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. Here is a short excerpt from my soon-to-be-released novel Bad Things Happen. 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 Teaser 1
Charlotte opened her mouth to argue then shut it. So much for getting ‘good job’ from her boss. Despite the situation, she was impressed by his passion.
‘A nudie run! On morning television. Have you lost your mind?’ Piers Hightower, six feet of fury wrapped in a hand-tailored suit, pounded his fist so hard on the desk it sounded like a gunshot. ‘For God’s sake What the hell were you thinking, Ashe?’
‘You told me to put more Aussie flavour into my reports.’
‘I never told you to go that far.’
‘It was all in fun. You couldn’t see anything.’
‘That’s not the point. Eye on London is a morning show. What if the kids had still been present? And you— For God’s sake!’
‘I didn’t strip off.’
‘It looked like— If Tam hadn’t cut away—’ He brushed his fingers through his usually well-groomed hair. ‘Don’t you want to be taken seriously as a reporter?’
Well that was a stupid question. That was the whole reason she was sitting here putting up with the tirade, though she had to admit Piers looked gorgeous with his blood up. She could not let her thoughts wander there. Not today. Not when she had a story this good land in her lap. If she didn’t tell him now she’d burst, a piñata spewing treasures all over the office floor.
‘Piers, I’ve got a story. A big one.’
‘Are you even listening? You crossed a line, today.’
‘Oh, come on. A few football hero bums? Viewers loved it. We’re trending on Twitter.’ She held up her phone with the open app and some of her elation escaped into laughter. ‘I’ve always wanted to say that.’
‘Is this funny to you?’
‘Well, yes. Hilarious. The boys thought so too. And the crowd.’
‘Haven’t you learned anything in three years? Perception is reality. People will start claiming they saw you running naked around the pristine training grounds of Laughton F.C. As charming as that image is, before nightfall they’ll be saying it was an all-out orgy.’
‘That’s a bit melodramatic.’ But Piers was right. Perception was reality and there were plenty who’d want to spin this into something dirty and crude, to use it as evidence that the ring-in Aussie bimbo wasn’t even fit for reporting the weather. All she’d wanted was a bit of a laugh, a bit of shock value to keep the fans entertained. Crap. She’d just got what was possibly the biggest lead of her career and she’d already screwed up with that nudie run idea.
Still, it wasn’t a total loss. At least Piers had admitted he enjoyed seeing her naked.
‘I’ve got a real story, Piers. Joey Baptiste hinted at trouble at the club.’
‘Hinted? A benched footy player with more muscle than brains throws you a bit of gossip and you think it’s enough to overcome that… that spectacle?’
‘There’s something there. I know it. How many property developers can you name who have weathered the financial crisis better than Tyrone Garner? Aren’t you curious? Aren’t you intrigued to look at why he’s impervious?’
‘Do you expect me to take some half-baked theory—or whatever you have—to Sir Douglas after that fiasco? Careers have been ruined over less. How do you think that makes us look, Charlotte?’
‘Us?’ Was he finally admitting there was more between them than the casual hook-ups? The flash of panic in his eyes dashed those hopes. Of course ‘us’ didn’t mean a relationship. She didn’t want that anyway. Not really. Relationships were the fastest way to stunt her career. ‘You mean TVWE.’
‘Eye on London is a family show. It’s rating does not allow for a bunch of bare-arsed footballers streaking across a footy pitch. How am I going to explain this to Sir Doug?’
Sir Douglas. Of course, that was all that concerned him. Sir Douglas, and Piers Hightower’s goddamn precious career. ‘There I was believing you were thinking about me.’
‘I am thinking about you.’ Piers glanced at his office door, which his bitchy secretary had oh-so-thoughtfully left ajar, and lowered his voice. ‘I think about you too much, Charlotte.’
She saw the truth in his eyes and wanted to reach out and smooth away the deepening line between his brows. ‘What do you think about—besides me running around naked?’
Piers shook his head and once again brushed his hair off his forehead. God, she was a sucker for his thick, soft hair. Loved running her hands through it. Loved the way it looked all messed up in the morning light. Today the sunlight picked up the golden threads among the brown and burnished the stubble on in his chin. Stubble. Huh. It wasn’t like him to come to work unshaven. What had he been doing so late last night that he hadn’t had time for a morning shave? Oh, hell no. She wasn’t letting her thoughts go down that road. If she wanted this assignment—a real story—she had to bring her A game.
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.