in a brand new coat. It was freezing and presumably they didn't want her dying of hyperthermia. After all a dead hostage would get them nothing.

She was still chained to the chair, but sideways now so she dragged it over to the bed, the legs making a horrible screechy scraping noise. She lay down on the bed. Her mind full of images. Edward or Courtney in her place. Courtney experiencing what she had this afternoon. She was supremely glad that they had caught up with her first.

"Oh God Darren please find a way out of this" she begged in her head as the first salty tears escaped from her eyes.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Chapters 9-10 of End Game

Chapter 9 Catch 22
If he gave up the secrets, a lot of people would suffer, lives would be affected, possibly ruined. He knew the sensible thing would be to call the Police, but the wrong move now could prove disastrous in more ways than one. This required thinking about. He picked up his mobile phone from the carpet and scrolled through the names in there, stopping abruptly and tapping tunelessly with his thumb. He suddenly snapped the phone closed and threw it back on the table.  He looked down at the carpet and his vision suddenly blurred. He felt the first tear slide slowly down his cheek. He wiped his hand swiftly, angrily across his eyes. He couldn’t afford to go to pieces like this. He had to be strong. She needed him, like she had never needed him before. Together they would get through this.

The first light of dawn was beginning to creep over the horizon, a huge sigh escaped him. He couldn’t sit here forever, things had to go back to normal, and the children would be back soon. They couldn’t know there was anything wrong, but how to hide it from them. Oh well, he would cross that bridge when he came to it. He looked at his watch and then went upstairs to change into his best, most uncomfortable business suit. He had a meeting with a French businessman this morning. Monsieur  Pierre Noir was a multi-millionaire. He walked with a limp, but refused aids of any kind. No one else he did business with insisted on working on a Sunday. This would be the easy part, getting the money he needed would be stage one of securing the safe return of his wife.

Two figures crossed the road and walked up the driveway, causing gravel to spurt everywhere. The key scraped in the lock and the door creaked slowly open. They walked through the door and nearly walked into Darren. He was absently straightening the jacket of the suit, Laurel had ironed for him yesterday, before going out.
“Morning Dad” the blonde haired blue eyed boy said, smoothing down his gelled spikes.
“Morning Edward, Morning Courtney. Good time last night?” Darren replied, a heartbeat too late.
His son nodded and his daughter grunted, moving slowly past him.
“Chatty this morning” Darren commented.  His voice sounding off, even to him. Would they notice?
“Oh never mind her, she fell out with Declan last night” Edward replied.
Darren groaned. Declan was Courtney’s boyfriend, a spotty youth with a shaven head and who went around saying things like “Yo man and “sic”. He was supposed to be studying for a law degree, but hell had a better chance of freezing over than Declan Dawson did of making a success of things. He was too heavily into the drugs scene. They’d met at the University of Northampton, when Courtney had started her nursing course. 

Darren remembered thinking what a dump the halls of residence were. The size of a shoebox, brown carpets, blank off-white walls, bathroom barely big enough for shower, toilet and sink. Step either way and you could bruise yourself on either one. Laurel had pissed herself laughing when he had. She’d gone to the tiny section of the room, which served as kitchen in the bigger rooms and made him a cup of tea, shaking her head at his request she put brandy or whiskey, or both in it.
Afterwards they had found a pub, the King William IV in Kingsthorpe, the next village. Laurel had bought the drinks and had spent ages at the bar, talking to some guy. He’d grumbled about the speed of service, saying that carrying boxes up four flights of stairs, stairs ringed by florescent yellow rails was no mean fight. She’d hugged him playfully and called him “a grouchy old man.”

Darren knew he was remembering all these irrelevant details, because he was trying to work out when the surveillance, there must have been surveillance had began. Everyone was a suspect, the barman, the milkman, the guy who’d asked him the time in the street the other day. His clients, any one of them could be working for the enemy, taking contracts out because the enemy had said so. His employees spying on him and reporting to the enemy.

