Thank you for taking part in my ‘Look Who’s Talking’.
If you could live anywhere in the world other than Australia where would it be and why?
In a villa on an Island off Italy, or in a villa beside one of the lakes in the north of Italy, or on a vineyard in the Tuscan hills. Notice a common thread here? I adore Italy, the people, the wine, the food, the atmosphere, everything.
LOL Erin, why am I not surprised.
Where do you get your inspiration from to write?
Absolutely everywhere. Songs on the radio, the news or articles in the paper. Conversation I’m involved in, an experience I’ve had or someone I know has told me about. Travel brochures. It could be anything.
You certainly have a wide range there.
A fairy godmother has come to visit and she is willing to turn one of your heroes into a human. Who would you pick?
I love all my heroes. Perhaps my sexy knight in the Knight of Castle Kildare or the Boss in my Heroes of Steele Series. He has a hidden sense of humour that breaks out every now and then. Plus he’s a real alpha male and takes no prisoners. He’s gutsy, sexy and not the least bit interested in settling down, until he meets the one woman he can’t have. Hmm, yes I want him. I might add here that I mould all my heroes on my husband. He’s still the love of my life and the sexiest man I’ve ever met.
A genie will grant you three wishes. What would they be?
I wish for an end to human trafficking and slave labour throughout the world.
I wish for a fabulous contract with a publishing house that wants to publish me in both digital and print format for everything I write.
I wish for more time to write, which would probably involve a lotto win.
I agree with the first one Erin, and I know with research you’ve been doing for your latest MS it would only add to your awareness of the problem.
What is your current work-in-progress?
The second book in my Heroes of Steel Series. “In Pursuit of Evil. This time I’m tackling people trafficking and slave labour. Of course my hero will go in and save the woman he has become infatuated with. Big problem, she’s the wife and daughter-in-law of two very dangerous men who want her dead as she plans to identify their network of traffickers. Of course it goes without saying that my leading hero and heroine will fall in love, beat the bad guys and save the day.
I can’t wait to read the second novel Erin, book/ms is fantastic.
Would you like to share an extract?
Sure, I would love to but I’ve had to change my hero and heroin’s names as I’m in a couple of competitions associated with the first book of this series.
A movement on the street caught Claire’s eye. Pulling the curtain aside, she leaned against the cold glass and squinted. Was there someone down there? Her pulse quickened. What if it was her husband’s men and they’d come to silence her and take Ella? Fear clutched her stomach. Stop it. The police officers downstairs are vigilant and armed. They won’t let anyone in and no one knows we’re here.
A figure ran from behind a white sedan, crossed the street and ducked behind a silver station wagon. For a brief moment he was caught in the light of the street lamp. Claire swallowed. An Asian man, that’s not a good sign.
Another figure emerged from behind the white sedan and sprinted across the street. This one was taller, Caucasian and held a gun.
“Shit.” Claire dropped the curtain and ran to the chair, picked up the baby sling and pulled it over her head. She may be jumping to conclusions, but better safe than sorry. She wrapped her sleeping angel in a bunny rug and gently placed her in the sling then hurried from the bedroom, along the hall and down the stairs.
Her two minders were sitting at the kitchen bench playing cards. They both reached for their guns as Claire ran through the doorway.
“What is it?” asked Brian coming to his feet.
“I just saw two men ducking behind cars. One has a gun.”
“Get upstairs,” ordered Steve leaping off his stool. He turned to Brian. I’ll ring the boss then check the back, you keep an eye on the front.” He glanced at Claire. “Move!”
“Okay, I’m going.”
As the two officers disappeared in separate directions, Claire’s gaze fell on the portable phone lying on the bench. She swiped it up and ran out of the kitchen, cushioning Ella as she leapt up the stairs. Once in her room, Claire opened her locket and pulled out the scrap of paper with a mobile number scrawled across it. She keyed it into the phone then closed her eyes and drew a shaky breath. “Please be there.” On the third ring a deep familiar voice answered.
“It’s me, Claire. I’m sorry to ring so late but I think I’m in trouble.”
“Claire! What’s happening?”
“I saw two men ducking behind cars and one has a gun. I told the police officers and they’re checking it out now but I’m scared. No one is supposed to know where I am.”
“Can you describe the men?”
“Um, one was short and Asian looking. I didn’t get a good look at the other one.”
“All right, I’m on my way. Take the baby and go up to the attic.”
