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Black Sunsets Teaser

Prologue


A light gleamed from his daughter’s window, one determined glimmer of warmth from a house that otherwise stood in darkness. Leanne was awake and awaiting his return, so that they could talk. Robert stared at the window helplessly. He’d find her sprawled across her bed, a slight figure, almost swallowed by the pile of cushions she reclined on. No doubt she was immersed in one of those novels she’d taken to, the sort where demons lurked at every corner. He saw her in his mind’s eye, her mouth stubbornly set as she listened for his homecoming. There would be no more dodging this conversation, never mind that dinner had run so much later than expected and that it was nearing three o’ clock in the morning. He could claim exhaustion. Excuses formed in his mind as he unlocked the door. “The Buckleys are important clients. This job wasn’t just about what happened in the courtroom.” But the words sounded false, even to him, and he felt ashamed. Leanne deserved better than evasion.

The door opened easily. The dread Robert had hidden from all evening tightened its grip on his insides as he stepped into the hall. The corridor was utterly still. She could have fallen asleep. That would be a convenient reprieve, but he knew better than to count on such escapes. Leanne had inherited her father’s brand of Rottweiler determination. She would stay up all night, if she had to. He faced the stairs, feeling unaccountably old. “This is too much,” he wanted to protest. “I wasn’t meant to be doing this alone.” Miranda would have known how to handle this. She would have understood instinctively, where Robert slipped and floundered. All of his professional eloquence stripped away when it came to connecting with his teenage daughter. That didn’t matter. Miranda was gone, stolen away by cancer. There was no one left but him, and the seventeen -year-old girl whose grip on reality was fraying.

“Dad, do you believe in monsters?” His heartbeat quickened. The steps creaked plaintively beneath his feet. At first he had treated the matter as a joke; “Of course I do, sweetheart. I represent them every day.” She hadn’t laughed. Those eyes, her mother’s eyes, had regarded him with pained solemnity. “There is a monster coming after me,” she had confided. Not a human monster, one of the teachers behaving inappropriately, or even an obsessive classmate. He would have known how to deal with that. The monster troubling his beautiful, whimsical daughter was a vampire. He might have laughed at the absurdity, if she hadn’t looked so certain, so utterly convinced by her words. Instead he’d felt an icy fear, clawing its way into his gut. There is something wrong with her, he’d thought, caught in the grip of sudden dread. And I have no idea what to do about it.

Jason, his colleague, thought Robert was overreacting. “Everyone that age is obsessed with being stalked by Dracula. It’s the latest trend!” Perhaps the man was right. Robert was no expert on teenage behaviour. All he knew was that Leanne had changed, becoming withdrawn and distant. Robert was losing her as he had lost her mother, to a monster which he couldn’t see, and he was powerless to fight. (“You have to believe me! We’re in so much danger.”)

Her door was ajar and a wedge of yellow light spilled out into the corridor. “Leanne?” He called out softly. “Are you still up?” No answer. Robert moved closer, cautiously now, in case she was asleep. The door opened at his touch, brightening the hallway around him with the pool of electric warmth. He stepped inside. The room was bathed in light, as if she’d sought to banish sleep by surrounding herself with an artificial blaze. He wasn’t entirely sober and the contrast made his eyes water, so that it took him a moment to make out her outline on the bed. She lay sprawled across the mound of cushions, her dark hair splayed around her face in vivid contrast to her ivory skin.

Robert was about to turn off the light when paternal instinct made him look again. His daughter was reclined as if she had been propped up reading, and the book had fallen from her hand. It was a strange position to sleep in. That was his first thought. Then he noticed the extent of her stillness. Something cold took residence inside him then, and he stumbled forwards, almost tripping over a pile of folders in his haste to reach her side. It was four excruciating steps till he was crouched beside her. His breath came hard, as if from physical exertion, and his heart lurched wildly. His daughter hadn’t moved. She hadn’t drawn a single breath. “No!” he pleaded, his voice breaking on the word, as if spoken denial could change the scene in front of him. He reached for her wrist, desperate for proof that he was wrong. Her skin was cold beneath his touch.

