United By Books is honored to be a part of Book Blurb Blitz Tour for Summer Reads by Sheryl Browne. This tour is presented by Goddess Fish Promotions.
SOMEBODY TO LOVE
After a turbulent marriage to a man who walked off hand-in-offshoot with something resembling a twig, divorced mum, Donna O'Conner, doubts happy endings exist. She'd quite like to find herself an Adonis with… pecs …and things. Alas, that's not likely, when her only interest outside of work is hopping her three-legged dog in the park, carrying a poop-scoop. In any case, Donna isn't sure she'd know what to do with an Adonis if she fell on one. When PC Mark Evans comes along, gloriously gift-wrapped in blue, however, she can't help wishing she did.
Mark, a single father, is desperate for love. He doesn't hold out much hope, though, that there is a woman out there with a heart big enough to love him and his autistic son. Enter big-hearted Donna, plus three-legged dog. And now Mark has a dilemma. Pretending not to mind her house-bunny chewing his bootlaces, he's smitten with Donna on sight. Should he tell her his situation up-front? Announcing he has a child with autism spectrum disorder on a first date tends to ensure there isn't a second. Or should he skirt around the subject, which amounts to a lie? When one lie leads to another, can he ever win Donna's trust back? Admit that he didn't trust Donna enough to let her into his life?
Somebody to Love has been made with love... love of animals. Sheryl Browne has done excellent research on assistance dogs for the handicapped, specifically their use with autistic individuals. With a focus on romance with police officers, appealing to all readers who love our boys in blue, the author's "teasing but not telling" style makes this read appropriate for anyone, including young adults and older teens.
Agitated, Mark flicked his siren again, frightening shoppers out of harm’s way, and then humped the patrol car up on the kerb. ‘Sorry about this, Phil.’ He raked his hand through his hair and turned to his partner, who had offered to help Mark search the area for his now missing son. ‘I had no idea Jody would…’
‘Stop apologising and get going.’ Phil shoved the passenger door wide, ready to climb out. ‘He can’t be far away. We’ll find him.’
‘Thanks, Phil. I owe you.’ Mark nodded his appreciation and climbed out of the driver’s side, panic knotting his stomach.
‘You do the top end. I’ll take the bottom. We’ll cross over and come back down the opposite side.’ Phil gestured Mark on, then headed for the lower end of the High Street.
Mark didn’t need telling. He ran, fast, his heartbeat escalating to a steady thud as he went from shop to shop.
‘We’re looking for a small boy,’ he shouted across to the owner of one of several gift-shops, all with the same glitter of memorabilia that would attract Karl like a moth. ‘Aged six. About so high.’ Mark indicated with his hand. ‘Dark-haired. Wearing jeans, red tee-shirt, and a white hoodie.’
Also recognisable by the hand-flapping and spinning he’ll be doing if he’s stressed, Mark didn’t get the chance to add before the owner shook his head.
This was hopeless. Mark pushed his cap back, frustrated, as he came out empty-handed. With the annual jazz festival on, Upton was chock-a-block with sightseers. What if Karl had headed for the river? Dread sliced through Mark’s chest. Water might not be Karl’s current fascination, but it had been a while back, running taps and flushing loos wherever he went. Might he have been attracted by the spectacle of boats bobbing at the water’s edge? Crammed in at the water’s edge, more like, at this time of year. Mark tried to quell a sudden queasiness. Narrow-boats mostly, shoulder-to-shoulder. Tons of heavy, bone-crushing metal.
Christ, he needed to call it in, radio for help. Mark swallowed hard, total panic gripping him now, as he turned in the direction of the river, then fleeting relief as he caught sight of Karl’s carer.
‘Mark!’ Jody waved frantically, pushing towards him through a throng of onlookers.
Mark caught her by the shoulders as she reached him. ‘Anything?’ he asked, scanning her face, hoping against hope that Karl might be with her, behind her. Anywhere, for pity’s sake.
She shook her head. ‘No. I… I’m sorry, Mark. I didn’t…’
‘For Christ’s sake, what were you thinking!?’ Mark struggled to hold on to his temper. ‘He can’t stand crowds, Jody. You know that! The slightest thing sets him off.’
