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The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton - Excerpt

Please welcome India Holton to The Qwillery with an excerpt from The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels.






THE WISTERIA SOCIETY OF LADY SCOUNDRELS by India Holton

Berkley Trade Paperback Original | On Sale: June 15th, 2021

Excerpt

There was no possibility of walking to the library that day. Morning rain had blanched the air, and Miss Darlington feared that if Cecilia ventured out she would develop a cough and be dead within the week. Therefore Cecilia was at home, sitting with her aunt in a room ten degrees colder than the streets of London, and reading aloud The Song of Hiawatha by “that American rogue, Mr. Longfellow,” when the strange gentleman knocked at their door.

As the sound barged through the house, interrupting Cecilia’s recitation mid-rhyme, she looked inquiringly at her aunt. But Miss Darlington’s own gaze went to the mantel clock, which was ticking sedately toward a quarter to one. The old lady frowned.

“It is an abomination the way people these days knock at any wild, unseemly hour,” she said in much the same tone the prime minister had used in Parliament recently to decry the London rioters. “I do declare—!”

Cecilia waited, but Miss Darlington’s only declaration came in the form of sipping her tea pointedly, by which Cecilia understood that the abominable caller was to be ignored. She returned to Hiawatha and had just begun proceeding “toward the land of the Pearl-Feather” when the knocking came again with increased force, silencing her and causing Miss Darlington to set her teacup into its saucer with a clink. Tea splashed, and Cecilia hastily laid down the poetry book before things really got out of hand.

“I shall see who it is,” she said, smoothing her dress as she rose and touching the red-gold hair at her temples, although there was no crease in the muslin nor a single strand out of place in her coiffure.

“Do be careful, dear,” Miss Darlington admonished. “Anyone attempting to visit at this time of day is obviously some kind of hooligan.”

“Fear not, Aunty.” Cecilia took up a bone-handled letter opener from the small table beside her chair. “They will not trouble me.”

Miss Darlington harrumphed. “We are buying no subscriptions today,” she called out as Cecilia left the room.

In fact they had never bought subscriptions, so this was an unnecessary injunction, although typical of Miss Darlington, who persisted in seeing her ward as the reckless tomboy who had entered her care ten years before: prone to climbing trees, fashioning cloaks from tablecloths, and making unauthorized doorstep purchases whenever the fancy took her. But a decade’s proper education had wrought wonders, and now Cecilia walked the hall quite calmly, her French heels tapping against the polished marble floor, her intentions aimed in no way toward the taking of a subscription. She opened the door.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Good afternoon,” said the man on the step. “May I interest you in a brochure on the plight of the endangered North Atlantic auk?”

Cecilia blinked from his pleasant smile to the brochure he was holding out in a black-gloved hand. She noticed at once the scandalous lack of hat upon his blond hair and the embroidery trimming his black frock coat. He wore neither sideburns nor mustache, his boots were tall and buckled, and a silver hoop hung from one ear. She looked again at his smile, which quirked in response.

“No,” she said, and closed the door.

And bolted it.

Ned remained for a moment longer with the brochure extended as his brain waited for his body to catch up with events. He considered what he had seen of the woman who had stood so briefly in the shadows of the doorway, but he could not recall the exact color of the sash that waisted her soft white dress, nor whether it had been pearls or stars in her hair, nor even how deeply winter dreamed in her lovely eyes. He held only a general impression of “beauty so rare and face so fair”—and implacability so terrifying in such a young woman.

And then his body made pace, and he grinned.

Miss Darlington was pouring herself another cup of tea when Cecilia returned to the parlor. “Who was it?” she asked without looking up.

“A pirate, I believe,” Cecilia said as she sat and, taking the little book of poetry, began sliding a finger down a page to relocate the line at which she’d been interrupted.

Miss Darlington set the teapot down. With a delicate pair of tongs fashioned like a sea monster, she began loading sugar cubes into her cup. “What made you think that?”

Cecilia was quiet a moment as she recollected the man. He had been handsome in a rather dangerous way, despite the ridiculous coat. A light in his eyes had suggested he’d known his brochure would not fool her, but he’d entertained himself with the pose anyway. She predicted his hair would fall over his brow if a breeze went through it, and that the slight bulge in his trousers had been in case she was not happy to see him—a dagger, or perhaps a gun.