Robert gathered her into his arms, horrified by the slackness of her limbs. He buried his face in her hair and shuddered with grief. She smelled of vanilla. Then he saw, and the breath was wrenched from his lungs. There were marks on her neck, red wounds, dark against the pallor of her throat. His stomach lurched. He felt as if he might collapse. The room tilted, blackness looming from the corners of his vision. It took all his self-control not to lose the contents of his stomach. He couldn’t look away from those jagged scabs, or stop her voice from echoing through his head. “Do you believe in monsters?”

Robert closed his eyes in a desperate attempt to still the shifting world, but he couldn’t stop the thoughts. Leanne had been convinced vampires were real, that one of them was going to kill her. She’d tried to tell him, but he hadn’t listened. Robert had ignored her and now she was dead. What if she’d been right? That wasn’t possible, the voice of reason insisted - was it? For the first time since she’d mentioned the monsters, he wasn’t sure. All Robert Crane knew was that his daughter was dead. He wept silently over her body, as all of the sanity drained out of his world.




Chapter One


Cass stared at the phone that hung limply in her hand. Sheets of rain battered her slight form, plastering blonde hair against her face, but she paid the weather no notice. She was already soaked, so what did a further deluge matter? Water streamed from her hair and dripped in beads across the surface of her mobile. She should put the phone away, before the device was ruined, and she had to find the means of buying a replacement. She should get herself out of the rain while she was at it. Her break was almost over and Robert would be waiting to fuss over her drenched condition. He couldn’t understand that sometimes the soul demanded reckless actions. He would find her current behaviour worrying.

Cass found him inside the shop repairing the binding of a book. Sixteenth century, she guessed from the volume’s cover. He was hunched over the desk, so engrossed by his task that he didn’t acknowledge her at first. When he did look up his eyes were shrewd as he took in her submerged state, and the careful blankness of her expression. “Is everything all right, Cassandra?” Robert asked her, in the smooth tone that always surprised her by making her want to confide in him. No doubt that voice had served him well in his days as a barrister. In an antique book shop owner the effect was disconcerting, but Cass had never exactly been comfortable sharing her feelings. Her lack of responsiveness was one of the reasons Ethan had just listed to justify their breakup. Apparently, he hadn’t wanted a girlfriend who kept such an emotional distance. Robert’s scrutiny made Cass uncomfortable. She looked away, and noticed belatedly the pool of water which had formed beneath her feet. “All is good,” she told him, as convincingly as she could manage. “I’m just going to change.”

Her T-shirt clung to her skin and it was a relief to be out of the submerged clothing. Cass lingered in the bathroom, taking a moment to wring out her hair. The face in the mirror was pale, her blue eyes wide with hurt. She schooled her features and returned to the shop floor. Cass had always loved books. The shop, with its rows of shelves, each one stacked to the top with old editions and forgotten texts was her haven.

It was a slow day; the rain had driven away all but the most determined customers. There was plenty of time to replay the phone call in her head and picture all the ways in which she’d screwed things up. Cass was relieved when Robert ushered her out - they always closed the shop early on Thursdays. “Got anything planned for the evening?” he asked her as they left the building. The rain had slowed to a drizzle but the wind had a cold bite to it. Cass shook her head. Her shoulder length hair was blown into her face as she pulled up the sides of her coat.

“Just the usual. I have an essay that needs finishing.”

Robert nodded absentmindedly. His eyes drifted away from her to the street around them where night had begun to fall. Cass was surprised by the grim set of his mouth.

“Can I walk you to the station?” he asked, abruptly. Cass stared at him, and he must have noticed her puzzlement, because he forced a smile. “It gets dark so early this time of year,” he offered, by way of explanation. “Sometimes I worry.”

***

Cass was outside her front door when her fingers reached into her trouser pocket and came out empty. Of course they did. Her keys would be exactly where she’d left them, tucked safely away in the pocket of her other trousers, which she’d left inside the store. It took a moment for her to accept that the pocket was empty.

