Fly: Hello Spike. Why are you ztaring at me that way?
Spike: You just made it seem as if I’ve been having sex with a fly. And you called yourself 6 foot 5!
Fly: What? No!
Spike: Yes! May I please clarify to the readers that we are talking about Elsa and Joe, my owners, and protagonists of the story, Not My Type. And also that I am not 300 pounds. Rather slim and in shape instead.
Fly: Damn! All that voyeurizm haz zeriouzly miztuned my brain. Zorry, Spike. But you truly are adorable, ezpecially with your batlike earz.
Spike: Right. Look, it’s my fault. I was the one who actually introduced them to each other.
Fly: How was that?
Spike: It was at the beach. Joe and I were strolling along when I saw Elsa bend over the water. She wasn’t thinking straight. As it turns out, her excessive weight had gotten the best of her mind. So I ran to her to rescue. What I didn’t know, unfortunately, is that my hunky master has a thing for curvy women. Hmpf.
Fly: Take heart, ol’ boy. You’re French. Love was inevitable. What’z their ztory been like?
Spike: Well, Elsa was going about her cooking skills, set to publish her cookbook and generally despondent coz of her weight. She’s been in disbelief as to her lucky stars ever since they got together. She never expected to land up with a hotshot like Joe head over heels for her. And it all goes well - a bit too well, I’m afraid - until she discovers she has Type 2 Diabetes. And then things get complicated.
Fly: I zenze relief in your voice.
Spike: Well, you haven’t had to watch them go at it as much as me. Ever spent days, weeks and months exposed to incessant porn without break? It’s horrific.
Fly: It’z the flavour of the decade, no? Mozt ztoriez, mozt books are purpozefully zexualized. It zellz.
Spike: That you'd have to ask the author, Emma. She's the one who wrote the thing, after all.
Fly: Emma Caruso it iz! Welcome, dear. We’re on a touch-y topic here.
Emma: Thanks Spike! I can see that Fly. And to answer your question... yes, but nothing is good in extremes. Do people buy books to satisfy a sexual craving or to read a good story? What we have today is effectively a new version of the porn industry in effect - A literary one that makes it legal in all countries.
Fly: In that caze, are we to draw a parallel between bookz and moviez? Juzt the way Porn or B-grade moviez are clearly diztinguizhed from other mainstream onez.
Emma: I think these types of books appeal to a more cerebral audience than those who watch porn but in the end, it all comes down to the libido.
Fly: Zo how much or what kind of zexual narration would you guyz conzider appropriate?
Spike: I think it depends on the person reading it. Who's to say what is too much sex in a book? Not me. I'm just a dog.
Emma: I have to agree with Spike... it depends on the person and what the sex in the book is meant to do. Does it illustrate a relationship or is it the sole focus of the book? Those are important elements.
Fly: I zee two izzuez here. Firzt, A-lizt moviez, regardlezz the zex content, are zeen az more upscale or acceptable, and thuz, have a higher brand, thankz alzo to the production company and the actorz involved. The otherz are looked at differently and also zell in different channelz. What would the zcenario be like for bookz?
Emma: There are two ways it could go with books, too. Some books could be labeled "mommy porn" and relegated to a shelf in the back, whereas others are elevated to movie-worthy status. But what makes one different from the other? Why is one singled out for high ranking and the other isn't, particularly if both have the same topic?
Fly: Fair enough. The zecond izzue - how would new or zmaller authorz feel incentivized to write a good ztory not focuzzed on selling itself through zex alone? Many are motivated by the earning potential of the book, after all.
Emma: I think authors have to try to get away from the almighty dollar. If a book needs to be a sex book, then so be it. But authors beware... you might not have an instant best seller just because you threw in some whips and blindfolds and kinkiness. The book needs to have substance in order to be noteworthy.
Fly: Give uz an example or two of authorz who have gotten it right, both through the individual dezcription of zex and itz integration in the ztory.
Emma: Well, Diana Gabaldon, for one. She is the author of the popular Outlander series and her books do have some pretty steamy sex scenes in them. The difference? Her books are not *about* sex. They're about Scottish Highlanders and the Jacobite uprising... they're sustanstiative, in other words. The sex is just a by product of the relationship between the two main characters and it is used in a context that only strengthens the reader's understanding of the ties that bind them. Sex is not the main attraction (forgive the pun).