“Well?” her aunt prompted, and Cecilia blinked herself back into focus.

“He had a tattoo of an anchor on his wrist,” she said. “Part of it was visible from beneath his sleeve. But he did not offer me a secret handshake, nor invite himself in for tea, as anyone of decent piratic society would have done, so I took him for a rogue and shut him out.”

“A rogue pirate! At our door!” Miss Darlington made a small, disapproving noise behind pursed lips. “How reprehensible. Think of the germs he might have had. I wonder what he was after.”

Cecilia shrugged. Had Hiawatha confronted the magician yet? She could not remember. Her finger, three-quarters of the way down the page, moved up again. “The Scope diamond, perhaps,” she said. “Or Lady Askew’s necklace.”

Miss Darlington clanked a teaspoon around her cup in a manner that made Cecilia wince. “Imagine if you had been out as you planned, Cecilia dear. What would I have done, had he broken in?”

“Shot him?” Cecilia suggested.

Miss Darlington arched two vehemently plucked eyebrows toward the ringlets on her brow. “Good heavens, child, what do you take me for, a maniac? Think of the damage a ricocheting bullet would do in this room.”

“Stabbed him, then?”

“And get blood all over the rug? It’s a sixteenth-century Persian antique, you know, part of the royal collection. It took a great deal of effort to acquire.”

“Steal,” Cecilia murmured.

“Obtain by private means.”

“Well,” Cecilia said, abandoning a losing battle in favor of the original topic of conversation. “It was indeed fortunate I was here. ‘The level moon stared at him—’ ”

“The moon? Is it up already?” Miss Darlington glared at the wall as if she might see through its swarm of framed pictures, its wallpaper and wood, to the celestial orb beyond, and therefore convey her disgust at its diurnal shenanigans.

“No, it stared at Hiawatha,” Cecilia explained. “In the poem.”

“Oh. Carry on, then.”

“ ‘In his face stared pale and haggard—’ ”

“Repetitive fellow, isn’t he?”

“Poets do tend to—”

Miss Darlington waved a hand irritably. “I don’t mean the poet, girl. The pirate. Look, he’s now trying to climb in the window.”





The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
Dangerous Damsels 1
Berkley, June 15, 2021
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
"The kind of book for which the word “rollicking” was invented.”—New York Times Book Review

One of Bustle’s Best New Books Out June 2021
A Popsugar Best Summer Read of 2021

A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound : Powell's
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





About India

India Holton lives in New Zealand. She's taught creative writing classes to high school students and written nonfiction and fiction pieces for various magazines. Learn more on her website and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Full Excerpt from Christopher Paolini's To Sleep in a Sea of Stars


We hope you have been visiting the websites/blogs hosting Parts 1, 2 or 3 of the excerpt over the past three days, but in case you've missed it here is the entire excerpt from To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini. The novel will be published in September by Tor Books.



