Book 1 in the Ashes to Ashes Series
Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share a snippet of one of my present or forthcoming novels. I’ve previously shared an excerpt from Journalist Charlotte Ashe’s point of view, one of the leads in the forthcoming suspense novel Bad Things Happen. This short excerpt features the other lead, Champion League footballer Joey Baptiste. But first… the blurb
When Charlotte Ashe gets the scoop of a lifetime she thinks it’s her ticket out of the weather-girl-slash-light-relief gig at her local TV station, a job she’s been stuck in for three years. Corruption among England’s elite football teams should have everyone salivating. But no one wants this story to go to air. Least of all the well-connected club owner who has plans to take his team to the English Premier league. Then Joey, her only source, dies and everyone seems happy to write it off as an accident. Everyone except Charlotte…
The answer lies in the shadows, but in the shadows… Bad. Things. Happen.
Bad Things Happen: Joey Baptiste
Her perfume scented the dewy air and with every breath her body hugging shirt moved in ways that made it hard to think.
‘You okay to talk?’ she asked.
Seriously! That what’s I said. No problem. As if I hadn’t been driving myself nuts with all the “what ifs”. What if Garner had seen us talking? What if he’d cottoned on to my plan? It wouldn’t take much, not after the way I lost it in his office. Waiting in the stands I’d had time to think it over, and thinking it over had me crapping myself all over again.
‘Shall we sit? Less chance of being spotted by some casual observer.’ She smiled up at me. You can’t underestimate the power a hot babe looking up at you, smiling like you’re the most important person in her world. My head screamed at me to run as far and as fast as I could, but when she moved past me to climb the stairs and I watched the sway of those hips in her skin-tight jeans, I followed her like she had me on a leash.
We reached the top of the stands and she sat, crossed those denim clad legs and patted the worn bench. ‘We’ve got about fifteen minutes before anyone comes looking for me.’
She’d already done two bits to camera: one with me and the lads in the background while she talked to Declan about our chances in the play-offs, and another with the little kids strutting their stuff on the still frosty grass while I’d been losing my rag with Garner. After our little chat, I’d expected him to follow me out, keep an eye on me, and as club owner I’d assumed he’d want his moment in the spotlight. He had a wicked reputation as a media whore. So far, he hadn’t shown his face on the field.
‘I’ve got a bit of a surprise planned for the last piece,’ she said. ‘A bit of fun with the guys. You want in?’
Fun? As if I cared about that with all this crap on my plate. ‘Not exactly in the mood for fun, babe.’
Her smile didn’t shift, but her gaze sharpened. ‘Fair enough. How about you give me a quick briefing? We’ll see where we go from there.’
‘Yeah, you know, a quick summary of your story and what you want to get out of talking to me.’
Shit was getting real, fast. How much could I tell her and still make sure she was interested enough to get me the money I needed? My leg twitched and my fingers tapped my thigh. It was the only way I could release all that tension. Charlotte Ashe took it all in with barely a flicker of her eyelashes. I waited for that tight-lipped judgement I’d got from Garner.
Instead, she smiled. ‘So, tell me, Joey. What’s on your mind?’
The rotting bench groaned as I planted my arse. Every Thursday night for years, Ma had sat on these hard planks knitting while she watched me practice. The stands had looked out over the field then, back when Tyrone “Goal Kick” Garner had been my hero. I’d copied his every move off the telly. Better than Beckham, he was. We’d been mates, of a sort, a connection born by a love of the game and my admiration. That was gone now. Just like these stands, our connection was part of the old ways, not suited to his new ideals.
‘Look,’ I said, ‘this isn’t revenge, or anything.’
Underneath that big-eyed friendliness, Charlotte Ashe was sharp, full of ambition. I wished I’d never opened my big mouth.
Want to know what happens next? You can read the first three chapters by joining my reader group and be the first to know when the book goes live! By joining you’ll also receive a free e-copy of my short story anthology Strange Shorts: Ten Tales of Love, Death and Relationships.