Fly: Well, you have left out yourzelf. The plot of “Not My Type” thrazhez the obzezzion with thinnezz in women. Elsa iz fat and having a wonderful time with a hot dude. You zhould be proud.
Emma: Well, thanks! But I firmly believe that hot dudes like curvy women and hot dudes like skinny women... a hot dude (most all dudes, really) who like women has his own opinion of what makes a woman hot. Joe likes Elsa the way she is and many women, Elsa included, have a hard time accepting that because they are taught from a young age that, no matter what their body type, it's not good enough. Even when Elsa loses weight because of her diabetes, she still has a hard time believing Joe will continue to find her attractive. It's tragic. Fat girls, skinny girls, and all girls in between can find love.
Fly: Mozt of your protagoniztz are women. Do I zee an inclination towardz an exprezzion of female power?
Emma: I have daughters... I want them to understand being a woman comes from a place of power, rather than weakness. Men and women are equal, neither is better than the other. That's what makes them so fantastic: they complement each other.
Fly: Finally! Zomeone who zaid it right. Yez, neither is better than the other. Unfortunately, few understand what that meanz. Coming to you, what doez Emma do when zhe’z not writing?
Emma: I enjoy spending time with my family and various pets-though not a French bull dog yet; I may have to get one now and name him Spike - and I like spinning yarn. I am a voracious reader, too.
Spike: Awww. She likes me, she really likes me!
Fly: Of course zhe doez. It'z obviouz all over the book! Emma, you zaid once that az an author, you zpend a lot of time ztaring into zpace, get inzpired at ztrange and wonderful timez, people watch and go through zleeplezz nightz . . .
Emma: Inevitably so, I’m afraid. Don’t you too?
Fly: Me? No. Why do you think I have zomeone else (there you go, Mr. Upadhyay) write my ztory!
Emma: True that, home Fly.
Fly: Well, it’z been an inspiring converzation. Much to ponder over, and much to read through. Readers, you can read all about Spike's amorous turmoil here.
Fly: Before we go Emma, do offer uz a zneak peek into one of your ztoriez, before we go. And pleaze alzo tell uz what the next book iz about and when doez it come out?
Emma: My next story is about Charlotte, a young widow, who buys a bed and breakfast in the same coastal town that Joe and Elsa live in. It's not a sequel, but some familiar faces do show up in the next book, called No Easy Way Inn. Charlotte bites off more than she can chew with her new venture but her handsome neighbor-also the B&B's long time caretaker-might just be the salvation she didn't know she was looking for. Here's a peek:
Charlotte slept uneasily that night in one of the empty beds upstairs. She had her sleeping bag with her, so she unrolled it on a bare mattress and called it good. A quick trip to the store after Jared Cameron left gave her the opportunity to have dinner in peace. Alone.
She sipped on a fairly good bottle of White Zinfandel while nibbling on cheese, crackers, and fruit. She purposefully pushed all thoughts of the caretaker from her mind and focused firmly on thoughts of future plans for the Inn. She made mental lists of things that needed to be done and ticked off each item one by one as the answers and order of operations came to her. Unfortunately, a great many of those things would require her to seek out Jared Cameron for help, such as hiring staff, discussing the state of the roof, and walking the grounds again to see if any brush needed clearing or maintained.
She brushed her teeth in the upstairs bathroom and clicked off the lamp as she slipped into her sleeping bag. The exciting events of the day caught up with her, and possibly some residual head trauma, and she slipped seamlessly into dreamland.
She dreamed, too, lucidly and vividly. In the incohesive manner of dreams, she found herself suddenly alert and in the middle of an argument with a man, one she knew but didn't know. Her sleeping mind helpfully filled in his features: stormy eyes, russet stubble, broad shoulders, narrow waist... the shadows of her dreamworld painted hollows beneath his cheekbones and his perfectly formed lips shaped themselves into a charming and mischievous smile. Her own lips smiled in return as she slept.
She felt his strong, warm fingers slide up the smooth flesh of her calves. Dream-Charlotte smirked at dream-Jared. "I thought they were too skinny."
