Monday, 11 July 2011

Because He needs Me

Because He needs Me/ Lynn Granville

A new book from a new young company

Leap of Faith publishes Because He needs me by Lynn Granville.
A story of love and faith in the man she loves.

Oh, God, she hoped he wouldn’t come over! Janni had recognized the one man she hadn’t wanted to see at this wedding. It was ages since she’d been in the same room with Nick Hamilton, and she really hadn’t given the idea that he might be here a thought, though she should have done. It couldn’t matter, of course. Whatever there had been between her and Nick had been over years ago – when he married. Not that it had ever been very much even then!
Janni had been through several love affairs since then, the latest of which had recently ended in tears and recriminations. What was wrong with her for goodness sake? Why couldn’t she find someone who really cared, someone who would give her a home and family, and love – most importantly love?
Nick was glancing her way again, obviously deciding whether or not he ought to come over and say hello. Where was his wife? Janni hadn’t noticed her – and you couldn’t miss a woman like that! Sarah was gorgeous, so it was no wonder that Nick had fallen for her hook line and sinker.
Janni glanced across the hotel’s crowded reception room at the bride and groom; she felt a pang of envy despite her satisfaction at Alice’s obvious happiness. Sheer delight seemed to shine out of her friend’s eyes, testifying to her state of mind. Janni didn’t grudge that happiness one little bit, but couldn’t help wishing that her own life was a little more settled.
Alice and Peter were the perfect pair, and Janni had introduced them nine months ago. Her own lovelife had been blossoming then, but for the past few weeks she had been nursing a bruised ego. Fortunately, it seemed that her heart was pretty resilient, which it would need to be after the way Mark had treated her recently.
Perhaps it was a combination of seeing Nick unexpectedly, and her friend’s shining happiness that made Janni feel so dejected all of a sudden. Damn Mark! He really wasn’t worth getting upset over. One day he’d been eagerly talking about buying a house together, almost the next he was announcing that he was off to America on a three-year research project.
“So what happens to us?” Janni had asked, feeling bewildered by Mark’s sudden about turn.
“It was never going to be more than a temporary arrangement,” he’d said, taking her breath away. “Nothing is forever, Janni. Besides, this is a chance I can’t miss.”
He hadn’t asked her to keep in touch, or whether she would consider giving up her job at the local hospital to go with him. She had sensed his excitement and known he wanted to be free – and that had hurt!
The sharp pain had gone now, but she was still feeling bruised. So much so that when she saw the undeniably attractive man walking towards her, she immediately hoisted her shield into place. Why had he of all people had to be here? And why must he bother to come over and say hello?
She’d had a thing for Doctor Nick Hamilton once, when they were both working at a London teaching hospital, but he’d hardly noticed her. He had fallen in love with and married a very beautiful woman, and they’d lost touch when he moved. Until now, Janni hadn’t seen him for years, but he was a friend of Peter’s, and had been invited for the wedding. It was natural, of course, and she would have realized it if she had thought about it earlier.
“They look happy don’t they?” Nick said glancing at the bride and groom. “Peter and Alice. “
Janni took a deep breath. There was no escaping it! She smiled and nodded. “Yes, I was just thinking the same thing.”
“Peter had been through a rough time before he met Alice – but you know that, of course. You introduced them, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I can claim the credit for that, but they did all the rest themselves.”
He seemed amused at her quip, and hesitated for a second or two. “I know this isn’t the right time to talk shop, but Alice tells me you are thinking of changing your job – going for something new. I wondered if you might consider working for us at the surgery as a practice nurse?”
Janni was startled. He had taken her completely by surprise and she gave no thought to her answer before replying negatively. “I am flattered that you asked,” she said. “But I am happy where I am – and I’ve never considered anything but hospital work.”
“The nurses I need never have,” Nick replied and grinned. “If they had, they probably wouldn’t be what I was looking for. Don’t make that a final no, Janni. Think about it please. If you are truly happy where you are then that’s all there is to it – but if there’s even a chance you might consider coming to us, if only for a few months, I should like to hear from you.” He took a card from his pocket and handed it to her. “I think you would be pleasantly surprised if you paid us a visit. We have all the latest equipment at the surgery. Peter has made sure of that, believe me.”
Janni's heart did a quick tango but she suppressed her foolishness.
Peter and Nick were partners in the country practice as well as friends, and Alice had burned Janni’s ears with stories of how beautiful the village was – and the surrounding countryside.
Alice had been a Theatre Sister before her marriage, but she planned on having a family almost at once. “Before my biological clock runs out,” she’d told Janni laughingly. “I’ve done my stint for the NHS – and I can always go back part time when the children are at school.”
“Yes, I imagine he would,” Janni replied with a wry look. “Alice told me Peter has to have everything just so.”
