Sunday, March 10, 2013

RABT: "A Little Bit of Madness" by Sheryl Browne Blog Tour/Guest Post

Contemporary Romance / Comedy
Title: A Little Bit of Madness
Author: Sheryl Browne
Date Published: 2/14/13

Celia Summers, intrepid mother of two, loves her work as an art therapist at The Harbour Rest Home.  She’s proud of her elderly independents’ artwork, even if her partner, Martin, is disparaging of their efforts.  But then, Martin is preoccupied, trying to get his hands on his mother’s home, Charlton Hall, to bail himself out of debt.  To which end, he has to get Celia on side with a fabrication of lies.
Meanwhile, Celia fights to keep The Harbour from being closed.  She’s ready to abseil from a church steeple to bring attention to the plight of her old people, no matter that she might fall and end up splattered all over the flagstones.  When she does fall, however, it’s much more painfully.  Police Constable Alex Burrows, son of Colonel Burrows, is considerate, caring and chivalrous.  He has a wicked sense of humour, which makes Celia laugh, though when she learns of the circumstances surrounding his disabled daughter, she wants to cry.  Alex also has a reputation as a womaniser, which Celia tries to ignore.  His trying to influence his father’s Will though, she can’t.  Alex, who little by little has stolen her heart, appears to be just as much a liar as Martin. 
Will Alex be able redeem himself?  Or is evicting Celia from Charlton Hall, which she and her elderlies have laid siege to, the final straw?


Celia rounded a bend, one eye on the speedometer and one on Ben strapped in the back. He was kneading his eyes, tired and miserable, poor mite. ‘Never mind, sweetheart,’ she soothed, ‘we’ll be home soon and Daddy will read you Greenwill … Oh, shit! Shit!’
She slammed on the brakes. Too late, something hit the windscreen with a sickening thud—black and wild-eyed like a bat out of hell. Celia flinched and squeaked.
The car swerved.
She grappled with the wheel, but it wouldn’t …
‘G-- … d-- … it, STRAIGHTEN UP!’ She found herself bellowing above the screech of the brakes, the terrifying squeal of rubber on wet tarmac. She’d been driving too fast. Much too fast. ‘Oh, dear G--!’ The car veered, teetered for an agonisingly slow second on two wheels, then came to an abrupt, stomach-wrenching halt.
All was suddenly quiet. Deathly quiet. No sound at all except for the pounding of her heart in her ears.
 It was on a slant, Celia realised, dazed, as if lost in some terrible dream. It was going to turn over. She tore at her belt, her eyes blinded by tears. ‘Ben!? Oh, please, please … ’ With strength she hadn’t known she possessed, she heaved the driver’s door up and scrambled out. She fell. Grazed her knee, but didn’t feel it.
‘Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare take my baby!’ she yelled, struggling with the tailgate, jabbing at the release button, pushing it, shoving it and finally, finally, yanking it wide enough to crawl inside.
‘Ben?’ she said again, her voice barely a whisper.
‘Thit!’ said Ben, his eyes like saucers.
‘Oh, my beautiful, beautiful baby.’ Celia unbuckled him, scooped him over the seat  into her arms, and deeply breathed in the pure scent of him. ‘Naughty Mummy. Naughty word.’ As she shuffled back out, she laughed a hysterical laugh, which caught in her throat, then turned into a sob that came from her soul.
Ben blinked, stunned for a second before his surprise at his roller-coaster ride turned to out-and-out shock. Mummies didn’t cry. Celia knew she was turning his little world upside down twice in a row, but she couldn’t stop. The tears rolled down her face until, in snotty-nosed unison, mother and son sobbed together.
Even when a gentle arm wrapped itself around her, a concerned voice asked if she was all right, she couldn’t stop. Ben clutched to her breast, she turned and sobbed even harder, right into a stranger’s shoulder.
‘Hey, hey,’ he said as she cried mascara all over his shirt, ‘come on. You’re safe now. It’s not the end of the world.’
‘It is,’ Celia assured him, her body shuddering from her head to her toes. ‘I could have killed him!’ It came out a scream. She couldn’t help it. People had thought her mad to have another child so late in life, but they couldn’t have known that from the moment she’d felt him growing inside her she would have killed for him. The raw hollowness she’d felt fifteen long years back, when she’d walked away from the special care baby unit, leaving her second child—so cruelly stolen from life in too short a time—washed over her afresh. For the first time, in  a long time, she let it—and cried harder.
‘Well, you didn’t,’ the man said, his tone firm. ‘Sounds to me as if he’s very much alive and kicking.’ He pulled her close, stroked her hair, as if she was a child in need of comfort—and she was. Oh G--, how she was. Then, carefully cajoling Ben as he did so, the stranger persuaded Celia to part with him.
‘I hit something.’ Celia sniffled, immediately at ease when the man nestled Ben’s head on his shoulder as only a father would. ‘I must have … It must be dead?’
He met her eyes. His were kind, she noticed, and sincere. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I think it might be. You couldn’t have avoided it,’ he added quickly as Celia’s eyes filled up all over again. ‘I was behind you. It launched itself from the hedge like a bloody cat out of he--.’
Celia swiped her hand under her nose. ‘Not a bat then?’ She emitted something between a laugh and a hiccup then squeezed her eyes shut. As if it made any difference what animal it was. She’d still caused it unnecessary suffering. ‘It could have been a cyclist,’ she said. ‘Or someone else’s child.’ That thought had her clamping her hand over her mouth and crying all over again.
‘Do you—hiccup—think it might—hiccup—still be alive?’ she asked a minute later, quivery-voiced and all cried-out.
‘I doubt it,’ he said gently. ‘I’ll go and take a look, shall I?’
She nodded.
‘Come on.’ He turned for his car. Celia followed, unable to do much else with his arm wrapped around her son.
‘The emergency services are on their way,’ he said, seating her authoritatively in the passenger seat, handing Ben over, and then reaching over the back for his coat. ‘I’ll be two minutes.’ He draped the coat about her. ‘I’m guessing it belongs to the people whose garden it flew out of. It might be good idea to let them know.’
Celia nodded, feeling wrung out, wretched and cowardly. She should go, not him. She should own up and see the distress she’d caused its poor owner. Somehow she doubted he’d let her. Doubted also her wobbly legs would carry her that far. Better to stay here, she thought, closing heavy eyes and leaning her head against the headrest. Keep Ben safe.
Safe?! Lo--, she didn’t know this man from Adam! Yet she’d just climbed into his car! He could be a maniac on the loose. A mad axe murderer! Her eyes shot open to find his face disturbingly close to hers.

(Guest Post by the Author)
As part of my book blog tour I was invited to offer you a peek into my writing space.  

Meet my co-writer:

The Editorial Staff:

And star of my debut book (nominated for Innovation in Romantic Fiction), Recipes for Disaster.
RAMBO!  Don’t you just love him!

 Sheryl Browne

Author Bio:
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, his autistic little boy and the boy’s Autism Assistance Dog, launched July 1 with an immediate 5* review.  WARRANT FOR LOVE, bringing together three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly, released August 1, and A LITTLE BIT OF MADNESS releases on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Twitter: @sherylbrowne

1 comment:

  1. Ruth, thank you so much for showcasing my work so beautifully! I am proud to be here - and reminded how blessed I am to have a certain little co-writer in my life. When the going gets tough (as life can sometimes), he just makes me smile from ear to ear. :) I note a point from the excerpt (thank you for that, too. We sometimes need a gentle reminder). :) Have a lovely, lovely day! xx


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