Full Excerpt from Christopher Paolini's To Sleep in a Sea of Stars




         Cold fear shot through Kira’s gut.
         Together, she and Alan scrambled into their clothes. Kira spared a second of thought for her strange dream—everything felt strange at the moment—and then they hurried out of the cabin and rushed over toward Neghar’s quarters.
         As they approached, Kira heard hacking: a deep, wet, ripping sound that made her imagine raw flesh going through a shredder. She shuddered.
         Neghar was standing in the middle of the hallway with the others gathered around her, doubled over, hands on her knees, coughing so hard Kira could hear her vocal cords fraying. Fizel was next to her, hand on her back. “Keep breathing,” he said. “We’ll get you to sickbay. Jenan! Alan! Grab her arms, help carry her. Quickly now, qu—”
         Neghar heaved, and Kira heard a loud, distinct snap from inside the woman’s narrow chest.
         Black blood sprayed from Neghar’s mouth, painting the deck in a wide fan.
         Marie-Élise shrieked, and several people retched. The fear from Kira’s dream returned, intensified. This was bad. This was dangerous. “We have to go,” she said, and tugged on Alan’s sleeve. But he wasn’t listening.
         “Back!” Fizel shouted. “Everyone back! Someone get the Extenuating Circumstances on the horn. Now!”
         “Clear the way!” Mendoza bellowed.
         More blood sprayed from Neghar’s mouth, and she dropped to one knee. The whites of her eyes were freakishly wide. Her face was crimson, and her throat worked as if she were choking.
         “Alan,” said Kira. Too late; he was moving to help Fizel.
         She took a step back. Then another. No one noticed; they were all looking at Neghar, trying to figure out what to do while staying out of the way of the blood flying from her mouth.
         Kira felt like screaming at them to leave, to run, to escape.
         She shook her head and pressed her fists against her mouth, scared blood was going to erupt out of her as well. Her head felt as if it were about to burst, and her skin was crawling with horror: a thousand ants skittering over every centimeter. Her whole body itched with revulsion.
         Jenan and Alan tried to lift Neghar back to her feet. She shook her head and gagged. Once. Twice. And then she spat a clot of something onto the deck. It was too dark to be blood. Too liquid to be metal.
         Kira dug her fingers into her arm, scrubbing at it as a scream of revulsion threatened to erupt out of her.
        Neghar collapsed backwards. Then the clot moved. It twitched like a clump of muscle hit with an electrical current.
        People shouted and jumped away. Alan retreated toward Kira, never taking his eyes off the unformed lump.
        Kira dry-heaved. She took another step back. Her arm was burning: thin lines of fire squirming across her skin.
        She looked down.
        Her nails had carved furrows in her flesh, crimson gashes that ended with crumpled strips of skin. And within the furrows, she saw another something twitch.
  
         Kira fell to the floor, screaming. The pain was all-consuming. That much she was aware of. It was the only thing she was aware of.
        She arched her back and thrashed, clawing at the floor, desperate to escape the onslaught of agony. She screamed again; she screamed so hard her voice broke and a slick of hot blood coated her throat.
        She couldn’t breathe. The pain was too intense. Her skin was burning, and it felt as if her veins were filled with acid and her flesh was tearing itself from her limbs.
        Dark shapes blocked the light overhead as people moved around her. Alan’s face appeared next to her. She thrashed again, and she was on her stomach, her cheek pressed flat against the hard surface.
        Her body relaxed for a second, and she took a single, gasping breath before going rigid and loosing a silent howl. The muscles of her face cramped with the force of her rictus, and tears leaked from the corners of her eyes.
        Hands turned her over. They gripped her arms and legs, holding them in place. It did nothing to stop the pain.
        “Kira!”
        She forced her eyes open and, with blurry vision, saw Alan and, behind him, Fizel leaning toward her with a hypo. Farther back, Jenan, Yugo, and Seppo were pinning her legs to the floor, while Ivanova and Marie-Élise helped Neghar away from the clot on the deck.
        “Kira! Look at me! Look at me!”
        She tried to reply, but all she succeeded in doing was uttering a strangled whimper.
        Then Fizel pressed the hypo against her shoulder. Whatever he injected didn’t seem to have any effect. Her heels drummed against the floor, and she felt her head slam against the deck, again and again.
         “Jesus, someone help her,” Alan cried.
         “Watch out!” shouted Seppo. “That thing on the floor is moving! Shi—”
         “Sickbay,” said Fizel. “Get her to sickbay. Now! Pick her up. Pick—”
         The walls swam around her as they lifted her. Kira felt like she was being strangled. She tried to inhale, but her muscles were too cramped. Red sparks gathered around the edges of her vision as Alan and the others carried her down the hallway. She felt as if she were floating; everything seemed insubstantial except the pain and her fear.
         A jolt as they dropped her onto Fizel’s exam table. Her abdomen relaxed for a second, just long enough for Kira to steal a breath before her muscles locked back up.
         “Close the door! Keep that thing out!” A thunk as the sickbay pressure lock engaged.
         “What’s happening?” said Alan. “Is—”
         “Move!” shouted Fizel. Another hypo pressed against Kira’s neck.
         As if in response, the pain tripled, something she wouldn’t have believed possible. A low groan escaped her, and she jerked, unable to control the motion. She could feel foam gathering in her mouth, clogging her throat. She gagged and convulsed.
         “Shit. Get me an injector. Other drawer. No, other drawer!”
         “Doc—”
         “Not now!”
         “Doc, she isn’t breathing!”
         Equipment clattered, and then fingers forced Kira’s jaw apart, and someone jammed a tube into her mouth, down her throat. She gagged again. A moment later, sweet, precious air poured into her lungs, sweeping aside the curtain darkening her vision.
         Alan was hovering over her, his face contorted with worry.
         Kira tried to talk. But the only sound she could make was an inarticulate groan.
         “You’re going to be okay,” said Alan. “Just hold on. Fizel’s going to help you.” He looked as if he were about to cry.
         Kira had never been so afraid. Something was wrong inside her, and it was getting worse.
         Run, she thought. Run! Get away from here before—
         Dark lines shot across her skin: black lightning bolts that twisted and squirmed as if alive. Then they froze in place, and where each one lay, her skin split and tore, like the carapace of a molting insect.
         Kira’s fear overflowed, filling her with a feeling of utter and inescapable doom. If she could have screamed, her cry would have reached the stars.