“We’re in agreement as far as that goes – which is why we both want you, Janni. Why don’t you think about it? Alice is your best friend, isn’t she? It would mean you were able to see her more often, and I understand you are having difficulties at the moment.”
“I see Alice has been telling tales out of school.” Janni frowned.
“She just told me things hadn’t gone well for you, and that you were thinking of making a change. Nothing personal,” Nick assured her. He glanced at his watch and frowned. “Anyway, it was nice speaking to you again, Janni. I must have a word with Alice and Peter before they leave. Give me a call if you are interested, won’t you?” He handed her his card.
“Yes, if I’m interested,” Janni replied, tucking his card into her pocket as he walked away. Her foolish heart was still misbehaving itself. Nick was as attractive as ever, she thought, dressed in a stylish, collarless dark blue suit that showed only a flash of white at the neck and looked as if it might be Armani. It was the kind of suit that was good on young, athletic men and she recalled that he had been keen on sport when she’d known him before. His hair was dark blond and a little longer than she normally liked on a man – but why was she letting herself think about him at all? He was married and she had no intention of getting involved again for a long, long time. Especially with a married man!
She waited until he had moved away from the bride and groom before going over. “I’ve just come to say goodbye,” she said, kissing Alice’s cheek. “You look gorgeous, love – and so does Peter.”
Alice’s white lace and tulle dress was very traditional, but she had worn flowers in her hair rather than a veil, and looked sensational. Once again, Janni felt a pang of regret. She’d been so certain she and Mark would be planning their wedding soon – but perhaps what had happened was for the best. Otherwise, they might have ended up getting a divorce before long.
“Keep your hands off, he’s mine,” Alice Lennox teased. “Have you heard anything more from Mark?”
“No, not since he walked out on me,” Janni said, avoiding Alice’s eyes. “He promised to keep paying his share of the rent until I could find a new flatmate, but I doubt if he’ll bother once he gets to the States.”
“Well, I think that’s rotten,” Alice said and her eyes flashed with anger on behalf of Janni. “He could at least have stumped up the rent until you got things settled.”
Janni pulled a wry face. She couldn’t help noticing that Nick Hamilton was no longer in the room. She wasn’t sure why, but all of a sudden Mark’s desertion no longer seemed to matter.
“Well, it just goes to show that Mum was right all along. She warned me not to move in with him. I should’ve listened.”
Alice nodded, then turned to listen to something her new husband was saying. Janni gave them both a little wave and left, keeping her smile in place until she was in the taxi taking her to catch the train back to London.
She hardly knew why she was feeling so down. She wasn’t still missing Mark, for goodness sake! And her mother had warned her at the beginning that it would end in tears.
“Move in with him and he will lose respect for you,” Mrs Ross had warned. “Yes, I know you think I’m old-fashioned and perhaps I am – but I don’t trust Mark Hatton and I never shall.”
In her heart Janni had wanted a white wedding and all the trimmings, but Mark had been adamant. He couldn’t afford to get married and he didn’t see what all the fuss was about anyway.
“Look around you,” he’d said over and over again. “How many of our friends get married these days? Most of them just move in together – and look at Jenny and Paul. They lived together for four years, perfectly happy, then she wanted to get married so Paul agreed – ten months later they’ve split.”
Janni hadn’t been able to disagree with his logic and she had thought herself in love with Mark then … but now she wasn’t sure whether it was Mark she’d loved or the man she had thought he was deep down.
Janni’s mother agreed with Alice that she ought to make a complete break, find herself a new job and a new place to live.
“It’s the only way, love,” Mrs Ross had told her. “Either that or move back home with me and take the train into work every day. And you were moaning about the high rent even when you and Mark were still together.”
“I certainly can’t afford it unless I find someone to share – and the lease comes up for renewal next month, so I shall soon have to decide whether to give the flat up or not.”
Janni didn’t particularly want to give up her job, nor did she want to move back home and commute every day.
She loved her work, enjoying every moment she spent with her patients on the postoperative ward, and counting herself privileged. People took medicine for granted these days, demanding more and more of their doctors, but Janni had never ceased to feel exhilarated and thrilled at the skill of the surgeons who performed near miracles day after day.
Yet recently the strain of working long hours, combined with a stressful home life, had begun to get her down a little. Perhaps she ought to have thought before refusing Nick Hamilton’s offer.
She remembered how attractive Nick had looked that afternoon. His smile had been warm and generous, and she had reacted instinctively out of a need to protect herself. She didn’t want to go through all that again!
Nick had been the first man to break her heart when he married someone else. Perhaps that was why Mark’s desertion had bruised her ego more than her heart – having had it broken once she was incapable of ever truly loving again.

