Unholy Alliance by Kathleen Roland

UnholyAlliancebyKathleenRowland200A decade ago, Tori Rourke, and her cousin, Vivienne, ran from the Irish mob after witnessing a brutal murder. Tori was framed by the mob, and while she served time in prison, she worried that the killer, Seamus McGinn, had kidnapped her missing cousin.

Attorney Grady D. Fletcher, defender of the wrongly condemned, appeals Tori’s case and wins her release. Now, going by Victoria Morningstar, she runs a food truck from a seedy waterfront neighborhood, hoping to find her cousin’s kidnapper.

When Grady agrees to defend a new client, Samuel Peterson, who’s been accused of beating to death the wife of a noted professor, the evidence mounts. The professor is missing, as well as his laptop that contains data dangerous to national security.

And Seamus McGinn is back, and rumors of a massive annihilation is about to begin. As they race to assist the FBI, the bonds between Grady and Tori are about to be tested. It becomes clear Grady and Tori are falling fast for each other, but what to do about it is a different story. He’s a divorced dad who wants more time with his kid. She brings danger to his front door.

Grady has questions of his own; Is Vivienne at the center of the mob’s operation? How much will it cost Tori before she learns the truth? All Grady knows is the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

Review from Cathy Geha, Goodreads:

gehaCathy Geha
Mar 20, 2017 Cathy Geha rated it really liked it
Unholy Alliance by Kathleen Rowland
Donahue Cousins #2

Can you imagine how you would feel after you had spent ten years in a maximum security prison for a brutal murder you had not committed? Can you imagine how you would feel about the lawyer that appealed your case and won? Can you imagine how you would feel about the person or persons who put you in prison for ten years? AND can you imagine how you would feel if one of your cousins, with you when the murder took place, disappeared?

Victoria Morningstar, once Tori Rourke – Irish mob princess, has three goals when she gets out of prison: find out what happened to her cousin Vivienne, set up her food truck and bring Seamus McGinn to justice. In her pursuit of these goals she has her past knowledge, a degree she picked up in prison and the support of her appeals attorney and his staff.

Attorney Grady Donahue Fletcher is a man driven to appeal wrong court decisions and he is good at it. He is also the divorced father of a seven year old and love-phobic. He also wants to find and put Seamus McGinn in prison.

With overlapping goals Grady and Victoria begin to work together and in so doing have some madcap, scary and other adventures. Add in a bloodhound, Halloween costumes, the FBI and both good and bad cops and you have another sometimes steamy, action-packed, fast-paced adventure in the Donahue Cousins Series.

I am looking forward to finding out who will have their story told next. Will it be Danker Donahue or someone else AND I also wonder what will happen to Vivienne.

kathKathleen Rowland – BLOG

Romantic Suspense– Sizzling Magnetism, Adrenaline Blast




Two Hearts in Winter by Donna Fasano

Two Hearts 1200 x 1800Loss and betrayal have caused Heather Phillips to give up on love. She’s thrown herself into running The Lonely Loon, her Bed and Breakfast located on the boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland. The “off season” in this tourist town is usually a time of rest and reflection for her; however, DB Atwell, a famous author, arrives at The Loon for the winter to finish his long-overdue novel. Daniel, too, has faced grief, and tragedy continues to haunt him. Once Heather and Daniel meet, their lives will never be the same.


Reminiscent of Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks and culminating in a happily-ever-after similar to the great Nora Roberts, Two Hearts in Winter is a story about learning to let go of the past, about realizing that, though hardship affects us, it need not define us, and about coming to understand and truly believe that beauty is sometimes covered in scars. The human heart has an amazing ability to forgive, to heal, and to hope, especially when touched by love.

Author Bio:

USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Fasano has written 35 romance and women’s fiction titles. Her books have won awards, have been translated into two dozen languages, and have sold 4 million copies worldwide.