"They are perfection," dream-Jared whispered, his brogue even more pronounced with desire. Charlotte felt her skin dimple with goosebumps, both at his touch and at his words. His fingers traveled ever upward, skimming across her thighs before his index fingers tugged her panties down over her hipbones. She moaned in response; it had been so long since she had been touched this way, and her body craved it like a junkie craves their drug.
Fly: No Eazy Way Inn. Love it. Thankz zo much, Emma! And you Spike. Az for the readerz, hope you enjoyed that bit and can wait until the releaze. For now, you guyz can get back to you-know-what.
Happy doing it,
Fly: Hello, Mr. Ronald.
RR: Richard workz fine. Hello to you too!
Fly: Thank you, Richard. You zit here on the back of two bookz of mazterclazz - The Elephant Tree & The Zombie Room - together enjoying cloze to 19,000 ratingz on Goodreads alone. Ever zaw thiz coming?
RR: Hearing back from the readers is undoubtedly the most satisfying aspect of writing. They are the jury as to your success, after all. But writing to me began more as an outlet - a way to keep my mind occupied while I was in jail and a cathartic way of organising my thoughts. The idea behind my first book, The Elephant Tree, was just to dare to be different. To write the sort of book I wanted to read and to contribute something meaningful to our bookshelves rather than follow the more popular success formula followed by so many bestsellers.
Fly: I underztand that it takez enough from your time in prizon, but doez that necezzarily mean a lot of wrongz on dizplay, ezpecially through the characterz?
RR: Life is never clear cut, and the line between good and bad, right and wrong is often blurred, especially in times of crisis. That is what Elephant Tree is about. It is set in the world of petty career criminals and routine drug-taking, but despite such a sordid background the impression I get back from readers is that it is a good story told very well. The characters for the most part aren’t either inherently good or overwhelmingly bad, although, like the rest of us, they have their moments on both sides of the moral equation.
Take Putty and Twinkle, for example. I’ve known similar people to them in the dark and distant past, and as much as they appear to be, and often are, very shallow and selfish characters, there’s a softer, more caring side, that they work very hard to keep hidden from everyone. A lot of the bravado is just posturing to protect what they could lose, and I guess in their world, kindness can be mistaken as a sign of weakness, and therefore cannot be permitted.
Fly: Iz there one you identify with?
RR: Jeff, perhaps. He’s someone who has been dealt a bad hand, and for the most part just wants to be left alone to do his own thing, but when people who he cares about are in trouble he’s right there willing to sacrifice everything to help them.
That said, many of my experiences are closer to Scott’s. I’ve made mistakes over the years, and at times even broken the law. After all, a lot of the work on the book was undertaken in jail. But I think Scott’s character for the most part has a what-if element. A road that I could have ended up travelling, but thanks to perhaps more to good luck rather than good judgement, didn’t come to be.
Fly: Lucky indeed. If that hadn’t been zo, I wouldn’t have the privilege of thiz moment! Men in prizon iz rather imaginable az characterz in a ztory. Zo doez the book linger more towardz one zex than the other?
RR: Not exactly. For instance, Angela is a culmination of a number of strong female personalities I have known over the years. Initially when writing The Elephant Tree, she was very much a secondary character, but as I went back rewriting each draft, her voice seemed to get stronger, until she ended up demanding equal billing and her own perspective in the tale. She wove the narrative together a lot tighter.
Fly: Alright, let’z move over to you. How did thingz turn out the way they did?
RR: I have spent time in various jobs throughout a career in business. The time in prison came after I turned to an alternative to pay the medical bills for Renee, my wife. She became ill shortly after we were married, the treatment she needed was expensive. An opportunity came up for me to run a cannabis farm - the extra cash would make the difference to Renee's care, so I accepted. Renee was optimistic about her treatment, but sadly she didn't make it. Not long afterwards, I was arrested and sent to prison.
Fly: May zhe be at peace wherever zhe reztz now. How did the jail term come to inzpire you to write?
RR: Being locked up 23 hours a day focuses the mind. I'd always loved reading and in the back of my mind thought maybe I would write a book one day, and you hear some crazy stories while in jail. Prison life, for the most part, was pretty much what you'd expect. I was there, could do nothing to change the situation, so I quickly befriended the librarian and was prescribed an ongoing, daily course of literary anesthesia. For a while this helped no end. One book faded into the next and the days sped by. I found myself exhausting the library's collection of most of my favourite authors, delving into whichever available new realms and rereading past classics. That is until, for many of my favourite authors at the time, the magic began to fade.
