I’m delighted to be able to share a guest post from S C Cunningham, and an extract from Unfinished Business. Before we get to that though, here’s the book info.
He loved being him… he got away with murder.
She loved being her… until she met him.
The steamy roller coaster ride of psychotic David’s obsession with his childhood sweetheart, a skilled mix of fuelled tension, dark humour and pulsating sex scenes.
With the help of her gutsy friends, fun-loving city girl Tara Warr is the only victim to survive David Howard’s death list. Whilst lounging in prison the hypnotic sexual tour de force enlists an eager recruit, seduces a prison warden and relocates to the sunnier climes of Mexico, a freedom short-lived when his charred remains are found in the fire of a plastic surgeon’s clinic. The police cease their search, finally Tara and her friends can relax, David is dead.
Laughter soon turns to fear when he communicates via Tara’s laptop that he is very much alive, knows their every move and is ready to finish what he started. He is among them, but who? He has a brand new face.
Tara has had enough, time to turn the tables and make him suffer.A woman unafraid of death is a dangerous thing. Has David finally met his match?
To enter the Giveaway (open internationally) for a signed copy of Unfinished Business, please click the Rafflecopter link.
Here’s Siobhan with her guest post……Pack Life.
I adore writing books, but it can be a lonely old business.
To get into the ‘zone’ I have to shut myself away and cut off from the world. It can take days of living a mushroom-like existence to get everyday chitter-chatter out of my head, empty my thoughts and create space for the spaghetti-esque storylines I’m trying to keep one step ahead of.
My books tend to have complex characters with three or four subplots, which is a lot for this dumb old blonde to control without losing the reader or the natural flow of the story. It can be hair-pullingly frustrating, so I’m afraid I do tend to swear a lot. Thankfully only the dogs at my feet can hear me.
When writing is in full swing I no longer care about my health or appearance. Diets go out the window and I don’t bother washing or cooking. My job is to entertain, so my characters, their scheming and the hectic worlds they live in come first.
I can go for days, weeks, without speaking to anyone except cashiers in my local shops. They’ve gotten to know when I’m in the middle of a tricky scenario, one look at my basket and the game is up.
If I get to a slump and need a sugar hit, I grab my purse, pull on a pair of old trainers and rush out to the village. Where I stock up on all things that are a) easy to eat at a computer, b) give an instant glucose high and c) are bad for me.
My favourite guilty pleasures are soft sweets, biscuits, ice cream, cashew nuts, crisps, chocolate bars and profiteroles. And on some occasions when things are extra tough, easy peel clementine’s and anchovies… go figure! (the local fish monger says fish is brain food).
One very sweet store cashier in particular takes a quick look at my basket, unwashed hair and dishevelled appearance, and knows immediately what’s up.
“Writing again?” she asks with a sympathetic tilt of her head.
“Yep,” I nod through a shrug of shame.
She quickly gathers up my items and throws them into a bag, hiding the evidence from the tut-tutting queue forming behind me. With a head down illicit-drug-deal feel, I hurriedly pay her, sneak out of the shop and scurry back to my computer clutching the guilty stash. I love that woman, she doesn’t judge.
I have tried eating healthy at my desk… honestly. But those pesky carrot sticks are way too noisy, all that crunchy chewy teeth-action disrupts my flow.
The only healthy thing about my writer’s life is having dogs. When the going gets tough, they sense my stress levels are going through the roof and know it’s time to get me away from the computer.
They go in for a two pronged attack. One sits at my feet and gives me the psychological silent glare that forces me to look down at him. The other jumps up and bashes his paw at my mouse-holding arm. My concentration broken, it’s time for walkies.
And they’re right. The enforced exercise twice a day is probably the only thing that keeps me alive.
As much as I moan about it, the minute I’m out the door walking in the fresh air, ideas start to fall into place.
Dogs are wonderful co-writers. They’re another heart beat in the room, so that you never feel alone. They know their job is to keep me sane and I know my job is to give them cuddles and dog biscuits. I love being part of a pack, we make a great team.