Chapter 10 Paranoia

He stopped this thought dead. Courtney, what to do about Courtney?  It was Laurel who was good with dramas such as this, not Darren. Declan had expressed a desire to marry Courtney, she thankfully was resisting the urge to settle down. Laurel had visions of some nice young doctor or brain surgeon  sweeping Courtney off her feet and eloping with her to the Seychelles. Laurel was convinced Declan was just a “phase” Courtney was going through, and would come out of without any interference from them.
“All teenage girls are attracted to what’s bad for them, they grow out of it” she had said.
“You didn’t” he’d replied.
“The difference is my prince Charming grew up, so when I kissed the frog, it wasn’t a problem” she’d bitten him playfully on the nose. “So stop playing the worrywart, overprotective father and let events take their course” in a few years we’ll be saying Declan who?” 
“Don’t worry yourself Dad, Mum will sort it, you know what Court’s like. Dramatic as always.” Edward rolled his eyes. Darren nodded mutely.

He’d been brought back to the present with an abrupt, unpleasant bump. He picked up his briefcase and walked out. Edward stared after his father, a look of concern crossing his face. There was something wrong, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what. He stood irresolute for a minute or two, thinking fast. Then he made for the stairs. He knocked loudly on his sister’s bedroom door.

“I’m fine Dad, Go away. You don’t need to check on me. He’s a pratt. I don’t ever want to set eyes on the loser ever again” Courtney practically screamed.
“Actually it’s Edward. Dad’s at work"
“Oh sorry Ed. Come in. Edward opened the door and went in. His sister was dressed in a nurse’s uniform. Her shift at the hospital was due to start soon. She pinned back her auburn hair in a tight bun on top of her head, wincing slightly as the pins slid in.
“What did you want anyway?” she asked, her mouth full of pins. Edward sat down on the bed and fiddled with the pale lilac duvet.
“Do you think Dad was slightly strange this morning?”
“Not particularly. Dad’s always strange”
“No this was different. He was pale as a ghost, distracted. He put on a good act, but it seemed a little forced. I notice Mum isn’t here either.”
“Well two possibilities. Either they’ve had a row again and she’s stormed out. Wouldn’t be the first time would it?”
“Or you’re imagining things. That wouldn’t be the first time either would it?” Courtney retorted. Edward stuck his tongue out at his sister. “Now if you’ve finished expanding on unfounded theories I’m going to be late for work”

She sighed as her brother didn’t look reassured.
“Listen, if it makes you feel any better, I’ll have a word with Adrian. He saw Dad the other day. Satisfied?”
She waited for her brother to nod and left the room. He stared after her. He really should get ready for work too, he was a bartender in a local pub and was on his last warning. The last thing he needed was to lose his job.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Chapters 7-8 of End Game

Chapter 7 Unforgiving as Metal

Laurel began to stir and tried to move her arm to check the expensive Rolex watch on her wrist. However with the sound of clinking metal, she found herself unable to move, struggling to breathe, her mouth blocked by something, she wanted to spit out, but couldn’t. Then she remembered. The metal securing her wrists was still cold, mean and unforgiving. She had tried to get some sort of leverage, in a vain hope that they would break, but nothing. With a sigh she fell still, feeling the roughly sewn sacks beneath her. Her heart pounded and with a sinking feeling she thought of Darren. Her loving, considerate husband. Was he worried yet? What the hell was going through his mind now?

Tristan breathed a sigh of relief as he saw her move. He'd been worried she'd overheated, perhaps died in the boot of his uncle's snow white Mercedes convertible with personalised number plates. The car had of course been "borrowed" without the owner's consent, many years before, false number plates added and registered to someone who didn't exist, or had died conveniently at the end of a bullet several years before.

He had been relieved therefore to see her chest rising and falling as she breathed. She had however passed out. A dead hostage was no good to anyone and his uncle was an unforgiving man, as unforgiving as a knife blade thrust into your ribs. He had spent a long time plotting revenge from a prison cell. Tristan was pleased to note that nothing seemed impaired. Yet it was unwise to let her die of heat exhaustion.

She felt a stinging as the tape was ripped roughly from her mouth, then someone trying to get a bottle of some sort between her lips and opened her mouth obediently. Water trickled into her mouth and she swallowed gratefully. The bottle was taken away
“Thought you might be thirsty. Hungry too I suppose?” a soft lilting Irish accent spoke from the corner. She nodded. “I’ll fix that in a minute” he promised.
Then before she could stop herself, she spoke the words. The question that she had never meant to ask, the question that had been obsessing her brain.
“Who are you? What do you want with me?” she asked. The slight edge in her voice, betraying the terror she now felt in full force.
“That’s not a question, you should be asking me, I’m just the guy they employ to do their dirty work. Don’t ask no questions and I get paid the agreed fee at the agreed time. Safer that way see. If you don’t know nothing, nothing you say can incriminate you later, see.
"If it's money, my husband will pay" she vowed. Her companion seemed to sigh.
"Not everything is about money you know. That's what people like you need to learn"
"People like me?" she looked confused.
"You and your husband think if you throw money at a problem, then it solves it. You're about to learn a lesson you'll never forget lady" the threat in his voice chilled her to the bone.