Blog post to share: http://awesomeromancenovels.blogspot.com/p/two-hearts-in-winter-by-donna-fasano.html


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Buy Links:

US Kindle: http://amzn.to/1ooYAyR

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Google Play: http://bit.ly/TwoHeartsGoogle

Paperback: http://bit.ly/TwoHeartsPaperbk

Find Donna Fasano on social Media:

Blog: http://donnafasano.blogspot.com/

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Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/donnafasano

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/donna-fasano

GoodReads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1111480.Donna_Fasano

Add the book to your “Want To Read” shelf on GoodReads:


Reviews of Book 1 of the series:

“The pleasure of Fasano’s style lies in the scrumptious descriptions… and her characters’ sincere, mature desire to make things work.” ~Publishers Weekly

“Following His Heart made me go “wow”. . . I found it thought-provoking in ways I’d have never anticipated.” ~BooksAndPals.com, 5-Stars


Excerpt 1:

It wasn’t Heather’s aim to embarrass the girl; she just wanted to cut through the lies to get to the truth as quickly as possible.

“Listen, hon.” Heather leaned forward. “Why don’t you tell me what this is all about?”

She smiled, but she had to admit, after speaking with the woman at Atlantic Coastal this morning, she’d felt completely stumped. Why in the world would this girl approach her like she had? Why would she lie?

“I’m tired of proofing,” Sandra finally said. “And I don’t want to be an editor. I want to be a writer. And paying writing gigs are few and far between in this business. Newspapers are shutting down. Everyone is going digital. It’s… it’s hard.”

Heather gently pried the plastic lid off her tea. She lifted the rim to her mouth and took a sip. The heady tastes hit her tongue: cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, and the richly scented steam wafted around her face.

The answer Sandra gave was completely plausible. It seemed like a perfectly natural thing for a journalist wannabe to do… write an interesting story about The Lonely Loon and present it to the magazine’s publisher as proof of her writing skills.

Heather nodded. “I see.” She set the cup down again, pleased by the calm demeanor that she’d been able to present. As she’d driven over to the west side of town, she’d fretted about the confrontation. But it had been simple, really. Just asking for the simple truth had been the best solution.

There were still a couple of questions niggling at her, though. “But why lie?” she asked. “Why didn’t you just tell me you were going after a writing job at your magazine?”

Sandra’s chin tipped up, and she unwittingly slid her palm over the silver laptop that sat on the table, her gaze zeroing in on Heather’s face. “You would have helped me get a story?”

“Of course, I would help you.” Heather smiled. “I like to see people succeed. If I can help you, I will.” You silly twit, whispered through her mind, but luckily she was able to keep the offensive moniker from slipping off her tongue. “Who wouldn’t like to help someone advance in their career?”

“Oh, wow,” Sandra gushed. “I don’t know what to say. I just… this is so nice of you.”

Heather’s smile widened. Now that the truth was sitting like an open book in front of them, they could get down to work. She could tell Sandra that her mother had been the one who had established The Lonely Loon, and she could explain where the name had come from. And how she’d taken over the business after her mother had died of breast cancer. She’d be sure to name a few of the neighboring boardwalk businesses and their owners to offer as much promotion to her friends as she could. The owners of the shops, restaurants, and hotels on the boardwalk were a tight-knit group.

Sandra reached into her satchel and pulled out an eight by ten piece of paper and slid it across the table.