To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Tor Books, September 15, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 880 pages

Full Excerpt from Christopher Paolini's To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a brand new epic novel from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Paolini.

Kira Navárez dreamed of finding life on new worlds.

Now she has awakened a nightmare.

While exploring a distant planet, she discovers an alien relic that thrusts her into an epic journey of transformation and discovery.

Her odyssey will carry her to the far reaches of the galaxy.


Earth and her colonies are on the brink of annihilation.

One woman.

        The will to survive.

               The hope of humanity.


This epic novel follows Kira Navárez, who, during a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, finds an alien relic that thrusts her into the wonders and the nightmares of first contact. Epic space battles for the fate of humanity take her to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and, in the process, transform not only her ? but the entire course of history.





About the Author

Full Excerpt from Christopher Paolini's To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at the age of 19, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritance Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is his first adult novel.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - An Excerpt


The Qwillery is thrilled to share with you the second excerpt from the adult debut of Christopher PaoliniTo Sleep in the Sea of Stars.

The first excerpt was posted yesterday with the third being posted tomorrow. All of the participating websites and blogs will post the entire excerpt on Friday, May 29, 2020!



To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - An Excerpt




        Kira dug her fingers into her arm, scrubbing at it as a scream of revulsion threatened to erupt out of her.
        Neghar collapsed backwards. Then the clot moved. It twitched like a clump of muscle hit with an electrical current.
        People shouted and jumped away. Alan retreated toward Kira, never taking his eyes off the unformed lump.
        Kira dry-heaved. She took another step back. Her arm was burning: thin lines of fire squirming across her skin.
        She looked down.
        Her nails had carved furrows in her flesh, crimson gashes that ended with crumpled strips of skin. And within the furrows, she saw another something twitch.


        Kira fell to the floor, screaming. The pain was all-consuming. That much she was aware of. It was the only thing she was aware of.
        She arched her back and thrashed, clawing at the floor, desperate to escape the onslaught of agony. She screamed again; she screamed so hard her voice broke and a slick of hot blood coated her throat.
        She couldn’t breathe. The pain was too intense. Her skin was burning, and it felt as if her veins were filled with acid and her flesh was tearing itself from her limbs.
        Dark shapes blocked the light overhead as people moved around her. Alan’s face appeared next to her. She thrashed again, and she was on her stomach, her cheek pressed flat against the hard surface.
        Her body relaxed for a second, and she took a single, gasping breath before going rigid and loosing a silent howl. The muscles of her face cramped with the force of her rictus, and tears leaked from the corners of her eyes.
        Hands turned her over. They gripped her arms and legs, holding them in place. It did nothing to stop the pain.
        “Kira!”
        She forced her eyes open and, with blurry vision, saw Alan and, behind him, Fizel leaning toward her with a hypo. Farther back, Jenan, Yugo, and Seppo were pinning her legs to the floor, while Ivanova and Marie-Élise helped Neghar away from the clot on the deck.
        “Kira! Look at me! Look at me!”
        She tried to reply, but all she succeeded in doing was uttering a strangled whimper.
        Then Fizel pressed the hypo against her shoulder. Whatever he injected didn’t seem to have any effect. Her heels drummed against the floor, and she felt her head slam against the deck, again and again.





To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Tor Books, September 15, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 880 pages

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - An Excerpt
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a brand new epic novel from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Paolini.