Fly: How zo?
RR: Well, with such an intensive reading schedule and limited availability to branch out, I began to find that many books, especially from more prolific authors felt very familiar. Sure the character names were different, the locations and situations they found themselves in weren't exactly the same, but I couldn't deny the formulaic feel of the cut-and-paste construction.
Fly: How did that tranzlate to you writing? Waz it alwayz an interezt?
RR: I had never written anything more than a shopping list since leaving school. But with the magic of library books fading, and with nobody to vent these frustrations at other than whomever I happened to be sharing a cell with at the time, I began to open a dialogue. The revelations that I came across were honest and forthright to a degree that I had never encountered in my beloved books. So I found myself begin to jot down thoughts and ideas. My ideas took root and plot lines began to grow from the pile of notepads I continued to fill.
Fly: What revelationz did theze ideaz pertain to?
RR: They were a representation of souls whom I found myself getting to know, with tales as varied and despicable, heartwarming and tragic as those that had gone before. I do not say that the people I began to get to know were all good guys (once you got to know them), not at all. Many were despicable individuals that casually told tales that could make your blood run cold, but even they weren't without their own shred of humanity.
One particular sociopath I spent a week locked in a cell with, would switch from bloodcurdling reminiscence to the disposition of a placated child when Loose Women was on television. Others were more regular guys, the type you might have a brief conversation with at a supermarket, or a bookstore. Further investigation often led to discovering of outlandish circumstance, the type we read of in crime novels that led them to react and end up serving out long sentences.
Fly: And your writing career waz effectively juzt waiting for you to begin! Did any zpecific work influence you on thiz relatively novel path?
RR: I would say, Rupert Thomson. Also, Chuck Palahniuk, Irvine Welsh, Vicki Hendricks, Haruki Murakami, Earnest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, Martin Amis among others. They’re who first spring to mind.
Fly: Any particular one you’d advize for our readerz?
RR: Rupert Thomson’s books. I saw in a review years ago, his work described as ‘like watching fireworks go off on the page’. For me that sums him up really well. Rupert could write Pizzeria menus and make them fascinating, luckily he doesn’t do that but crafts fantastic works of fiction, albeit too few of them, that I personally love going back to reread again and again. The first book I discovered by him is The Five Gates of Hell. I’d highly recommend that.
Fly: And we zhall make zure to get that right after we’re through with The Elephant Tree. And The Zombie Room. Are you working on your next novel now?
RR: I’m currently putting the finishing touches to my next novel A Darkness So Unkind. A psychological thriller that builds into an unconventional murder mystery.
Fly: And are you able to zhare any of that with uz today?
RR: Sure. Enjoy the read.
Fly: We always do, ezpecially the exclusive ones! Thank you, Richard.
An Excerpt from the Upcoming Novel
Ferret talks most of the way there. Maybe he thinks by chattering away I’m less likely to stress about what’s to come. He’s probably right. He usually is. He keeps checking back over his shoulder to make sure I’m still here. He talks of the fun we had together today. He talks of the good times we’ve shared in the past. He talks of all the exciting things we will get up to when we get back home. I feel numb as I trot along after him. I don’t know if I’m trying to pay attention or if I’m just trying to look like I’m paying attention. I don’t want to piss him off now and make things worse. Not that they could get much worse. My feet feel heavy but I do my best to keep up. My thoughts are going swirly and it’s hard to stay focused. “Head full of broken biscuits” that’s what Ferret said about me one time. Maybe he was right.
We get to the banyan tree and see Tack puffing on a cigarette while he waits. My nerves feel as sharp as broken glass. The moonlight throws shadows of the branches of the tree that look like cracks opened up in the cliff. I wonder if I walk on one if I would fall through.
‘Nice night for it,’ Tack says and blinks up at the moon. It is the first time by the banyan tree that I’ve heard no sound from the gulls. It feels like a piece of the picture is missing.
‘Let’s get this over with,’ Ferret says and rubs his hands together. ‘Ralph, you know what you have to do.’