Death Sentence Cover RevealCover

Thriller/Psychological thriller/Crime thriller
Release Date: 1st June 2015
Reviewed by a top Amazon Reviewer at Best Selling Thrillers and given a glowing FIVE Stars, Sheryl Browne’s new thriller Death Sentence is now available on Amazon! “This was such an excellent read. I found myself having to force myself to breathe. Well done Sheryl! Once again you’ve produced a book with such an array of plots and yet showing that love is still possible throughout tragedy and conflict”. – Treebeard
*The title of the book, DEATH SENTENCE, was suggested by a chief constable who also offered the author guidance on forensics and police procedure.
Death Sentence – He’s killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do?
Detective Inspector Matthew Adams and Patrick Sullivan, drug dealer, pimp, murderer: two men on opposite sides of the law. A history that goes way back. A bully even in his youth, Sullivan had made it his mission in life to make the goody-two-shoes copper’s life a misery. Now Matthew has made it his mission in life to make sure the pimping scum responsible for prostituting young girls, abusing them, and beating them to death, is locked up for life.
When Matthew’s child becomes a casualty of the war between them, does Matthew want justice? Or does he want retribution? When Patrick’s brother is shot down like a dog in a drug bust gone wrong, Patrick wants payback. He wants Matthew. Or the copper loses his pretty, pregnant wife. As far as Patrick is concerned, it’s quid pro quo.
An edge-of-your seat story of revenge.

WATCH THE VIDEO TRAILER! https://youtu.be/5hBOBLTiQxw
PLEASE NOTE: There is a review tour for this amazing book on 13th July – 24th July so sign up today! Email brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk to be a part of the tour!

Amazon UK
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About Sheryl Browne

Heartache, humour, love, loss, betrayal – and a little Ohhhh la la! Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, Sheryl and dogs 3sexy, thrilling fiction. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for Innovation in Romantic Fiction, Sheryl has recently completed her MA in Creative Writing. She has seven books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University Anthologies. A further short, written to script, was performed live at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Sheryl was recently signed by Choc Lit, who acquired a contemporary romance novel recommended by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. When she’s not writing, Sheryl can be found doing strange things like skydiving from 20,000 feet or abseiling down buildings, which possibly makes her a little bit mad.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Buy | Buy US | Pinterest | Loveahappyending Lifestyle

Safkhet Publishing | Romantic Novelists’ Association

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‘Pandora’s Prophecy’ is the third in the Greek Island mystery series but can be read as a standalone although some characters from the previous books do make an appearance.
Lisa and Mark are going through a rough patch, Vicky is seventeen and has just discovered that the man she thought was her father really isn’t, Ruth is getting over her husband’s betrayal after nearly twenty-five years of marriage. On the surface they have nothing in common except that they are all staying in the same hotel on a Greek Island. As they each come into contact with the mysterious Pandora, their lives will change forever. Bodies begin to pile up as a serial killer is on the loose who might just be targeting the hotel. The Island’s Police Chief, Christos Pavlides, tries to solve the puzzle but he has problems of his own to resolve. It seems that the local celebrity author is the one who holds the key.
Jenna’s Journey http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EXPDZD2
Sophia’s Secret http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LFJGCWA
Pandora’s Prophecy http://amzn.to/1LeurJ7


Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and two cats, a rescue cat and a dippy cat with half a tail. She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance, as she can’t bear to get rid of any! They have been attempting to renovate their home for the last ten years.
She is the author of the Greek Island Mystery series, Jenna’s Journey, Sophia’s Secret and Pandora’s Prophecy, each of which can be read as a standalone. She considers Greece to be her spiritual home and visits as often as she can. This series was inspired by her desire to return to Crete although there is a strong pull to revisit the Cyclades too.
Twitter @julieryan18
Blogsite http://www.allthingsbookie.com

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Fairy Tale in New York by Nicky Wells

4 - FTNY_Cover NickysRockRollXmasPartybanner

20th December 2014!
Facebook party!

New York. A restaurant near Park Avenue. It’s early evening, and dusk is falling. So is the snow. Jude and Carrie are only killing time while they wait for their flight to London. They don’t know yet that their life will never be the same.

When rock star Jude gets stranded in New York with his family on Christmas Eve, he has no idea that he is setting in motion a chain of events that will turn their Christmas into the most magical one yet…

No good deed goes unpunished, or so it seems to Jude and Carrie on the morning of the twenty-fourth of December. The previous day, they gave up their London-bound flights to someone in crisis. And now, a spectacular whiteout is grounding all planes, and Jude, Carrie, and baby Maya are stuck far from home.