She’d already been dumped. Now the universe conspired to lock her out of her home? Tears prickled at the corners of her eyes. Cass had held them back during that awful phone call; now they couldn’t be contained. All she wanted was a hot bath, followed by an early night. Instead she would have to go back into the wet and retrace her steps to the shop. At least Cass had those keys to hand. There wasn’t much point in putting the trip off. The rain worsened with every passing minute. With this in mind, Cass left the limited shelter of her doorway and stepped back into the night.

***

There was someone in the shop. That was her first thought on seeing the light shine through the windows. Had Robert returned after hours? That would be strange, but not impossible. Her employer lived for his work. It would be embarrassing to run into him this way, but Cass was too miserable to care. She had almost reached the door when another thought stopped her in her tracks. What if it wasn’t her boss inside the shop? Her skin prickled at the possibility. Were they being robbed? It would take a desperate thief to target an antique book store but perhaps they thought the shop stocked jewellery. The last thing she wanted was to interrupt a burglary, but what were her alternatives? Involving the police was out of the question. There might not be a crime taking place at all. Cass hesitated, her muscles tensed in case she had to run. In the end, it was the weather that made her decision. In the forty minutes she’d taken to get back to work the rain had become a downpour and it showed no sign of letting up. The cold had already taken root in her bones, much longer and Cass would be adding hypothermia to her list of problems. So, with every sense alert to a possible threat, she made her way towards the door.

It was unlocked. Cass held her breath and entered. The front of the shop was empty. If an intruder lurked inside, he did so further in. Cass crept forwards. Her breathing was uneven and her pulse fluttered in her throat. A man’s coat was draped on the rack. The garment was long and black. It didn’t belong to Robert. Her breath caught as she realised what this meant. Her instincts had been right. Something was wrong. A noise froze her in place. Dread coiled inside her stomach and she waited, hardly daring to breathe. Had she been heard? The silence was expectant – they were listening for her, Cass realised. She should run. She would have done so but her legs were weak with fear. Terror held her paralysed. A hand touched her arm. She let out a panicked sob. They were behind her.

Fingers tightened until she was trapped in place. For a moment she was too frightened to struggle. Then she began to thrash, but the angle was against her. None of her flailing limbs connected and his hold was surprisingly strong. “None of that,” a cool voice chastised as the grip on her arm tightened painfully. Cass choked on a whimper, and fell still. The bruising pressure lessened, and she sobbed with relief. She was rigid and trembling. Tears welled in her eyes and her vision blurred. Her breathing was quick and erratic. Then she was turned around, gently but with irresistible force. She cowered, flinching from a blow that didn’t come. Her captor regarded her thoughtfully.

He wasn’t much taller than her, but his body was taut with muscle. His features were sharply pronounced, the sort of face that belonged on a politician or a banker. His eyes were dark and intelligent and there was a suggestion of humour in the quirk of his mouth. He has an expressive mouth, she thought distractedly. Not to mention that his suit looked expensive. This man was not the thug she’d been expecting. When he spoke again, his voice was smooth and undeniably cultured. “I believe I have captured a thief,” he murmured and then, more to himself than to her, “how unexpected.”

Cass opened her mouth and then closed it. Hot indignation filled her, momentarily overwhelming the fear. “I’m not a thief!” she protested. “You’re the one who broke in. I work here.”

“Indeed?” There was humour in his voice but he hadn’t released her. Cass regarded him warily, her arm still aching from his earlier grip. His eyes were very dark. They fixed on her, unnervingly, making it difficult to think.

“Mr Crane made no mention of you,” he continued thoughtfully. “But let’s say, for the moment, I accept your story. What would bring an employee to work so long after opening hours?”

Cass’s face heated involuntarily. She forced herself to look him in the eye. “I forgot my keys,” she snapped. There was a moment of silence. Then the man burst into startled laughter. He freed her and she stumbled backwards, not taking her eyes off him.

“Then I must apologise,” he told her in a gentler tone. “It wasn’t my intention to interfere with Mr Crane’s business. The shop is usually closed at this time and the presence of a stranger seemed suspicious.”