The flat seemed so empty when Janni got in that evening. She frowned, disliking both the silence and her surroundings. The décor was too minimal and hard for her comfort, but she had never been encouraged to change things. Mark had liked his flat the way it was – and it had always been his. He had made that plain from the start. Janni contributed her share of the bills and housekeeping, but Mark paid the rent. When she thought about it, she realized the lease was in his name, so there was no guarantee she would be granted a new one if she wanted it!
Was it only five months since Mark had asked her to move in? Janni felt it was much longer. What had gone wrong between them? Was it her fault? Mark had told her she wasn’t really in love with him before he left, flinging it at her as if seeking to transfer the blame for their break up.
“You never wanted me,” he had said bitterly as the quarrel flared between them. “Don’t look at me as if I’m committing some kind of a crime, Janni – if you were honest you would admit I was doing you a favour by walking out.”
“If that’s the way you feel, perhaps you are,” she had flung after him. Now she realized that perhaps he had been right – they weren’t made for each other. She had enjoyed their relationship in the beginning, but she hadn’t truly been in love with him – and if seeing Nick Hamilton that afternoon had made her see that, she had better stay well clear of him or she might end up in more trouble!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Echoes Of Splendour

Here is a taster of my book on sale at amazon in kindle.

It is on special offer at the moment so now is the time to grab a copy if you'd like one.


I remember those days in old Russia as if they were only yesterday. It was a very different place then, for I was there before the beginning of the first revolution in 1905, and the world I saw was filled with bright colours, gaiety and laughter. Of course there was a different face to St. Petersburg from the one I knew, but I was not aware of it. My father and Johan kept me from such knowledge. How could I have dreamed of the appalling poverty and hardship in the country when I lived protected and spoiled in the house of Prince Paul Vronski, the indulged daughter of a man who was privileged to be tutor to the prince’s son?

We lived in a palace set in beautiful grounds. There were trees, flowerbeds, formal walks and a small lake where Ivan and I played sometimes with his model yacht. His father had a real one, and sometimes as a treat I was taken on the sea, and both Ivan and I wore sailor suits – mine had a skirt of course - and the crew let us help them steer the ship. Oh yes, we were fortunate in those days, the son of Prince Paul and I.

Sometimes we were both taken to the Winter Palace, where we met the Tsar’s daughters, who were polite and kind to us. The Tsarena Olga was always particularly kind to me. She once gave me a set of little wooden dolls that were graduated in size and fitted one inside the other. We never saw the Tsarevich Alexi however. There were unkind rumours in circulation amongst the people; it was said he was kept hidden away for all kinds of reasons and I only heard the truth of his terrible affliction, which had been passed down to him through his mother’s line, long after I had left Russia.

We lived in Russia for three years, Papa and I. Before that, when Maman was alive, home was a beautiful but crumbling chateau in the south of France. Mama was wholly French, and she too was very beautiful and her laughter could make my heart sing for joy. Papa was an Englishman. Everyone said he was clever, and I believe he was generally admired in Prince Vronski’s circle. To me he often seemed stern and distant, as though he was preoccupied with more important matters and had no time to notice his only child.

It was to Johan Radzinsky that I clung in those days. My dear, kind protector who watched over me and remembered all the things that Papa forgot.