He’s right. I know what I have to do. Not for Ferret but for myself. I have to show that I can be strong, not for him but in-spite of him. I see now that is the only way I can be free.
I lead the way through the bushes and approach the cliff wall that spans the gorge. There’s a sound of clapping behind me - maybe encouraging but probably sarcastic. Either way I won’t let it stop me. A wave crashes like a cymbal in the cove below. The sound mixes with the applause and becomes one. Like static electricity crackling in my ears.
‘You were right, kurwa, this is going to be fun.’
I turn back and see Luke standing beside Ferret and Tack. Tack looks surprised to see him, but Ferret doesn’t. He must have told him to come.
‘What the fuck is he doing here?’ I yell at Ferret.
‘What difference does it make?’ Ferret snaps. ‘Either you make it or you don’t, we’re just here to cheer you on.’
I know now that everything Anna said about Ferret was right. He must have been planning this all along, and hanging out this afternoon was just his way of making sure I didn’t back out. I think that deep down I’d suspected as much at the time, but in the heat of the moment right now, maybe for the first time, it occurs to me that I hate him. He’s grinning at me, they all are. I know Ferret doesn’t expect me to do it. I’m sure he told Luke to come because it would make me more nervous and so I’d chicken out. I can feel what confidence I had being washed away like rocks in the cove below. My nerves are piano-string tight from fury and fear as I look down and see what looks like my crumpled body lying across the rocks. A wave breaks over my corpse then recedes, trailing behind inquisitive fingers of foam. I blink quickly and shake my head. There are only rocks in the cove but black dots spin and fizz in front of my eyes and the sound like static still buzzes in my ears. I turn and look back at my macabre line-up of spectators.
‘You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, Ralph,’ Tack says. Ferret laughs and Luke laughs and I know I can’t back out. I can’t rely on people like Anna and Kasey to help me out anymore. I have to do it to prove I can stand up to Ferret and the others.
‘Come on, kurwa, it’s time to play.’
I take a deep breath of the cold, salty perfume of the sea and step up to the ledge. I’m ready to begin crossing.
‘A promise is a promise, irrespective.’
I spin around. I couldn’t tell whose voice it was or what direction it had come from, but all three are staring at me. I look around to see if anyone could have crept up on us, but there is no sign of anybody else there. I turn back and put my foot on the first step. Gulls have begun silently circling the cove like vultures.
‘A house that should never have been built is still a house, is it not?’
I’m sure it was Maybell’s voice, but that’s crazy, why the hell would she be here? It must be the waves doing funny things to my head, like Anna said they did. I look back again. Ferret and Luke are cheering. Tack has turned away and is lighting a cigarette. I face the wall, take a deep breath and make my first step.
I shuffle a few inches and readjust my handhold - scrabble a little further and made a grab for a tree root sticking out of the cliff. From the corner of my eye I think I see Maybell on the other side, standing perfectly still in her blue dress and sunhat. I’m trying my hardest to focus on what I’m doing but I’m breathing too fast and my head is spinning. My foot slips and I drop, scraping my chin against the slate before the root I’m clinging to prevents my fall. At least one fingernail has snapped and the tip of my finger is ragged and bloody. I struggle back upright and blink the salt sting of sweat and spray out of my eyes and I snatch a look toward the other side but there’s no-one there. I grit my teeth and try to concentrate everything inwards. I take another big lungful and hold it deep, hold myself together.
‘Come on, Ralph,’ Ferret shouts. ‘Don’t let us down.’
A forlorn cry sounds from a circling gull.
‘Don’t let yourself down either, kurwa,’ Luke says.
‘Yeah,’ Ferret adds, ‘or the gulls will be picking pieces of you out of the cove for weeks.’
‘You don’t have to do this Ralph,’ Tack says but I’m sure he’s mocking me. He’s in on this with the rest of them. He must be.
I slide my foot along the lip, find two new handholds and edge out further.
Fly: Hello, Ian.
Ian: Hello Fly. We’re finally here.
Fly: Indeed, and thank you. Congratulationz on your book. It haz met with zome rave reviewz. An expected rezult?
Ian: Not at all… I think it’s a good story, but I’ve been astonished by the response from readers… I feel truly blessed.