He offered her a rather mouldy looking garage bought sandwich, ripping open the packaging for her and feeding her as though she were a baby. She took a bite. It was rather horrible, but she was nearly sick with hunger, so ate greedily. Who knew if and when she'd eat again?

Chapter 8 Held to Ransom

Darren sat on the edge of the bed, hyperventilating slightly. He took several deep breaths, before his fear gave over to a full scale panic attack. He’d tried several times to call her, always with the same result, voicemail. Alarm bells were really starting to ring now. But what could he do? If he reported her missing, the Police would only point out it had been less than 24 hours. He didn't even know when the 24 hours expired. Plus there was still the very slim chance, nothing had happened at all. She might well come in tomorrow, with a breezy “Stayed the night at Marina’s, forgot to call, weren’t worried were you?” He wouldn’t even be angry, if this was the case, just relieved.

He toyed absent-minded with the phone in his hand, thinking. He must have tried at least a dozen times to call her. Always the same result, that unconcerned robotic automated voice, declaring “The person you are trying to reach is unavailable.”
This was new. Did it mean her phone had died by now? Or was she somewhere that was out of range of a mobile mast. No service? In pure frustration he considered throwing his phone at the wall, but just in time, rational thought concluded that this course of action probably wouldn’t help matters. He hugged her pillow, as though by doing this, he could magically transform it into her. No such luck.

He picked up his mobile and went through his contacts. He should call the police. He knew this. But he couldn't. Reporting her missing, would make it official. There would be an investigation. He didn't think he could handle the fact that people would be looking for his wife, poking through his life.  He ran his hand through his spikes yet again.   

The rattle of the letterbox and the soft thud of something falling on the doormat, drew his attention back to Earth. It was way too early for the postman to call. Feeling slightly curious he got off the bed and went downstairs. This was a strange sensation, as the only feeling he’d had for several hours was blind panic. On the doormat lay a large package. He  picked it up and stared down at the spidery unfamiliar handwriting. He retreated slowly to the living room, retrieved a steak knife from the table and clumsily ripped open the package. His hands were shaking so badly that several times during this process, the knife was in danger of slipping and slicing his thumb.

Finally though the package was open. He flung the knife away from him and slowly tipped the package upside down, his heart thudding audibly in his chest. As his sapphire blue eyes moved over the contents, his face became steadily paler. On the floor were both of her rings, wedding and engagement and the silver winged locket he had given her on their wedding day. Also on the floor was a DVD. With some trepidation, he bent down slotted it into the DVD player and switched on the TV. He began to watch. As the first image came up he gasped. He had never in his worst nightmares expected this.

This couldn’t be true, it couldn’t be happening, it just couldn’t. Someone’s idea of a sick joke. He ran a hand through his greying blonde hair.  In a matter of minutes, his life had changed irreversibly. Even if things went back to normal, they would never be the same again, how could they be? He didn’t know what to do, think or feel.  He ran into the kitchen and swiftly vomited, until there was nothing left in his stomach.

He went back into the room. Darren picked up the two rings from the floor and  listlessly turned them over in his hand. He barely registered the stab of horror that went through him. The gold one, set with a band of gold and silver entwined was the engagement ring. He remembered going to choose it, aged just 16. The other was also a gold band, set with rubies, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. Each stone sparkled as it caught the light, each individual colour dancing, was Laurel’s wedding ring. He had not seen it leave her finger since he had placed it there, exactly 33 years ago today.  