Kira Navárez dreamed of finding life on new worlds.

Now she has awakened a nightmare.

While exploring a distant planet, she discovers an alien relic that thrusts her into an epic journey of transformation and discovery.

Her odyssey will carry her to the far reaches of the galaxy.


Earth and her colonies are on the brink of annihilation.

One woman.

        The will to survive.

               The hope of humanity.


This epic novel follows Kira Navárez, who, during a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, finds an alien relic that thrusts her into the wonders and the nightmares of first contact. Epic space battles for the fate of humanity take her to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and, in the process, transform not only her ? but the entire course of history.





About the Author

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - An Excerpt
Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at the age of 19, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritance Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is his first adult novel.





Only Lies Remain by Val Collins - An Excerpt


The Qwillery is thrilled to present an excerpt from the recently published Only Lies Remain by Val Collins.

Only Lies Remain and the previous novel, Girl Targeted, are psychological thrillers featuring Aoife Walsh. For those of you reading along the heroine's first name Aoife is pronounced "EE-fa".



Only Lies Remain by Val Collins - An Excerpt




Excerpt from Only Lies Remain



ONE


The news ended, but the murderer didn’t notice. The room grew dark and the mug of tea cooled. At last the murderer rose and began pacing the room, muttering, ‘Could I have misheard? No, of course I didn’t. After all this time! What am I going to do? They can trace DNA in ways that weren’t even imagined fifteen years ago. What if they find a hair, or saliva or whatever else it is that they examine? Will the police arrest me? A good solicitor could convince a jury that DNA evidence is unreliable, couldn’t he? I can’t spend the rest of my life in prison—and, hell, I shouldn’t have to. It’s not like I wanted to kill him. These things happen. But nobody would ever understand how it was. They’d never believe it wasn’t my fault. People need someone to blame. But the truth is some tragedies are nobody’s fault. He didn’t want to die, I didn’t want to kill him, but it happened anyway. It was fate. His and mine. You can’t fight fate. You just have to accept it.’



TWO


It was the same each time. The minute the house came into sight, it started. ‘Breathe in…hold…breathe out,’ Aoife muttered to herself. She really needed to get a grip. It wasn’t like she was expecting a confrontation. Maura wouldn’t say anything. Aoife knew that. But the very fact that there was bad feeling between them sent Aoife into a minor panic every time they met.
        By the time she reached the front door, Aoife’s heartbeat had almost returned to normal. She rang the doorbell and waited. Amy’s light feet raced across the wooden floor, and a moment later her little nose pressed against the narrow glass panel that ran the height of the door.
        ‘Mama!’
        ‘Hi, sweetie.’ Aoife waved at her.
        ‘Mama! Mama!’ Amy turned and bolted down the corridor, shouting, ‘Nana!’ A few seconds later she returned alone, wailing, ‘Mama!’, her tiny fists banging on the glass panel.
        Aoife searched her bag for the key she hadn’t used in almost six months.
        ‘Mama!’ Amy leaped into her arms.
        Aoife swung her around and Amy screeched with laughter.
        ‘Where’s Nana!’
        ‘Nana sick.’
        ‘Sick! Maura?’ She put Amy on the ground and headed for the kitchen. Amy raced ahead of her.
        Maura met them at the doorway. ‘Sorry, Aoife. I was just coming.’
        Her face was pale and had the wretched look that only came from bitter tears. Toys, which Maura normally stored in the playpen, were strewn all over the kitchen floor. Amy was rooting through them, flinging them in all directions.
        ‘What are your toys doing on the floor?’ Aoife asked.
        ‘Man. Big man.’
        ‘What man?’
        ‘Moaney,’ Amy said.
        ‘Moaney? What’s going on, Maura? Are you okay?’
        ‘Detective Moloney called earlier. He gave Amy some toys to play with while we talked. He had some upsetting news.’
        ‘Detective Moloney!’ Aoife gripped the countertop. ‘Was he looking for me?’
        ‘You’ve spoken to him? Of course, you met him when you worked in DCA. He was the detective who handled the murder investigation, wasn’t he? I’d forgotten you knew each other. Why didn’t you say anything, Aoife? Things may be difficult between us, but I didn’t deserve to hear news like that from a stranger.’
        Amy pushed between them and thrust a book at Aoife. ‘Story.’
        ‘Not now, sweetie.’
        ‘Story. Now!’
        Aoife picked up Amy and put her in the playpen. ‘Read a story to your dolls. I have to talk to Nana.’
        Amy’s face puckered. Aoife had never put her in the playpen before.
        Aoife opened the book and placed it on the floor of the playpen. ‘Wouldn’t your dollies love to hear about the beautiful princess?’
        Without waiting for an answer, she took the teabags from the cupboard and filled the kettle. A glance showed Amy lining up the dolls in readiness for her words of wisdom.
        ‘What did Detective Moloney tell you?’ she asked, putting two mugs on the glass table.
        ‘Only the basics. They found him somewhere in the city centre.’ Maura reached for the mug, then shoved it to one side. ‘You probably know more than I do.’
        ‘I haven’t spoken to Detective Moloney in over six months. Who did they find?’
        ‘Oh God! Well, I suppose you’ll find out sooner or later. I’ll have to tell the boys tonight.’
        ‘Tell them what?’
        ‘Their father. He’s dead.’
        ‘Oh no! Oh, Maura, I’m so sorry. He’d come back to Ireland?’
Maura shook her head.
        ‘Jason will be devastated. I know he always says he hates him, but deep down I think he hoped his dad would get in touch someday. If only so he could scream abuse at him for abandoning you.’
        ‘But that’s the thing, Aoife. Danny didn’t abandon us.’
        ‘He may have sent you money, Maura but he still disappeared without a word.’
        ‘Not willingly. He was murdered.’
        ‘What! When?’
        ‘Fifteen years ago. Remember a few weeks back, a body was found in the grounds of that old house in the city centre? They just identified him as Danny.’
        ‘But—I don’t understand, Maura. How could Danny be dead for fifteen years? I thought he sent you money every month.’
       ‘So did I.’ 