Tired, hungry, and just a little panicked, Jude loads his family into a cab and returns to their hotel. But there’s no room at the inn, and not even a platinum credit card will make a difference. Snow is falling heavily, and the family is facing a very bleak night indeed.

How do you celebrate Christmas with no place to stay, no food, and no presents? Join Jude, Carrie, Maya and a cast of colourful characters in this fairy tale story of Yuletide in New York.

Fairy Tale in New York is now available in Kindle and paperback editions from all Amazon domains, including: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com
Spirits Of Christmas by Nicky Wells

SpiritsChristmas_NW_Cover_500Spirits of Christmas: A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol

At one time, up-and-coming rock singer Jude had it all: a great band, a platinum record, a loving girlfriend. This Christmas, however, he is well down the road towards spontaneous self-destruction.

Unwitting at first, Jude has progressively alienated his band and driven away the love of his life. Tonight, the night before Christmas Eve, he has broken the final taboo during a disastrous gig. Yet Jude doesn’t see how badly his life has derailed, not until a ghostly procession of legends passes through his bedroom with a series of vivid and powerful wake-up calls.

Will the Spirits help Jude put the friendship, love, and rock music back into his Christmas?

Spirits of Christmas is a modern-day rock’n’roll adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This novella will enchant romance readers, rock lovers, fans of ghost stories, and everybody who adores the festive season.

Amazon UK : Amazon.com
About Nicky Wells

3 - NickyWellsAbout Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!

Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas
| Fallen for Rock | Fairy Tale in New York

Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest | Google+

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.

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Angels Among Us by LINN B HALTON

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Angels Among Us

Ceri thinks she sees angels … everywhere. She struggles to keep separate what feels like two very different sides to her life. As a manager in an advertising company she’s been working with the gorgeous Alex for two years. The have a friendship based upon the image she portrays whilst she’s at work and it helps to keep her sane. One mad, crazy night spent sharing their secrets and a lot of wine result in them ending up in bed together and their relationship changes. When Alex explains that the reason he doesn’t date is because someone broke his heart, how can Ceri admit that she feels a deep connection to him?
Ceri knows she’s different. What she doesn’t fully appreciate, is that her task in life is to correct a series of incidents that affect some of the people’s lives with whom she comes into contact. She’s simply putting right little errors that could ripple outwards and change the course of their destiny. When she finds herself getting pulled into things that happen around her, how can she prove that she really has made a difference? Is it all in her head?
She’s alone for a reason; she’s not meant to fall in love in her earthly life. Alex is supposed to cross paths with her and help Ceri during a phase where she begins to question the signs she’s being given. It’s meant to be a turning point for them both—but in opposite directions. They are destined to travel very different paths … but Ceri doesn’t know that and neither does Alex …
BUY LINKS  http://viewBook.at/FallingAngelsAmongUsSeries
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
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61Jg5s-LrTLLinn B Halton lives in the small village of Lydbrook, Gloucestershire in the UK, but was born in Bristol. She resides there with her husband and cat with ‘catitude’- Mr Tiggs.

Linn began writing in March 2009 and her debut novel was published in February 2011. In a recent interview Linn was asked about genres:

“From a very young age I knew romantic fiction was always going to be my genre. I am, and will always be, madly in love with love! Whether that’s love of life, a partner, or the things I’m passionate about.

My stories are about love, life and real relationships – but romance is always the one thing that holds each story together. Often there’s a light, psychic touch and I never dreamed I would write drawing upon my personal psychic experiences. But as my interest and understanding has grown in the subject, it is now such a part of my life it finds its way into my fictional tales. However, what is heartening is that most of my experiences have been uplifting and it’s wonderful to know loved ones are around me always. I hope it will make readers stop and wonder ‘What if?’

The result is that I get a lot of mail from readers who have had similar experiences and some are sharing theirs for the first time with me. I always feel that’s something rather special and for which I’m very grateful.”