The notes of We Will Rock You by Queen ripped abruptly through the air. Darren was off the sofa and across the room, as fast as a bullet shot straight from a gun. He snatched up his ringing phone. It vibrated in his hand as he read the name on the screen. The slight tremor of his hand could be mistaken as a last vibration. He took a deep steadying breath and his finger stabbed down as though on autopilot. Praying his voice would hold steady he cleared his throat and raised the phone to his ear.
“Darren Hunter”

He listened as a cold, chilling voice answered.  He suppressed the shudder that ran through him. By the end of the conversation he could barely speak. He now knew what he had to do. He closed the phone and it fell with a dull thud from his limp fingers, to the thick red and gold patterned carpet.  He sank slowly to his knees. For several minutes he was unable to move. This was so unfair, it was hardly a fair bargain, but blackmail is anything but fair. You may think that it’s an easy choice to make, his wife or some information that seemed so unimportant in comparison.  But the information they had requested was so not unimportant. Darren Hunter was essentially an honest man and he was about to make the most important decision of his life.  He wasn’t convinced he could live with his conscience, whatever he decided. However he had to make a decision and soon. He sank back down onto the black shining leather sofa and buried his head in his hands.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Chapters 5-6 End Game

Chapter 5 Blissful Ignorance

Darren J. Hunter looked at the calendar on the desk in his posh, spacious city office and grinned rather sheepishly. He couldn’t believe he’d forgotten today, the most important day of his life again. After all it was only the 33rd time running he’d forgotten it. As usual his faithful, ever reliable secretary Madeline had saved the day. He had sent her out, as soon as the shopping centre opened. She never minded getting paid for this type of work. Her number one passion was after all shopping. She would get on well with his wife Laurel, if they ever met he thought. Laurel was always complaining she needed a new this or a new that. No doubt Laurel would return from her latest shopping trip, having emptied the joint account.

Madeline had returned triumphantly several hours later, laden with shopping bags. She really had lived up to her surname (Starr.)
“There you go, Mr Hunter sir.
She had thrown his wallet back onto the desk. He had picked it up to put into his jacket pocket. Pausing slightly, he weighed it in his hand. It was considerably lighter than it had been before he’d set out for work that morning.
“Go on a spending spree, did we?” he asked.
“Only the best for you sir. We don’t want your wife to think you forgot your wedding anniversary now do we?” Madeline had trilled, fluttering her eyelashes, somewhat flirtatiously.

Darren had sighed and removed his eyes from where they had been, staring at Madeline’s figure, taking in her short length skirt and nearly non-existent top. No, he was a happily married man.  She was young enough to be his daughter God's sake. He glanced at the framed family photograph on his desk. Taken on a camping trip the summer before.
“Will there be anything else?” his secretary had asked.
“No that will be all thank you Madeline” Darren had replied. She had left the room. Now as the early evening drew in, he sighed and got up from his desk, stretching as he did so. Several of his joints creaked. Old age. Still tonight he would prove that older or not, he was still a stud. There was plenty of lead in the old pencil yet.

Today had been quite a productive day, all things considered. He tidied up his desk, grabbed his jacket, picked up the bags at his feet, pausing only to grab the flowers, standing in a vase of water. He paused on his way out to call goodnight to his business partner, who as usual was working late, that man had no life. Despite having a wife and 6 children. His wife was often heard to complain he was married to his desk. Darren sighed as the man returned his farewell greeting. He made no attempt to reach for his own jacket.

Several of his female employees called goodbyes in honeyed tones, giggling girlishly when he responded. Darren supposed he was still quite handsome in a Richard Gere kind of way. Hugh Grant and Colin Firth hadn't scrubbed up badly either. But Darren saw himself more as a Hugh Laurie type. Unassuming, unwilling to see himself as a hunk.

Once in his dark Blue Porsche with personalised number plates, he forgot about them. Laurel would have laughed at the "schoolgirls" anyway. He pulled spectacularly into his driveway minutes later, gravel spurting under the tyres. He let himself into the house.

It was strangely silent. No kids, that was good. The twins had eagerly agreed to his suggestion that they stay with friends this evening. Of course he was well aware that the £50 each he had given them had helped.  They had told him they didn't particularly relish the thought of walking in on "the oldies getting it on."

His wife was obviously still having coffee with her old friend. That was good. His plan was working out well. He went into the spacious, black, marble work-topped kitchen and hunted for his wife’s favourite glass vase, an inheritance gift from her mother, who had died three years previously."Stubborn old battleaxe" he thought.
He filled the vase, arranged the flowers and put them on the window sill. Madeline had chosen well, lilies and roses were Laurel’s favourites. He walked into the living room and set the table, candle in the middle, ready to be lit when she returned. Now Darren was a good cook and the meal was ready right on time. He laid the steak out on the plates. Now all he needed was the special lady herself and everything would be complete.