Only Lies Remain
VCB Publishing, February 19, 2020
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 316 pages

Only Lies Remain by Val Collins - An Excerpt
Everyone thought Danny Walsh deserted his family when his sons were young. But when Danny's body turns up fifteen years later and his wife, Maura, is implicated in his murder, accusations and old rumours surface.

Aoife rushes in to clear her mother-in-law's name. But why is it that Maura's story concerning Danny's disappearance doesn't quite add up?

Aoife's investigation uncovers old secrets, long-held jealousies, and lies upon lies. With every new revelation, Aoife realises she doesn't know her family at all. Now her new boss is acting strangely, her best friend is more and more distant, and her husband is no help at all.

With her support network crumbling and her family threatened, Aoife must race to keep one step ahead of danger before more innocent lives are lost. But how will she uncover the truth when only lies remain?





Also featuring Aoife Walsh


Girl Targeted
VCB Publishing, January 23, 2018
Kindle eBook, 301 pages

Only Lies Remain by Val Collins - An Excerpt
Where do you turn when you can’t trust your friends, your peers, your own husband?

Aoife is a contented newlywed, temping while she awaits the birth of her first child. When her agency asks her to fill in on a temp position, Aoife witnesses a horrific tragedy at the office—one that will change the course of her life forever.

Three months later, now employed full-time at the same workplace, Aoife’s learns that the ‘tragedy’ she witnessed was actually a cold-blooded murder. When she decides to investigate, Aoife discovers that everyone in the organisation has secrets they are desperate to protect. Even her friends cannot be trusted.

An attempt on Aoife’s life proves that somebody is going to extraordinary lengths to ensure the past stays dead and buried—and Aoife along with it.

What’s more, Aoife’s personal life is beginning to unravel. She’s positive she has a stalker but everyone thinks she’s imagining it. Her husband is turning into a stranger who doesn’t care that his wife’s life is in danger, even her mother-in-law is keeping secrets from her.

Convinced that solving the case is the only way her she and her daughter will ever be safe again, Aoife rushes to uncover answers to a shocking scheme of greed, betrayal, and murder before the killer silences her for good.





About Val Collins

Only Lies Remain by Val Collins - An Excerpt
Val Collins is the author of the award-winning psychological thriller GIRL TARGETED and ONLY LIES REMAIN, both of which feature heroine Aoife Walsh.











Website  ~  Twitter @valcollinsbooks
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