Cass stared. Her heart rate had begun to steady. The fear that had frozen her moments before was dripping away. In its place rose anger, a burning flare that stiffened her resolve. She had been terrified. What gave this man the right to act in such a way? The sensible thing would have been to walk away, but outrage made her bold.

“Really?” she challenged. “Then perhaps you wouldn’t mind explaining what you’re doing here, in the middle of the night, at a time when the shop would usually be closed!” She thought an expression of anger crossed his features but it was gone so quickly that she couldn’t be sure. When he nodded the gesture was courteous and his eyes revealed nothing of his thoughts.

“I am a man with a particular interest in old books and very little time in which to pursue such a hobby. Your employer has been generous enough to accommodate my unusual schedule, in return for certain compensations. My name is Julian Barrow. Might I ask for yours?”

Cass hesitated. She wanted to tell him to go to hell, but if he was telling the truth about being a customer that could have negative consequences. “My name is Cass,” she told him stiffly, “and I should go.” She had only taken one step when the sound of her name stopped her. Reluctantly she turned.

“You’re angry,” he observed. “And you have every right to be. My behaviour was unconscionable. Will you allow me to atone? My car is right outside and my business here is finished for the evening. Let me drive you to your destination. This isn’t the sort of weather to be walking far.” His voice was smooth, as if she were a frightened animal that he wished to soothe. Cass blamed her exhaustion for the fact that his approach was working.

“I think I’d rather not,” she told him abruptly, “since you are a total stranger who just attacked me.”

His smile was coldly sardonic. “A stranger who has had you in his power,” he observed. “If I meant you harm I wouldn’t need to lure you anywhere. Trust in that if it makes you feel more comfortable.” Cass frowned. That had to be the most bizarre attempt to win someone’s trust she had ever encountered. It was also strangely compelling. The wind lashed against the window of the shop. Now that her adrenaline had drained away she was becoming uncomfortably aware of her waterlogged state. A lift would be wonderful; it would cut at least fifteen minutes off her commute time, but caution gave her pause.

“Alright,” she said at last. “I’ll take you up on your offer, but only as far as the nearest station. I can make my way from there easily enough.” And that way you don’t get to know where I live, she thought but didn’t say. The implication was clear enough and Julian’s smile took on an ironic edge.

“Then your ride awaits.” Cass doubted her decision even as she went to fetch her keys. Julian was a stranger, and clearly capable of violence. Was it wise to put herself further in his power? No one knew where she was. Robert had walked her to the station himself. If she disappeared tonight no one would connect her to this late night client. Cass closed her eyes, struggling to collect her thoughts. She knew Robert’s number. It would be easy enough to call him up and confirm the man’s story. That would be the sensible course, but Cass hesitated. She knew what would happen if she made that call. Robert would insist on driving out here himself. He went overboard when it came to her safety and she didn’t want to trouble him, not when it was her idiocy that had caused the problem. So she compromised, reaching for a piece of paper and scribbling a hurried note: “Had to fetch keys. Julian Barrow offered me a lift to the station.” Cass taped the message to her locker and instantly felt better. Now she had insurance.

Julian waited at the front of the shop. He had put on the voluminous coat and the edges of the garment gave him a striking outline. He turned as she approached and Cass was struck by the assurance of the motion. Clearly this was a man accustomed to getting his way, someone wealthy enough to pay to access a shop out of hours. The recognition of this fact made her uncomfortably aware of her bedraggled appearance. “Ready to go?” he asked her, dark eyes tracking her response. She nodded and he held the door open with a flourish. It seemed that when he wasn’t brutally attacking shop assistants the man could be quite charming.

Julian’s car was black and obviously expensive. Cass had never driven but she could admire the sleek edges of the vehicle. Its surface gleamed in the streetlights and the inside was meticulous. It gave Cass a certain satisfaction to drip water on his upholstery. It would be payback for the bruises she’d be sporting in the morning. Julian drove with precise motions, his face cast in shadows. Neither of them spoke. He drew up outside the station. “Are you sure I can’t persuade you to change your mind?” Julian asked. “I am truly sorry for the manner of our meeting.” Cass hesitated but shook her head.