Love, life and beyond… but it’s ALWAYS about the romance!

Linn is published by HarperImpulse and Sapphire Star Publishing.
Linn is the editor of Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine.

Website: (linnbhalton.co.uk)
Twitter: @LinnBHalton
Facebook: Author Linn B Halton
Bookshelf: http://viewauthor.at/LinnBHalton

Guernsey Retreat by Anne Allen

Guernsey Retreat_front_finalAn intriguing page-turner offering mystery and romance.
Two violent deaths. Separated by time, but with a fatal connection…

A man loses his father. A young woman loses her mother. Both in tragic circumstances that lead, when they meet, to surprising revelations from the past.
Louisa needs to find the father she has never known, to warn him of possible danger – for them both. Her search takes her from England to Guernsey. Malcolm’s journey is more tortuous: conceived in Guernsey, he travels to Canada as a baby with his bereaved mother. Many years later he arrives in India, and from here he is led back to Guernsey to open a health centre at La Folie. This was his father’s home, where Malcolm was conceived, but never lived and where his father was killed at the start of the Second World War.
At the heart of the two deaths lie stolen jewels. Valuable enough to kill for. Twice.
Finding her father brings Louisa more than she bargains for, and her life is transformed, while Malcolm learns that life is, after all, for sharing…

Author website: www.anneallen.co.uk
 5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, interesting characters, beautiful setting – and much more besides! August 1, 2014
By Mrs L
Format:Kindle Edition
Guernsey Retreat, the third in Anne Allen’s Guernsey Novels series, is yet another excellent page-turner from this popular award-winning writer. The author deftly combines mystery and romance in a tale which moves smoothly from times of sadness and loss, through periods of anger and loneliness, to revelations about the past which have life-changing effects on the main characters.

We follow the heroine, Louisa, as she travels from London to Guernsey to find her father, who has no idea that she exists. Malcolm has carried grief and a wish for revenge with him for much of his life and, as a result, he has thrown his energies into building a very successful career for himself. His latest venture, the Guernsey Retreat health centre, is the setting for the major part of the story. It was comforting to see that the Retreat is based in La Folie, the imposing gothic mansion which featured in Anne’s second Guernsey Novel. I also very much like Anne’s idea of including cameo appearances by some of the characters from her two earlier novels. Having read and enjoyed the first two books in this series – “Dangerous Waters” and “Finding Mother” – these Guernsey residents are now beginning to feel like friends of mine, and it’s lovely to be able to keep up with what’s going on in their lives!

The sea, countryside and restaurants of beautiful Guernsey feature strongly again in the book. Anne’s delightful descriptions of the island and her skill at portraying her characters and their emotions brings every scene vividly to life. I found this a most enjoyable and satisfying read and am already looking forward to the next book in the Guernsey Novels series. Well done again, Anne Allen!

Part romance, part women’s relationship fiction, part mystery, Anne Allen’s ‘Guernsey Retreat’ is a companion story to her novel, ‘Finding Mother’ and explores similar themes, except in this case it is a father who is found. Louisa, the heroine of the story, is a loving and sensitive young woman who has just suffered the devastating loss of her mother and the brutal severing of her relationship with her ex. Fearful of another rejection, she travels to Guernsey in the hope of connecting with her father Malcolm, a man she has never known. Malcolm had a passionate and heartfelt relationship with her mother Susan before circumstances compelled him to return to Canada before he knew Susan was pregnant with their daughter. Louisa meets Malcolm and they begin to learn about each other, but old family history and murder stand in their way. There is also a mystery regarding a ruby necklace said by Malcolm to be tainted.

Meanwhile Louisa finds herself drawn to Paul, who works at Malcolm’s health resort, La Folie. But what are Paul’s true feelings for her? Are they friends or more? Throughout the novel there are delicious hints of romance.