Chapter 6 Waiting Game

But 7:00 ticked by, 8:00, still no sign.9:00 ticked closer. He grabbed his mobile phone, from the sideboard and dialled the familiar number. He waited, muttering to himself “Come on, pick up.” The phone rang out several times, before cutting through to voicemail. He left her a message, trying to sound calm and unconcerned, but all the time his brain was in overdrive.

This wasn’t like her. If Laurel specified a time for anything, she was where she said she’d be on the dot. Was she OK? Had something happened? A car accident maybe? Mugged on her way home? Was she lying in some dark car park somewhere? Stabbed, bleeding out? No Adrian was on duty tonight, he would have phoned by now. Was she hurt? Was she having an affair?

No, that at least was ridiculous. They trusted each other implicitly. He took several deep breaths. He was overreacting. Marina often had problems and would go off into long stories, expecting sympathy. Laurel would try desperately to offer the support she needed, frequently rolling her lovely emerald eyes at the strange things her friend had done. She’d been held up by something Marina was saying, feeling it rude to leave, that’s all. She would arrive home soon, full of apologies, that she had ruined his surprise dinner.  With this comforting thought, he stretched out on the sofa and fell asleep.

He woke sometime later and rubbed his eyes. It was dark outside. He fumbled for the button that lighted up the face of his watch. 3:00 in the morning. It was strange, he hadn’t woken up when Laurel came in. She must have crept past him very quietly, not wishing to disturb him. Oh well, now he was awake he could go up to bed. He eased himself off the sofa, his stiff joints creaking slightly. He walked into the hallway and up the black, metal, elaborately decorated spiral staircase to the upper level. He padded quietly down the corridor and slipped quiet as a mouse into the master bedroom. He got into the king-size bed. But here he got a shock. The bed was cold and empty, his outstretched arm touching nothing but empty pillow.

He could feel the panic beginning to take over and no amount of breathing exercises were going to help him now. His counsellor had no idea whatsoever. He needed to do something. His wife had always said he didn't do enough laundry. Well now was as good a time as any. He went to the laundry basket and began sorting out the dirty washing. Suddenly he paused. Surely Laurel had been wearing those clothes earlier. He was observant enough to notice what she was wearing. In his eye line was the very ripped pair of tights, nestled snugly in the bin. They hadn't been there this morning. So by deduction she must have been home, changed and gone out again, but where?

He ran a hand through his hair. He grabbed his mobile and dialled her number yet again. The mocking robotic voice started in his ear, a minute or so later.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Chapters 3-4 of End Game

Chapter 3 Fire and Water

He took her back into the bedroom and proceeded to dress her like she was a doll, in the denim dungarees she had picked out.  He carried her down the stairs, slightly dizzy with all the turns. He cleared away the shopping bags, setting her down just as they left the house.

He had dressed her in her denim jacket, he held the back of it. The gesture was casual, as though he had his arm around her. It would appear to the neighbours that she was leaving with him of her own accord, but from here he could control her like a puppet on a string. Laurel was highly frustrated and scared. Most of the time the neighbours were as nosy as hell. Now when you needed them to be, they were nowhere to be seen. He had taken the keys to the silver Mercedes and he pushed the beep key. The car unlocked. He helped her into the driver's seat and then got into the backseat. She heard the click as the chamber of a gun closed. She looked behind her. He was pointing it right at her back. She had no doubt the silver-plated killing machine was loaded.

"Drive where I tell you? Do you understand?" She nodded in the mirror. "Good. Keep to the speed limit. We don't want you stopped now do we?"

Slowly, reluctantly she let off the handbrake. They drove for about half an hour in complete silence. How did you make small talk with a kidnapper? He'd hardly be interested in the weather now would he? He told her to stop. They were in a stand of trees. They were in a park, more precisely.  She recognised it from walks she'd taken with Darren. Sunday afternoons spent hand in hand.

There was no one else in that part of the park. He roughly shoved her out of the car.  She landed in the grass. She tried to get to her feet, to run, but he rugby-tackled her from behind. He put his knee into her spine, possibly badly bruising it. She grunted, almost screamed. He took a petrol can he'd stowed in the boot.