“I feel more comfortable making my way from here, but thank you.” She offered him a weak smile. “I do appreciate the lift.” Cass was halfway out the vehicle when he spoke again, his voice velvety and compelling.

“Come back next week?” he asked her. “I’ll be here until nine. Let me buy you a drink. It’s the least I can do for behaving so poorly.”

Had he just asked her out? Cass didn’t bother to conceal her surprise. She’d caught him watching her, but assumed it had more to do with curiosity than attraction. Bewilderment left her tongue tied, but his expression never changed.

“Give it some thought,” he suggested easily. “I hope you decide to give me a chance.” Then he drew away and Cass was left alone in the rain.

***

Cass stood in the entrance of a restaurant. She scanned the faces of the diners, searching for Ethan’s lanky outline. A hint of frustration soured her mood. They were supposed to meet here, so why couldn’t she find him? A thought crossed her mind, a reason for his absence, but it floated out of reach before she had a chance to grasp it. Then she saw him and her heart leapt. Ethan was seated at a nearby table, with his head bent over the menu so that his features were obscured. Cass’s smile turned mischievous. She made her gait deliberately provocative as she crossed the room to join him. “Hello stranger,” Cass purred as she lowered herself into the seat across from him.

“Good evening Cassandra,” a velvety voice greeted. Cass froze. Her throat felt suddenly dry and her hands trembled. Ethan didn’t usually speak with such smooth assurance, but she knew who did. Confident fingers folded back the menu as dark assessing eyes fixed on her. She sat, mesmerised, as Julian Barrow regarded her with visible amusement.

“I’m glad you decided to come,” he told her in the cultured voice Cass remembered from the shop. She still couldn’t place his accent.

“I,” she began, and stopped, unsure how to explain the situation. “That is…” he reached for her hand and Cass fell silent. His skin was cool against her own. The pupils of his eyes were huge; she couldn’t look away from them. Her breathing was unsteady but she didn’t pull back. There was something terribly compelling about his attention. He drew her arm towards him, fingers grazing the surface of her wrist. She shivered slightly at the contact. His grip was soft but she remembered the strength those elegant hands could summon - he was powerful enough to crush her if he wished it. That knowledge made her tremble. Cass sensed his intention even as he brought his lips towards her wrist, but she didn’t pull away. The kiss was soft. Her pulse raced beneath his touch, and she let out a helpless moan. He grazed her with his teeth, dark eyes watching her reaction hungrily. She barely knew the man. Cass wasn’t sure she liked him, but she couldn’t deny his power over her. When his mouth withdrew she shook helplessly. Without his support she would have fallen, but he held her up attentively. When she looked into his face it was inscrutable.

“Thank you for the meal,” Julian whispered into her ear, his finger tracing the outline of her throat, sending shivers of sensation in its path. “It was delectable.”



Chapter Two


Cass stared at her bruised arm. The impressions left by Julian’s fingers stood out dark against her pale skin. When she brushed the marks they ached. Fortunately, it was winter and a long sleeved top wouldn’t attract attention. Last night she’d been prepared to hate Julian Barrow. He had made Cass feel powerless, holding her against her will with contemptuous ease. Then he’d spoken in her ear, in that purr of a voice whilst she shook visibly with terror. It had been clear that he’d enjoyed her helplessness. There was no way that a man of his strength would view a lone female as a threat, even if she had been an intruder. Julian hadn’t called the police. Instead, he’d elected to have some fun and that revealed something of his character, a darkness that should have sent her into flight. Instead she’d dreamt of taking him up on his offer, as if her past had taught her nothing. That was the worst indignity. She traced the scar that ran from her hip to half way up her side, a visible reminder of the pain inflicted by a different man who had liked to feel power at the expense of others.