‘I know. I do know.’ Jody pressed a hand to her mouth. ‘I’m so sorry,’ she said, her hand trembling as she pulled it away. ‘I needed to pick up a prescription for my mum on the way to the respite centre, and Karl seemed okay. I’d promised him a new toy, and we have brought him here before, so I…’
‘Out of season, Jody, when the shops are empty and the crowds are gone.’ And that was bad enough. Mark recalled with crystal-clear clarity how Karl had bolted as they’d tried to cross the road, narrowly missing an oncoming car.
Mark dragged a hand over his neck. He was tense, every muscle in his body taut with frustration and anger, but this wasn’t Jody’s fault. Karl was as unpredictable as he was predictable. If it was anyone’s fault, it was his. Christ, even the boy’s mother hadn’t been able to cope with the day-to-day stress of caring for Karl.
WARRANT FOR LOVE:
Leanne Curtis has shared more than her heart and her home with her womanising man. She's shared her pin number. The scales are peeled painfully from her eyes when she spots female footprints on the inside windscreen of his car. Devastated, Leanne storms off into the night. He wasn't going to pay her back when he sold his flat, his bolthole, his shag-pad, probably, the absolute…! Shivering on a street corner, Leanne comes up with a survival plan. She's no choice. If she's to keep her son in PS3s, Leanne needs a lodger.
Brought up in care, Police Constable Paul Davis doesn't communicate well. On duty, he's gloomily contemplating his impending divorce. His wife sleeping with his sergeant is not helping his morose mood. His sergeant has a history, and Paul needs to find somewhere decent to live in order to gain custody of his son, fast. And to keep his job. Wrongfully arresting Leanne Curtis for soliciting, he muses, whilst avoiding five-star-freezer looks from her friends, might not be the best way to do it.
Could fate have brought them together, though? Leanne needs a respectable lodger. Paul needs a home. One thing leads to another, and Paul can't quite believe his luck. When a blackmail plot ~ cooked up by Leanne's friends ~ threatens their budding relationship, however, is Paul compelled to uphold the law? Or will he risk everything to make sure Leanne's abusive ex gets his comeuppance?
Warrant for Love is not your typical rom-com where only one gal gets the guy — Sheryl Browne brings together three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly. With a focus on romance with police officers, Warrant for Love appeals to all readers who love our boys in blue. Complex yet everyday relationship problems makes this read appropriate for young adults and older teens.
Lee tugged her vest top over her shorts… jimjams grass-stained she’d discovered… and perched herself on the edge of her bed.
She tried not to listen to Paul move around in his room. Clunk his wristwatch onto the bedside table. His shoes onto the floor. Unzip… Ahem.
Lee couldn’t fall into a relationship with him. It would be madness with her emotions flying all over the place and, anyway, Paul had obviously changed his mind.
But, oh, it was torture, knowing he was just the other side of that wall. Reassuring, too, but she couldn’t help wishing there was no wall at all.
She had a quick gulp of water as her errant mind conjured up his handcuffs, then travelled slowly around front and attempted to tiptoe below belt level.
Blooming frustrating, it was.
Ah, well. She kicked off her flip-flops, and would have snuggled under the duvet, had not a great fat spider sat down beside her.
Lee squeaked, terrified, and leapt fast for a flip-flop. It was huge. A house spider as big as the house, with huge, hunched… scurrying…
She hit it.
It dropped to the floor. Lee sprang on the bed.
‘Help!!’ she screamed, woman of substance nowhere in evidence.
In an instant, Paul banged through the door, wearing boxers and not much else. ‘What? What’s wrong?!’
‘I’ve got no shoes on,’ Lee said feebly.
Paul scratched his head. ‘You’ve got no clothes on.’
‘There’s a spider!’ Lee squealed as it scurried towards him.
‘Christ, Lee…’ He ran his hand over his neck. ‘I thought there was someone… ‘Oh, blimey.’ Paul backed off. ‘It is a bit big, isn’t it?’
‘Get it!’ Lee danced on the duvet.
‘Lee, just calm down.’ Paul skirted around the intruder as it came to rest in the corner. ‘It won’t hurt you.’
‘Lee…’ Paul laughed. ‘It’s just a spider. It’s probably more scared than…’
‘It’s not! I’m arachnophobic! And don’t laugh at me. I can’t help it. I’m sick of apologising for my shortcom… Oh, my God, it’s moving.
Get it!’ Lee clutched a pillow and a useless flip-flop to her breast and backed up on the bed.