Fly: The zuccezz it haz had iz alzo a rezult of great publicity - zomething that authorz are normally mozt uncertain about. In your caze, it iz your forte. Zo how haz the publizhing and promotional experience been for you perzonally? Any one you have been more comfortable with?
Ian: I’ve spent my career in sales, marketing and promotional activity in one form or another which has helped. You have to accept that a book may take 12-18 months to reach it’s full potential… after all no-one knows me as a writer and readers tend to stick with who they know.
Fly: Were you alwayz interezted in criminal pzychology?
Ian: Certainly. This story stems from a keen interest in psychology and crime, where the experiences of both perpetrator and victim can be analysed through their emotional and psychological turmoil with often terrifying results.
Fly: And how did it come about?
Ian: I spent two years as a volunteer at a Wirral hospital in the psychiatric unit and a further five years as a volunteer at a homeless shelter. I encountered many forms of mental illness, some of which could clearly lead to violence if left unchecked.
I became interested in what triggers would be necessary to turn a sufferer of somewhat mild or common psychological imbalances into a person that might commit despicable acts. I asked myself who might be to blame when a person who might be a borderline sociopath escalates their behaviour to act out their psychotic fantasies.
Fly: And the effect iz there to zee. The ztory beginz with the unbreakable bond of childhood zweetheartz, Tony and Emma, and how they have only ever had eyez for each other. Then, you cruelly ruin it with the zudden appearance of Joe Reed. Iz that a mazter attempt at zhowcazing Joe’z charm?
Ian: Joe Reed is first of all, a serial rapist and later murderer. But yes, he is also charming and charismatic and the book opens to describe his crimes against the women he has seduced. How he swayed them is for everyone to see, and that sets the tone. But as the novel continues, all is not what it seems and Reed takes the reader through a series of twists and turns, analysing his psychopathy with terrifying results… some readers may even end up sympathising with Joe!
Fly: Zo doez the ztory revolve around him alone?
Ian: There’s also Jenny Foster, a novice criminal profiler. She is married with a daughter and her ambition has driven her on to secure her dream role as a criminal profiler attached to the Manchester Metropolitan Police. She is soon out of her depth as the investigation becomes more complicated and she is faced with real-life situations. At the same time, her personal life spirals out of control with catastrophic results putting her entire team in danger.
Fly: Interezting. Iz your next book, Dead Preciouz, on zimilar linez of pzychotic tragedy and underztanding? When doez it releaze?
Ian: Dead Precious is only a working title to help me focus on the storyline. The book is written and currently suffering the editorial process. The story centres around a series of murders on Merseyside and the reader is faced with choices as to who to trust… it’s a very different book to Dead Charming, but hopefully as thrilling!
Fly: On a lighter note, iz there a particular reazon you chooze namez with fatal inclinationz?
Ian: Yes, it’s difficult to get a book noticed in a somewhat crowded market and I like titles that grab a potential reader from the start!
Fly: Well, to think of it, your book haz a great lezzon for children - like never to let ztrangerz inzide the houze. We’ll have to change the title for it to appeal to them though.
Ian: Yes, the title is where the problem is. Brilliant, Fly! I can see how intently you have looked at the book, given that there is a picture of a woman in lingerie with hands bound.
Fly: Hey, zcantily clad femalez are no big deal. We fliez are naked all the time!
Fly: Okay, I get your point. They are one ignored lot in the literary world - the kidz. Anyway, moving on. What do you do when you are not writing?
Ian: I am a local magazine and sports programme publisher and I run a small advertising business. I have been in advertising and publishing since 1989. I also organise events and awards. I have written many articles for consumer magazines such as Concept for Living and Style Guide for The Daily Mail and I am an accomplished feature writer. If I get any spare time I dust off my golf clubs and hack up turf on other people’s courses!
Fly: That’z great! And now you have nominationz for The Peoplez Book Prize, The Crime Writerz’ Azzociation Daggerz and Rubery Book Award. Big year for you!
Ian: Thanks. Actually, 2015 has a lot going on even on the personal front. My daughter, Anna is due back from Australia in May. My son, Tom, has gained a Masters Degree in Psycholinguistics and is currently studying to work in the NHS with stroke victims. He will hopefully take up his chosen profession as a Speech and Language Therapist at UCL. And then of course, in June, I get married to my fiancée, Susie.