Papa was always so busy. Besides being tutor to Prince Vronski’s son, he lectured occasionally at the University in Moscow. Sometimes he stayed away for several days, and there were evenings when he had long, involved meetings with serious looking men who frightened me. They all ignored me, speaking over my head in a language I could not understand.

Ivan and I spoke in French or English. I knew very few words of Russian; just enough to ask the servants for something to eat and thank them, though Ivan did his best to teach me. I was at this time inclined to be lazy. I did not wish to learn particularly and no one cared enough to teach me. I was just that pretty little girl who ran and played about the palace, of no real importance in the scheme of things. Until the day I suddenly became of use to Papa.

I could read, write and calculate. Papa had seen to my early schooling, and of course I was fluent in both French and English. Papa believed I would educate myself from his books, and in time I came to learn the treasures that lay within their covers. But at this time I was fourteen years old and interested only in amusement.

How soon my world was to turn upside down. I would be given a sharp lesson in reality, one that would change and shape my whole life. I have long wanted to tell my story for I was born to a time of great changes, of terrible tragedy and violence. The world is very different now to the one I knew then, though who can say whether those changes were for good or evil? At the time I thought them cruel and wicked.

Sometimes, when the voices crowd in on me I feel as if I am being crushed by a great weight, and the darkness is all about me. I hear their voices echoing down the years and I remember how it was…

Buy this at amazon, send me proof of purchase - through contact at the website
and I'll send you another of my Anne Ireland ebooks free

This is a romance/mystery about a girl who flees from the revolution in Russia. Parted from her friend she does nto see him until they ar older and begin to fall in love.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Briar Patch By Linda Sole

I just love this cover for my new book from Severn House. Published in hardback in August I think my readers will love it.

Here is a dramatic opening for you to enjoy.