Claire stepped toward the door. “Wait, how do you know there’s an attic?”
“We traced the rego plates you gave your mum then Aaron and I did a little reconnaissance. You’re in a rendered terrace with a closed in verandah, right?”
“Yes.” Claire stepped into the hall as glass shattered downstairs. “Jack, someone just smashed a window and I can hear people coughing.”
“Fuck, they must have thrown in tear gas. Hurry.”
Claire looked up. “I see the trapdoor but...” She stretched up. “I can’t reach it.”
“Get a chair or a thick book or anything, quick.” His breathing sounded heavy as if he was running. She heard him call out to Aaron.
With her heart in her mouth, Claire pushed the nearest door open. Beads of sweat broke out on her forehead as her gaze searched the bathroom. “There’s a bath stool.”
“Good, use it, but make sure you take it with you into the attic. We’re not far away.”
She could hear an engine starting through the phone. Placing the stool under the trapdoor, Claire climbed onto it and reached for a metal ring. “Got it.” She pulled and a long door lowered revealing a sliding ladder. Stepping off the stool, she pulled it aside and slid the ladder down. Her hands felt clammy.
Another window smashed. “Shit, Jack, will this nightmare ever stop?”
“I believe in you, Claire. Get up the ladder then pull the trap door shut.”
Squealing wheels sounded in her ear. “Jack, are you okay?”
“Christ, that was close.” She heard him exhale. “I nearly took out bus. Don’t worry about my driving skills, just hurry.”
Tucking the phone in the sling, Claire picked up the stool, grabbed the rail with her spare hand and scrambled up the rungs. Ella kept bumping against her chest, but mercifully she remained asleep.
Gunshots sounded downstairs. They’re inside.
She set the stool down, wiped her hands on the sling and hauled on the pulley cord. The ladder retracted bringing the door up with it. Claire let out a shaky breath and snatched up the phone. “Jack, I’m up and the door’s shut.
“Good. Now hang up and find somewhere to hide. I’ll alert the rest of the team and we’ll be there as fast as we can.”
“Okay.” She hit the end call button and turned around. Her gaze skimmed the large empty attic and her heart plummeted like a rock. The streetlight outside cast a long beam through the small window at the front illuminating every inch of the room. “What now?”
Baby noises came from within the sling. Claire moved the blanket to find Ella’s eyes wide open. She cooed when she saw Claire.
“Oh my darling, we need to stay really quiet.”
Running feet and doors crashing open sounded below her. They’re searching for us. Claire’s gaze fell on the attic window. It’s that or stay here and die, and I’ll be damned if I’m giving up that easy. She picked up the stool and tiptoe across to the window, relieved to discover it wasn’t nailed shut. Unlatching it, Claire leaned back as the window swung in, bringing a cold breeze and the drizzling rain with it. Ignoring the stinging bite, she squirmed through and placed her bare feet on the coarse wet roof-tiles.
Holding Ella tightly, Claire gingerly put one foot in front of the other, edging along the slippery roof toward a chimney about ten metres away. She could see lights on in the house opposite and hear voices on the street below, but from her position she didn’t dare call out. Attracting attention was the last thing she wanted. I’ll hide behind that chimney and wait for Jack. That’s a good plan.
Below someone shouted then a couple of gunshots rang out and people began screaming. Claire glanced down on the street and stubbed her toe. She gasped, hobbled onto a loose tile and her feet shot from under her sending her crashing onto her backside and knocking the breath out of her. Bloody hell, that hurt. Little sobs came from within the folds of the sling. “Shush, honey, it’s okay. Mummy just lost her balance. I’ve got you.” Claire pulled Ella closer and patted her back. “Please don’t cry, sweetie.”
Clanging sounded from inside the roof. Shit, they’re coming up the ladder. Clair scrambled to her knees and crawled toward the chimney, ignoring her sore butt and the rough tiles on her bare knees.
Ella quieted with just the occasional hiccup. Another gunshot rang out and the ridge capping on the peak of the roof exploded. Claire sent a desperate glance to the street and her lungs seized. A man stood in the middle of the road pointing a gun up at her.
“Oh my God.” She crouched lower and crawled faster as another bullet slammed into tiles below her. It shattered into smithereens sending small shards biting into her body. “Jack, hurry.”
Great extract Erin. I so love this story.
Thank you for your time.
Thanks, Sandie. I enjoyed your questions.
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