Cass was no fool. She’d spent years of her life in the shadow of an abusive lover and since then had found herself drawn, time and again to men who shared that template. Julian Barrow was simply a more sophisticated version of the same, a brute with a better grip of culture than the others. Still, it took some time before she felt her pulse settle and even then her throat tingled at the phantom touch. There was no denying the man’s presence. Cass had spent perhaps twenty minutes in his company, ten of which had been in paralysing fear and still she felt intrigued by him. Worse than that, she was tempted to take him up on his offer, and that was the problem. It wasn’t the men who might hurt her, but the fact that she was inexplicably drawn to them, her heart fluttering as eagerly as the wings of a moth in its need to embrace ruin.

***

The morning was cold, but it was thankfully dry. Cass had experienced enough of rain to last for the foreseeable future. The shop was cosy in the daylight. The corners that had loomed with ominous shadows the night before now held piles of books. The familiarity comforted her. It banished the remnants of last night’s fear. She sang out a greeting to Robert, going about her duties with cheerfulness that was only half forced. His answering smile was drawn. There was a newspaper spread out across his desk, which he hadn’t looked away from. “Did something happen?” she asked, gesturing at the page that had captured his attention. He looked up, his expression tight.

“A woman was murdered last night,” he told her grimly. “Not far from here. Her body was discovered in the early morning.”

“That’s awful.” Cass slotted the next book onto the shelf and tried not to think about her own night-time exertions, which could have resulted in a similar fate, if her instincts about Julian had been proven wrong. “I guess that sort of thing is quite common in cities,” Cass observed thoughtfully. Then she became aware of Robert’s incredulous stare, and bit down on her tongue. It wasn’t that she meant to come across as morbid, but sometimes the words slipped out unbidden. She was saved from an awkward apology by the ringing of a phone.

He drew out his mobile, “Robert Crane speaking.” A moment passed, and his expression tightened. “I’m aware of that,” he told the caller in a brittle tone. “Just give me a moment,” and he retreated into the back of the store, closing the door firmly behind him. Cass stared after him in perplexity. It was unlike Robert to behave so secretively, not to mention that there had been enough distaste in his voice to make Robert’s contempt for the caller unmistakable. That was unusual in itself. Her employer was unfailingly mild. Cass was pulled from her thoughts by the appearance of a customer. Mrs Parsons was in her early seventies. She was a pleasant woman, who was slightly vague at times and always wore the same faded hat.

“I have a book on order,” Mrs Parsons explained carefully, “a copy of The Historian.” The title rang a bell; Cass thought she’d seen it earlier.

“Sure,” she told the older woman. “I’ll fetch that for you now.” Cass headed towards the back of the store where new orders were kept. Robert’s voice stopped her in her tracks, low but furious. She strained to make out the words.

“Don’t talk to me about patience!” he snarled into the receiver. “I know the objectives. I also know that we have an obligation to prevent this sort of tragedy from repeating.” Cass could hear him pacing back and forth. Instinct kept her still. The caller must have spoken then, because Robert fell silent, but shortly afterwards he all but erupted. “Does what happened last night not bother you at all?” he demanded hotly. There was another pause, and then, “Sometimes I wonder if you’re as inhuman as they are.” The conversation was ending. Cass located the book and retreated from the room just in time. A moment later Robert stalked out of the door, not sparing her a glance. Cass’s mind spun with the things she’d overheard. She recalled him mentioning a tragedy they should have prevented, and a caller whose behaviour seemed ‘inhuman’. It was a strange conversation for the owner of a bookshop to be having. Whatever the subject, there could be no doubt about its emotional impact. Robert’s voice had cracked audibly when he spoke of the ‘tragedy.’ Cass wrapped Mrs Parson’s purchase, whilst her thoughts circled, intrigued by the half heard fragments.

The remainder of the day passed uneventfully. Cass was shutting down the till when Robert approached her, looking particularly grim. He held a piece of paper, the note from last night, which she’d forgotten to remove and his expression was stiff. “You were at the shop last night?” he demanded of her.

    Cass frowned. “I forgot my keys. Is that a problem?” His expression was strained.

  “Not of itself. You met Julian.” It wasn’t a question. “I would prefer if you stayed clear of the store on Thursday nights.” he finished abruptly. Cass opened her mouth to object but fell quiet at the warning in his eyes. “Julian Barrow is paying a lot for his privacy. I don’t want him to be disturbed. Am I understood?”