‘Guernsey Retreat’ is very enjoyable, both as a gentle romance and as a study in families and what makes a family happy or not. Anne Allen explores the subtleties of modern relationships in a compassionate way while revealing the workings of karma and choices in life. The sights, sounds smells and cuisine of Guernsey provide a vivid background to the story and make it all the richer.

chapter 1
1939 – September – Guernsey

Betty woke with a start. For a moment she wondered what had disturbed her but then the sound of shouting cut across the silence of her bedroom. Groaning, she swung her legs out of bed, and grabbed the old, patched dressing gown that Roland insisted should be thrown out. But she hated throwing things away and pulled the belt tight around her thickening waist before tiptoeing out into the passage.
Darkness enveloped her but as she crept towards the stairs she could see lights in the hall, guiding the way. She trod softly downstairs, knowing that her appearance would only provoke the men further. Roland, her employer and now fiancé, and Archie, his nephew and her one-time lover. She could guess what they were fighting about – her. Their voices echoed around the expanse of the hall as Betty’s bare feet hardly touched the granite-tiled floor as she headed for the library – Roland’s domain and the source of the shouting.
Her heart pounded as she hesitated outside the door. She hated the thought the men were now at loggerheads and, from what she could hear through the slightly ajar oak door, close to blows. Peering through the gap, she could just make out their figures. Roland sat behind the imposing mahogany desk he’d inherited from his grandfather. He glared at Archie, who leaned over the desk, his fists thrust towards his uncle. With his back to the door Betty couldn’t see his face, but guessed it would be red with anger. He’d always had a temper on him.
‘I’ll marry who I like! I won’t be told what I can or can’t do by some young whipper-snapper who doesn’t know when he’s well off.’ Roland thumped the desk before standing up, looking down at Archie. ‘I took you in out of duty after that benighted sister of mine died. And in spite of what you claim, I never promised to adopt you and make you my heir. Why would I, while there was still a chance I’d marry and have children of my own?’ He marched around the desk to stand proud and tall in front of Archie. Betty’s heart swelled with love as she squinted through the crack. You tell him, Roland! Cocky braggart! He can’t hold a candle to you.
‘And now I am marrying and about to become a father and count myself the luckiest of men. But I’ll not see you homeless, boy–’
‘You’re damn right you won’t!’ Archie shouted, causing Betty to jump. ‘You owe me, Uncle. I’ve worked hard for you these past seven years and been paid a pittance. I didn’t complain, thinking I’d inherit one day. But now you tell me I’ll get nothing and it’s not right!’ Archie’s fists were now clenched by his side, his head thrust close up against Roland’s. Betty’s heart beat faster. Oh, dear God! Don’t let them start fighting, I couldn’t bear it.
‘I paid you the going rate for the work you’ve done, such as it was. You’re not exactly the hardest worker I’ve employed, boy. And as we don’t even know who your father was, I’m not legally obliged to provide for you.’ Roland paced around and Betty only caught a glimpse of him now and then.
‘You can stay here at La Folie if you like, after Betty and I are wed and leave for Canada. I want us to be far away now war’s been declared. Stay here as my steward until the fighting’s over and we can return–’
‘No!’ Archie’s voice, harsh and desperate, filled the air. Betty held her breath, her hands placed protectively on her stomach. She caught a glimpse of Archie as he grabbed something from the desk before lunging forward out of sight. A loud cracking sound, followed by a groan, propelled her through the door.
At the sight of her beloved Roland stretched out on the floor, blood pouring from an ugly gash on his head, she felt everything go black and crashed to the floor. The next thing she knew, strong arms lifted her up and sat her down roughly in a chair. As her head cleared, she looked up at Archie’s face a few inches in front of her.
‘Why did you come down, you daft woman! Thought you’d be asleep,’ Archie growled.
‘What have you done? Roland…?’ Betty twisted her head to try and see her fiancé but Archie blocked her vision.