‘Something is wrong with our Carrie.’ Ellen Blake shaded her eyes as she stood at the kitchen window. ‘I told you to keep an eye on her, Dick. You know she isn’t safe out on her own.’
‘I can’t watch her and do my work,’ Dick muttered. ‘Pa sent me down to the bottom field with the cows. Carrie followed. I sent her home but you know what she is – it’s not my fault if she wanders off in a daydream. The girl is soft in the head and it’s no use denying it, Ma.’
‘Our Carrie isn’t like other girls. I wish the Good Lord had made her ugly for then her foolishness wouldn’t matter so much – but she is beautiful and the lads stare at her. She hasn’t the sense to know what they’re after.’
‘You worry too much, Ma.’
Dick was at the deep stone sink pumping water to wash when his mother opened the back door.
‘Come away in, Carrie,’ she scolded; then, on a different note, ‘What’s wrong, love?’
‘He hurt me, Ma,’ Carrie’s sobs brought Dick’s head round sharply. He grumbled about having to watch out for her when he was at his work, but in his heart he loved her. She was vulnerable and a little lacking up top but her beauty and her sweetness of character made her a favourite with everyone. ‘I didn’t want to do it – but he forced me.’
‘Forced you to do what, Carrie?’ Dick saw the tear to her bodice and the mud on her long skirts. Moving swiftly towards his sister, he grabbed her wrist. ‘Who was the bastard that hurt you – and what did he do to you?’
Carrie yelped in fright. She was sixteen; a lovely girl with hair the colour of ripe corn in sunlight and wide, greenish blue eyes that always held an expression of wonder or bewilderment. She had no reason to be frightened of her eldest brother, though at seven and twenty he was tall, broad-shouldered and powerful.
‘The squire.’ Carrie’s face was streaked with dirt and tears but Dick could see the red mark on her cheek. ‘He was riding his horse through the wild meadow. I asked him why he was there, because that’s pa’s land. He dismounted and pushed me down on the grass and then he did it...’
‘What did he do?’
‘Ma...Don’t let our Dick hurt me. I didn’t mean to let him...’ Her eyes widened as she stared at her mother. ‘Will I have a baby, Ma? Da will kill me if I bring shame on him – he said so.’
‘The filthy bastard.’ Dick took Carrie by the shoulders, shaking her until she started sobbing. ‘What did he do to you, girl? Did he rape you? By God, I’ll kill him for what he’s done.’
‘You sound like your pa. Sit down and have your meal, Dick. Whatever is done is done. You can’t change it and who would take Carrie’s word against Squire Thornton?’
‘Everyone knows what he is. He gets away with it time and again. No one stands up to him – but this time he has gone too far.’
‘You don’t know what he did.’ Ellen caught hold of her son’s arm as he started for the door. ‘Where are you going? You can’t touch him, Dick. Squire is too powerful. He has men working for him who think they rule this county.’
Dick met her eyes defiantly. ‘I’m going to kill him, Ma – and damn the consequences.’
‘Violence never helped anyone. If you do this you’ll have to run and where does that leave me? You know what your pa is like and Tom can’t stand up to him the way you do.’
‘I’m going after him, Ma, and you can’t stop me – this time the bastard is going to pay.’
‘Dick, please think. Mebbe nothing happened. Carrie’s all right, just a bit frightened. Come back. Please don’t leave us alone with your pa.’
Dick wasn’t listening. The anger had been smouldering inside him for a long time; anger at his sister for being the way she was, anger at the world for the injustice he saw around him every day, and anger at himself for bowing his head to his pa.
In the yard outside, Dick saw the long handled axe he had earlier used for chopping wood and picked it up. His face was grim as he set off across the low-lying fields, which lay between Thornton’s land and his father’s farm. The squire coveted their land because of its access to the fast flowing stream that ran through it and bordered the wild meadow. It petered out to a thin trickle by the time it reached the Squire’s land, which meant that all the water for the stock and much of what was needed elsewhere had to be pumped from various wells Thornton had sunk. During the previous hot summer some of his wells had run dry. The stream on their land had kept flowing, even though it had been sluggish during the drought.
‘Sell to me, John Blake,’ Thornton had made a generous bid for the land. ‘You have barely enough acres to support your family, man. With the offer I’ve made, you could settle elsewhere – perhaps buy an inn or more land. Send your eldest boy to me and I’ll give him a cottage and a job in the stables.’
Dick’s frown deepened as he recalled his father’s reply. John Blake's curses had made even Dick blush and he was used to his father’s foul language. Since then they had heard nothing, but Thornton was not a man to take such insults lying down.
‘Damn him for a coward and a rogue!’
What kind of a man took his revenge on a defenceless girl? Everyone knew that Carrie was a little slow in her mind. The doctor said it was because she’d been too long in coming when Ma gave birth.
‘I’ll kill him. I'll kill the bastard if I swing for it.’
Dick’s anger festered as he strode through the fields, most of which were pasture for the squire’s herd of prime Herefords. He was trespassing but he didn’t care. What kind of a man would take advantage of a girl like Carrie?
Anger carried Dick swiftly towards the large sprawling manor house that had belonged to Squire Thornton’s family for more than three hundred years. Added to over the centuries, it was a hotchpotch of styles ranging from Jacobean to the Georgian façade that the squire’s grandfather had built. As he saw the grey stone walls rising ahead of him, Dick hesitated and for a moment his mother’s words came back to his mind.
‘Don’t leave me alone with your pa.’
It would be hard for her but it couldn't be helped. He took a firmer grip on the handle of the axe and strode on. When he reached the front courtyard, Dick saw a group of gentlemen were standing outside. The squire was one of them. They were all laughing in the wintry sunshine – Thornton as carefree as the rest. The rogue hadn’t an ounce of conscience.
‘Damn your black soul to hell, Thornton!’
Dick raised the axe above his head and charged towards the men. At first they seemed unaware but then they turned to look at him. He saw their stunned expressions and the fear in their faces as they scattered. For the first time in his life he felt powerful. He had always been a labouring man, forced to bow his head and obey orders. These rich men rode by on their horses and splashed mud over him, hardly seeing him; he was nothing, dirt beneath their hooves - but they were seeing him now. Their fear amused him, making him laugh out loud.
He heard the screams and shouts but his mind was focused on only one thing. Thornton must die. The Squire had turned to look at him, incredulity in his eyes. He alone of them all stood his ground. Once, Dick would have admired that but the red mist in his brain shut everything out but the desire to kill.
‘What do you want, Blake?’
‘Revenge for my sister,’ Dick said and smashed the blade of the axe against his head. Thornton went down like a stone, blood spraying everywhere. Dick knew a moment of triumph before the shot made him crumple to his knees and then fall flat in the dirt beside the body of the man he had killed.