Black Sunsets

NEW AUTHOR NAME Black Sunsets eBook 1563x2500.jpg

I am happy to announce that my latest novel Black Sunsets is now available on Amazon. The blurb is as follows:

Cass is drawn to unhealthy relationships. All she wants is a chance to start over, but that is threatened when she discovers a stranger in her workplace. Julian Barrow doesn’t bear much outward resemblance to the abusive lover from her past but appearances can be misleading. He is far more dangerous.

When a series of murders shakes her neighbourhood, Cass is forced to acknowledge the truth; Julian Barrow isn’t human. Caught in the sights of an unapologetic killer, Cass must come to terms with her growing fascination for the vampire, and the threat he represents.

And the book can be purchased here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Sunsets-Lisa-Stout-ebook/dp/B01L5TXJ7U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473104083&sr=8-1&keywords=black+sunsets

Special thanks to everyone who helped me reach this point!

Beguiling Shadows Release

I am pleased to announce that my poetry collection Beguiling Shadows has been released. The compilation begins with a gathering of lords and ladies waiting for the arrival of a renowned but sinister minstrel. What follows is a series of outlandish tales of supernatural temptation, in which sirens call out to unwary sailors, pale courtiers stalk through shadowed ballrooms, and unearthly horsemen take to the night, to the sound of hell hounds baying.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B018Y22SEQ?keywords=beguiling%20shadows&qid=1454346146&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Beguiling Shadows

I am excited to announce that Beguiling Shadows now has a cover. As always the credit goes to the remarkable people at Deranged Doctor Design, who turn ideas into magic. The collection will be made available on Amazon at some point this month, and I will be releasing a few teasers in the meantime...

Legacy

So the time has come to provide a link to the new issue of Under The Fable, but be warned, beyond this point lurks a story of obsession, as characters are lured to compete in a sinister game, each determined to solve the puzzle and claim the creator’s illusive legacy.

http://issuu.com/underthefable/docs/final_copy_-/59?e=17481284/31672631

Under The Fable

Greetings Readers,

I have an exciting new update - one of my short stories will be featuring in the November edition of Under The Fable. The issue will be released on the 30th November and I will post a link once the piece becomes available. 

Updates

Hi Everyone,

I am pleased to announce that my poetry collection Beguiling Shadows has reached the final stages of editing and will be out in the next few months. I will be releasing the cover art in December.

My other current project, Black Sunsets, is also progressing well, and should become available in 2016.

To celebrate I will be releasing a few of the poems as a taster, starting with a touch of fire!


Instrument of Flame

I hear the voice of angels
In the snap of flames.
Seeking meaning
At the heart of conflagration.
To strike a match
And watch it flare and fade,
Knowing by my hands
Is this furious life extinguished.

Sinking each night
Into smouldering dreams
All the while yearning
To offer up screams.
In the meantime
I relish the scent
Of kerosene.

But soon I will feel
That simmering call,
Of hunger
Ancient and unquenchable.
And on that day,
Become an instrument of flame.

Then I’ll conjure my god
With a lantern throw.
Bathing myself in his crimson glow
And watch with rapture
Fire claim them all.

Slave to the Lamp

The day has arrived that I can show off my shiny new Liars League recording, so here goes! I don't know about you but I think that Susan makes a magnificent genie!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oufqRXkQBF0

Liars League: Servant and Master

Good news all! My story 'Slave to the Bottle' will be read out in 2 weeks time by the fantastic people at Liars League. I am looking forward to attending the performance and will attach the Youtube link as soon as it has been made available! 

Liars League Recording

Greetings all!

This has been a very exciting week as my short story entry 'Fairest of Them All' was performed in London by the talented Greg Page as a part of a Liars League event. The recording is now available for anyone who is interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W94S9GQGIE

This was a delightful evening and I highly recommend the group (Liars League) to anyone with an interest in writing short stories! Hopefully I will win further competitions in the future so that I obtain more nifty video clips of my work to share with you!