Fly: I’m zure the awardz will add to the celebrationz! Before we go, pleaze do give uz a zneak peek for either of your bookz.
Ian: With pleasure. It’s from the new book, Dead Precious.
Fly: That iz zome very excluzive ztuff, Ian! How fazcinating. We look forward to the read, and many more to come! To the readerz, thiz iz your lucky day! Follow Ian @crimenovel, and enjoy the excerpt below.
An Excerpt from Dead Precious
Jimmy O’Dwyer didn’t believe in love anymore - let alone the heart-stopping, can’t breathe without you type of love - so the thunderbolt that hit him the first time he saw Sarah was wholly unexpected. He tried to rationalise these new, alien feelings, but his heart trumped his brain and he found himself confused and increasingly vulnerable - something Jimmy wasn’t used to.
Jimmy and Sarah met on a dating site, sugadates.com with Jimmy subscribing as a first time on-line dater with a firm plan to make a casual acquaintance. He set his sights on meeting a slim blonde, not attractive enough to overshadow him and someone who wouldn’t challenge him intellectually - someone who might even laugh at his jokes. The last thing Jimmy wanted was pressure and he definitely didn’t want to be tied down.
The first time he saw Sarah’s profile picture he skipped over it, instantly deciding that she was out of his league. She was a stunning blonde with actress good looks and a body to match – too attractive to fit in with his idea of the ideal casual partner and besides, his slowly growing paunch told him that he needed to fish a little lower in the river.
One of his mates with more experience in the on-line dating arena warned him that such websites often send auto-messages to male users, purporting to be from gorgeous women, so that the punter gets reeled in to buy the most expensive non-refundable subscription. Consequently, when Sarah contacted him out of the blue he was naturally dismissive - in fact he ignored her message.
Then she contacted him again. She said she was fairly local and looking for a casual relationship and Jimmy, despite his misgivings typed a reply. He was deliberately flippant and offhand; cocky even, but Sarah seemed to enjoy the banter and eventually they talked on the phone.
He loved her accent straight away, a mixture of soft Scottish with a twist of Liverpool Scouse and they arranged to meet in town. Somewhere public, she said, just in case she was as bad a judge of character as she was a cook.
Sarah was even more gorgeous in real life than her profile pictures on sugadates.com suggested. She arrived in impossibly high-heeled black patent shoes that made her legs look ten yards long. Her simple crop-top and black shorts hugged her slim figure perfectly. As she moved through the bar, she walked with a lithe, almost bored gait and every head, both male and female turned to watch her go.
She reached Jimmy and her inviting mouth smiled, as did her twinkling brown eyes. She hugged him and kissed his cheek, the perfume she wore overwhelmed his senses. Her touch was light, almost angelic and he felt his entire being begin to quiver as they sat down together. With her blonde hair cascading over her slender shoulders Jimmy’s breath seemed to catch in his throat and he was instantly hooked.
They talked for hours, Sarah keeping eye-contact, growing shy at the appropriate places and laughing almost every time Jimmy offered one of his dry quips. They talked about their families, their loves and hates and with every moment that passed Jimmy felt more at ease, his suspicions fading as his face erupted into laughter time and again.
When the bar closed Jimmy called a taxi. In the still, quiet of the warm evening he could hear the beat of his own heart as they stood waiting outside. Sarah took his hand and smiled, telling him that the evening had been far more than she’d hoped for and when the car came she leant in for a kiss. Their lips met for the first time, sending an electric shock through Jimmy that shot straight to his manhood. The kiss lingered, Sarah opening her mouth enough to show enthusiasm, but not enough to invite Jimmy’s waiting tongue.
As he watched the taxi’s tail lights disappear at the top of the road he was both disappointed and strangely elated that she hadn’t asked that the evening continue - she was perfect.
He couldn’t have known that in a few short days he would be staring at the wreckage that was once her face with his own life hanging by a thread.
Bookz featuring me:
An Enlightened Fly
The Fly That Followed Me
Kalki Evian - The Ring of Khaoriphea
Malay A. Upadhyay
Gilbert Literary Agency