Laurel watched in horror as he doused the car with the contents of the can. He got a box of matches from his pocket and struck one. It was the half-used box of matches from her own pocket. As he threw the match, the car became a fireball. He waited until it was a twisted blob and then pushed it into the nearby lake. He'd  levered off the personalised number plates. 

Her mind raced. She was next. He was going to push her into the lake, weighted down with bricks, or something else heavy. She would drown slowly, unable to move, until she sank to the bottom, lifeless. Darren would call the police, he would search desperately, unable to have closure, hoping she'd walk through the door  at any moment. Just another missing person on a long list.  Then months later she would be bait on some fisherman's hook, unidentifiable. Just another Jane Doe.  She couldn't think of a worse, more depressing way to die.

He rolled her over and forced her hands behind her back. He handcuffed them there. The click of the cuffs had a certain air of finality to them. He kicked her roughly over. He took a bottle out of his pocket, unscrewed the lid, having no trouble with the child-proof cap, dabbed some on a cloth and held it over her mouth. She tried not to inhale, but finally had no choice. She began to slide out of consciousness.  Her final thought, before blackness took over was "At least Darren's not here to witness this. At least I'm the only one who had to be hurt."

Chapter 4 No one can hear you scream

She had very little memory of what came next. She wasn't completely out, which was a pleasant surprise, but everything was blurred. She couldn't speak and couldn't identify anything. For too long, confused thoughts raced through her head. But the main question that kept returning like an annoyingly persistent fly was why? Her numbed brain screamed it in her ears. If she was terrified she worked hard, not to show it. She was essentially an optimistic person. Her outlook on life was usually “Whatever happens will happen. She tried very hard to stick to that philosophy now, as she felt her world tilt upside down.

Presumably he’d slung her over his shoulder, with as little effort as if he’d been carrying a sack of grain. She counted the seconds in her head, until she was set gently back down, rolling onto her side. Muffled sounds reached her ears and then she felt a jolt, she felt her body roll of its own accord and hit something. They were moving, travelling in a vehicle of some kind, maybe a car. She did the geography. Presumably she was in the boot. Wasn’t that how it worked? The hostage was put in the boot, out of sight out of mind? Somewhere where no one could hear you scream.

Of course in TV shows and films there was always something left conveniently lying around the hostage could use to lever open the boot, or a chance to overpower her captor. But of course she thought bitterly, she had to get kidnapped in real life, where there was nothing, no convenient crowbar, no hastily discarded knife.

She tried to raise her legs to kick out, but she couldn’t move. The space was too narrow and she'd never been good at gymnastics at school. It was stiflingly hot. It was the hottest day of the year so far and she was overheating. Wherever he was taking her, she hoped they got there quickly. She was beginning to panic, if she didn’t calm down, she’d suffocate. She concentrated on her breathing, counting in her head, measuring each breath.

Monday, 28 May 2012

First 2 chapters of my crime novel End Game. All copyrighted to me

End Game
By Laura Simms

Chapter 1 Showtime

Why was he doing this? It wasn’t right, he knew that, but what choice did he have? The 20-something brown haired man stood in the shadows, gazing across the garden fence. Briefly he considered leaving the deed undone. No one would know would they? Of course they would. He needed to get control of himself. This nervous jumpy state would give him away soon, if he wasn’t careful. For the first time in years his conscience was troubling him. He moved backwards, a little further behind the brick wall, cursing as a stone, picked up from God knew where, got lodged under his shoe. He kicked out to dislodge it. It rolled to a stop, yards away.

He checked the tracks in the grass. Nothing showed. He climbed up the wall, grabbing a more sturdy brick as one crumbled. He cursed as bits of terracotta dust landed on the ground. He got purchase on the grey drainpipe. He nearly laughed. They'd felt secure enough to leave a window slightly open. Crime just didn't exist around here did it? That would be his entry point. He grabbed the frame and slid his hand in. He found the catch and opened the window fully. A quick look over his shoulder showed him that no one had observed him. He cursed as he knocked crappy bric-a-brack off the window sill of the master bedroom.

It wouldn't matter. No one was here to hear him. The sophisticated security system began to beep. He went to the DVD cabinet and felt behind one of the shelves. He turned off the security system and waited for the beep as the invisible beams deactivated. 