‘I…I didn’t mean to hit him that hard. He hit his head on the corner of the desk as he went down.’ He screwed up his face and gripped Betty’s arms. ‘He’s out cold. I–’
Betty drew on all her strength and managed to push Archie from her, before crawling across to where Roland lay.
‘Oh, my God! Don’t say you’ve killed him!’ she cried, kneeling beside Roland’s inert form. ‘Here, help me turn him over.’
Archie knelt and rolled Roland onto his back. One look told them both that he was dead.
Tears splashed down as Betty hugged Roland’s battered and bleeding head. She rocked back and forth, a keening sound escaped from her lips.
‘He got me so mad about me not inheriting anything. I’m family! He owed me–’
Betty was hot with rage.
‘He owed you nothing! Like he said. Why couldn’t you have been satisfied with being steward? Thanks to your greed I’ve lost the man I love and my child is fatherless before it’s born. Oh, Roland, Roland!’
She carried on rocking, as sobs racked her body. Roland’s blooded face filled her with horror. They had planned to see the vicar about the banns that very day, wanting to marry at the end of the month. She had been so happy, so looking forward not only to marrying Roland, but to the adventure of sailing off to Canada. Away from the inevitable reality of war. Roland had often said that the Channel Islands were particularly vulnerable, with the islanders not standing a chance if Hitler decided to invade.
But now…Thanks to Archie and that temper of his, she was a widow before she was a wife. And carrying the child that had filled Roland with such joy and pride.
‘We…we have to bury him, Betty. And then get away from here. I’m not going to hang for this…’
Betty looked up sharply. ‘What do you mean “we”? This is all your doing, not mine. I’ve just seen you kill my…my love in cold blood! I’ll have no part in your trying to cover it up. Once I tell the police–’
Archie grabbed her arms and shook her till her teeth rattled.
‘You’re not telling no police nothing! If you so much as start to spill the beans to anyone, I’ll say you did it. A lover’s tiff. It’ll be your word against mine. Either way, you’d be an accessory and would hang as well.’
Betty’s head reeled with grief and anger.
‘You won’t get away with that! Everyone knows how much we loved each other. And I’m carrying his child! Why would I…I kill him?’
‘I wouldn’t say you meant to. It was an accident. Just like it was with me. But they still might find you guilty of murder and you’d hang. So,’ he said, letting go of her bruised arms, ‘we have to get away. And soon.’
Betty tried to focus on what Archie was saying. Was it true? They were alone in the house and there was no-one to support her. The rest of the staff lived out and wouldn’t return until the morning. Her parents were dead and she had no other family. Although considered a bright pupil at the Girls’ School, Betty had found it difficult to get a good job until Roland appointed her his housekeeper. It was Archie who’d got her the position, when they’d been sweet on each other, three years ago. That had not lasted long, not once she discovered his awful temper. And Archie hadn’t reckoned with her falling in love with Roland. And he her.
‘But where can we go? And what’ll we do for money?’ Betty sat dazed on the floor, still cradling Roland’s head. Surely this was all a bad dream and she’d wake up and everything would be as it was. The two of them off to St Phillipe’s to see the vicar…
Archie paced around, tugging at his hair, as if that would give him inspiration.
‘We’ll have to get away from the islands. Get to England somehow.’
‘But I don’t want to go to England! This is my home, where I belong–’
‘Not anymore it isn’t! It’s not safe for either of us now. I just need to think…’ He pulled up short. ‘I know. That Ed Sarre owes me a favour. He can take us in his fishing boat. I’ll make up some story that Roland wants us to leave quickly now that war’s been declared and that he’s flying out to join us once he’s locked up the place. As for money, there’s plenty here worth a bob or two and Roland always kept a wad of cash in the safe, so we’ll be all right. But first we have to bury him. And quick, before it gets light.’
Betty found herself dragged roughly to her feet and forced to find a sheet in which to wrap Roland. She moved around as if in a trance, her mind shutting her off from the reality of what was happening. All she knew was that her life was about to change. And not for the better.