‘Okay. Okay.’ Paul said, his voice calm, his face serious. She was petrified, he realised. Pretty in the shorts and vest, but petrified.
He actually wasn’t far off petrified, himself. He hated spiders. ‘Just stay calm and stay where you are. I’ll get it.’ He headed for the landing.
‘Where are you going?’ Lee almost climbed up the wall.
‘To get a glass.’
‘No-o-o. It’ll be gone when you get back. And it’ll creep out again while I’m sleeping. Please get it.’
‘I’ll get it. I’ll get it. I promise. Just stay calm.’ Paul tried to reassure her. ‘Flip flop,’ he said, surgeon-like as he turned to face his own worst nightmare. Under-stair cupboards were crawling with the bloody things. Or that’s how it seemed, if you were four years old, and locked in there with them.
He braced himself, flicked it out of the corner, and flattened it. Felt like a murderer, but flattened it anyway.
Felt pretty good actually. He smiled as Lee flung her arms around him.
‘I feel really stupid.’ She sniffled into his shoulder.
‘Don’t.’ Paul stroked her hair. ‘We all have our private demons.’
‘It bounced off the bed.’
‘Bounced?’ Paul chuckled. ‘Did it test the springs first?’
‘You’re laughing at me.’ Lee pulled away.
‘I’m not, Lee.’ Paul pulled her back. ‘I’m laughing at me. I’m terrified of the buggers.’
Lee blinked up at him. ‘You are?’
‘Yep.’ Paul smiled. ‘Almost as terrified as I am when I meet some psycho on the streets, but I guess it’s easier to face it than admit it, if you’re supposed to be macho-man.’
Lee scanned his eyes and must have realised he was telling the truth.
‘Sorry,’ she said, her face nestled back in his shoulder. ‘I’d get them myself, if only they’d stand still long enough. They only ever seem to come out when it’s dark, don’t they? When you’re alone.’
‘I know.’ Paul pulled her closer, recalling how alone he’d felt in the dark. ‘Tell you what,’ he said, his mouth close to her ear, his hand tracing the curve of her back, ‘we’ll get one of those sonic insect repellent things. Innovations sell them, I think.’
‘Do they work?’
‘Dunno. It’s worth a try though.’ Paul brushed his cheek against her hair. Lee lifted her head, and…
‘Hello, Mumsie-wumsie,’ Drew said, from right outside Lee’s door on the landing.
Paul and Lee hastily disengaged.
‘Shoot.’ Paul hurriedly left, thinking that more prudent than hiding under the bed. ‘I, er… ‘ He raked his hand through his hair as he met Drew’s eyes. ‘Spider,’ he offered, by way of explanation.
‘Ye-es.’ Drew looked him up and down. ‘So, where’s the white charger? Parked next to the Mondeo?’
‘Word of advice, Paul. Knights don’t do it naked.’
Paul nodded soberly, arms folded over his nakedness. ‘I guess I’d better go and get dressed. Undressed. Go to bed.’ He coughed and stepped past Drew.
‘Good idea.’ Drew clumped onwards. ‘Oh, incidentally, that’s the airing cupboard.’
‘You don’t say.’ Paul closed the door to the linens within.
About the Author:
Now residing in Worcestershire, Sheryl Browne grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. She wears many hats: a partner in her own business, a mother, and a foster parent to disabled dogs. Creative in spirit, Sheryl has always had a passion for writing. A member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, she has previously been published in the US and writes Romantic Comedy because, as she puts it, "life is just too short to be miserable."
Sheryl's debut novel, RECIPES FOR DISASTER - combining deliciously different and fun recipes with sexilicious romantic comedy, is garnering some fabulous reviews! Sheryl has also been offered a further three-book contract under the Safkhet Publishing Soul imprint. SOMEBODY TO LOVE, a romantic comedy centring around a single policeman father’s search for love, launches 1 July. The book, which also features an autistic little boy and his Autism Assistance Dog, has already been endorsed by Danemere Dog Rescue Centre and is currently being reviewed by Our Dog Publications with a view to future advertising. WARRANT FOR LOVE, bringing together three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly, is released 1 August.
At the end of the tour Sheryl will award one lucky commenter a $20 Amazon Gift card. Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour. Remember the more stops you comment on, the more you increase your chances of winning. Check out the list of stops here.