He quickly picked up the stuff that had fallen off the window sill. He put them back at the exact angle. It was a good thing sometimes that he had OCD. The person he was here to see didn't know they had an appointment yet and she wasn't here to keep it either. He would just have to wait.  He would have to find somewhere to hide. The room was plush and comfortable. There were pillows and cushions on the bed. He ran through and discarded many hiding places.

He lurked in the shadows for half an hour or so. He watched every tick of his watch. When would she be back? Would he have to threaten Darren too? He didn't relish separating them. He ran through contingency plans. He could tie him up. He'd do anything to keep her safe. He'd offer money, jewellery, thinking it was a robbery.  He really didn't want to do this.
Darren might even offer himself in her place and that would never do, the whole point of the exercise would be lost. He must treat them both with kid gloves if they were together, he couldn't afford for either of them to be hurt. Not at this point anyway.

He'd done all the research. He took the silver framed photograph off the desk. A happy family. Darren, with his arms around Laurel's waist and their twins, a boy and a girl behind them. The more he stared the more uncomfortable he felt. He nearly threw the photograph away from him. He laid it facedown.  Out of sight, out of mind, yeah right and he was Steven Hawking.  

He saw the trophies displayed pride of place in the cabinet and fingered them pensively. Approach from behind, don't give the target a chance. Cowardly maybe, but his survival instinct had taken over in full force.  He stiffened as he heard a key scrape in the lock. Someone was back. Time to make sure and if it was her, He moved deeper into the shadows, it was show time!

Chapter 2 Acquaintance

Laurel Hunter opened the front door, having parked her Mercedes in the drive. Her shopping bags were over one arm. Darren would complain jokingly as always, that she'd maxed out his credit card and bankrupted him. Well he wouldn't be complaining tonight when he saw her in the new underwear, she'd bought especially for the occasion. She put her bags down on the black and white chessboard style, tiled hall floor. Her high heels echoed, clicking as she walked.  She knew from the pain in her feet that her heels would have blistered painfully when she took them off. How she hated wearing high heels. The most painful method of torture ever invented.

Her thoughts were elsewhere. Her coffee with Marina had been interesting. They'd met in the usual coffee shop. Marina had had problems of course. She always did. Laurel hadn't known what to do. There never was anything she could do was there? She was looking forward to sitting down and watching TV. She still had the remains of that bottle of Chardonnay in the fridge from last night.  She put her keys down on the telephone table, closed the door, kicked off her silver glittery implements of torture. It was then that she found her coal black tights were laddered. She preferred trousers to a skirt anyway. She sighed, that was yet another pair of tights she would have to replace.

"Darren?" she called. No answer. He must be here. The alarm system was disarmed. She knew it had been activated. She'd set it herself before leaving. Only she, Darren and the kids knew the codes. The kids would still be working their various shifts. Maybe he was in the garden. The BMW wasn't there but that meant nothing. Rueben could have dropped him off, he would pick up the car tomorrow. They often had liquid lunch business meetings Darren had been known to come home from these things a little worse for wear. She would go and get changed. She mounted the black wrought-iron spiral staircase. Her scarlet painted toenails, sticking out of yet another ladder in her tights, as her feet sank into the soft cream carpet. She entered the bedroom with its ornate, gothic-style floor-length mirror.

She took the black slides out of her hair, before she got a headache, putting them on the dressing table and brushing out her back-length greying auburn hair. At least the headache had been avoided.

She opened the wardrobe and selected a set of denim dungarees. There was no one there to see her let her hair down, other than Darren after all. She took off her snow-white blouse and stood there in her pristine white bra and knickers, having taken off her skirt and stripped off her ruined tights, balling them up and getting them into the bin in one shot.

Now was the moment. He walked up behind her and slid a black-gloved hand slowly, gently, almost tenderly over her mouth. She stiffened instantly and stood rigid. He lifted her easily off her feet. He laid her on her back on the bed. He could feel her heartbeat accelerate. He smiled listening to her fear. She started to struggle. He pressed down. He liked the feeling of power over her. The smell of her perfume was erotic to him. He leaned in and sniffed at her neck. Her eyes widened as she stared at his masked face. She sensed the danger and froze. He had a job to do and this wasn't part of the brief. With an extreme effort of will, he pulled himself together and refocused on the job in hand.
"You're not going to scream, if I take my hand away are you?" he asked almost conversationally.
She shook her head, swallowing down her scream. She could barely breathe as it was. He took his hand away. She kept her word. What choice did she have? She took several quick, sharp gasps of air, presumably in case he changed his mind.
"Take what you want, whatever you want. Just please don't hurt me" she begged. He laughed hollowly.
"Do as you’re told. Behave and I won't need to hurt you" he said. She froze. "What time is your husband due home?"
"I don't know. Depends if he has meetings" she replied, as steadily as she could manage, the slight quaver evident in her voice.
"Hmm. I could use Plan B, wait for hubby to come home. What do you think he would do if I asked him nicely and used you as a shield? Would he be a good boy?" he mused.
She shuddered. She knew exactly what Darren would do. She could picture the scene now, in graphic detail. He would give this madman exactly what he wanted, in order to keep her safe. He would lay down his life for her. But could she face living without him, if it came down to it? She waited with bated breath as her captor came to a decision.
"Plan B is far too dramatic, Plan A is slightly more understated, the less obvious the better" he announced.
She found herself suddenly airborne as he picked her up in his arms.  He carried her to the study, set her down in the leather swing chair and proceeded to thoroughly search the room. He opened the laptop, which sat closed on the desk. He put in a memory stick and turned on the computer, pressing keys and a few minutes later, files started downloading.
"What are you looking for?" Laurel asked. Her tone was still shaky.
"Where does your husband keep his personal papers?" he asked.
"The safe" she looked automatically at the Picasso on the study wall.  He felt along the wall, found the hinge and pulled.
"Put the combination in" he said sharply.  
"Why should I?" she demanded. He walked up behind her, grabbed her wrist and twisted it behind her back. She winced and bit back a scream. Her emerald eyes began to water.
"OK OK" he set her on her feet and she wiped her eyes impatiently with the back of her hand, set the dial. It clicked and opened. He rifled through the sheets of paper and groaned in frustration. He lifted her back up.

Sunday, 27 May 2012


End Game

  • Author Name: Laura Simms
  • Status: Completed but requires final editing
  • Listed: May 26, 2012 5:30 pm
  • Expires: 364 days, 3 hours
End Game


What would you do, given an impossible choice


DS Steven Potter is a hard-working policeman. He has solved many cases, but this will be his most difficult and personal yet. His best friend’s wife has gone missing and it is left to Steven to return her safely. Many questions present. Is this a thing from the past. Will Steven’s friendship with his best friend survive?

No Agents Documents
26 total views, 6 toda

Taken for a Mug

  • Author Name: Laura Simms
  • Status: Completed but requires final editing
  • Similar Books: End Game
  • Listed: May 27, 2012 8:18 am
  • Expires: 364 days, 10 hours
Taken for a Mug


Some things never go away, no matter how much time passes


DS Steven Potter is on restricted duty after the events of last summer. His relationship with Darren is strained. Somehow he must pick up the pieces of his life and learn to carry on.

Book Blurb

The adventures and case load of DS Steven Potter continue in this sequel to End Game.

No Agents Documents
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Horses for Courses

  • Author Name: Laura Simms
  • Status: Completed but requires final editing
  • Similar Books: End Game, Taken for a Mug
  • Listed: May 27, 2012 8:21 am
  • Expires: 364 days, 10 hours
Horses for Courses


The horse bolts. You can run but you can't hide...


DS Steven Potter’s case load just keeps getting heavier and heavier. Add to that he has now entered parenthood. See how this plucky cop takes on new challenges.

Book Blurb

Life is about to change irreversibly.

No Agents Documents
27 total views, 27 today

Millionaire Playpen

  • Author Name: Laura Simms
  • Status: Completed but requires final editing
  • Similar Books: End Game, Taken for a Mug, Horses for Courses
  • Listed: May 27, 2012 8:24 am
  • Expires: 364 days, 10 hours
Millionaire Playpen


Money is no guarantee


DS Steven Potter enters his 4th documented case. The teenage heir to millions suddenly goes missing and Steven must also deal with Darren’s apparent determination to self-destruct. Will he finally deal with Tristan Timberlake?

No Agents Documents
19 total views, 19 today

My 4 as yet unfinished master pieces. I have posted them to a website that finds literary agents, submitted End Game to 2 more publishers Snowbooks and Legend Press and set up a forum for budding authors on invisionfree. I haven't been trying hard to promote them have I? Have I done enough?