THANK GOD FOR DOGS….. (am shouting).
Thank you for stopping by.
Extract from Unfinished Business
David Howard had been remanded for Attempt Murder, his victim, Tara Warr, needed to face their past and put it to rest.
Visiting Room, HM Belmarsh Prison, South East London, England
He wanted her dead and she wanted him naked, in her bed.
Why? It was sick, irrational and dangerous. She was a grown sensible woman, what the hell was she thinking, craving a man that had tried to kill her? It was all fucked up.
The judge had acknowledged his schooldays were to blame, as a boy he’d had to deal with atrocious acts at the hands of his guardians, resulting in his actions as a man. She understood this and felt sorry for him, but his childhood had nothing to do with her, it was none of her damn business, why the hell should she have to suffer his wrath, be on his death list? Hadn’t he killed enough?
Noted, she could have handled it better, she should have taken his adolescent obsession seriously, talked to him, realised what was happening and stood up for him… a mere child herself, but someone may have listened, there must have been bruises and marks on his body to prove it. The ‘what if’s’ fuelled her guilt and anger, twenty years later the ripple effect of the abusers’ actions still caused pain.
Torn between fearing the man and sorrow for the boy, she’d spent the months since his arrest in emotional limbo. She wasn’t sure what’d happened in the three ‘lost’ days of her kidnap, but the tables had turned, she now wanted him, missed him, and dreamed of him. She’d somehow become trapped in his warped infatuated world… was she going mad?
Enough! She needed to face the bastard and excise his perverse hold, take back control, build a normal relationship with a normal human being and have a normal life; if such a thing existed… he’s just a man for chrissakes, nothing special… get a grip!
Squirming uncomfortably in a hard prison-issue bucket seat, she suddenly didn’t feel quite so brave. Anxiously crossing and uncrossing her legs, she picked at invisible dirt on her black suit, the one she saved for funerals and bank manager meetings… I can’t do this… I’m not ready… he’s not ‘just a man’ he’s David Howard, a stunningly beautiful fucking psychotic killer that I can’t resist, that wants me to pay for his fucked up childhood.
A wave of clarity washed over her, she shook her head… this isn’t going to work, I’ve got to get out of here, ignore the letters, ignore the dreams, move out of the country and forget him, seeing his face will only bring it all back… stronger, shit!
She spun round to tell her lawyer that she had changed her mind, too late, a key turned noisily in its lock, the heavy door of the connecting room squealed open, her guards and chatty lawyer fell silent.
Unable to look, she kept eyes down, focusing on a loose thread in the hem of her skirt. David had arrived; even through partitioned perspex glass she felt his presence before seeing it, powerful, carnal menace… fuck, here we go again.
Pulling at the thread, a row of stitches burst open… ok, deep breath, calm, don’t let him get to me… breathe.
In deafening silence, David’s towering frame filled the doorway. He was a perfect specimen, all Hollywood face, head high, chiselled jaw, strong neck, chest out, legs apart, muscled arms, broad shoulders, pumped torso, flat stomach. He stood tall, was proud of his body and knew very well how to parade it. All eyes were on him, except her’s.
Even with shackled wrists and shabby prison scrubs he oozed uber calm, cool magnetism, an exciting promise of imminent danger and mind-blowing sex. He stood in the doorway, watching, face void of expression, shackles jangling, predator senses scanning his surroundings, sniffing the air.
He lifted his face, looked down his regal nose and inhaled, the pungent smell of onions and urine hung in the warm recycled air. His eyes flashed to the red flickering lights of microphones, his head tilted, listening to muffled prison noise crackling from wall-mounted speakers.
Ceiling cameras whirred overhead, he looked up into a lens and gave a slow salacious wink, enjoying the attention; it was his turn to be watched, to be filmed, he would give them a show.
His eyes finally rested on the beautiful blonde sat waiting for him, he caught his breath, keeping balled fists tight against stomach, he resisted the childlike urge of a triumphant air punch… his angel looked stunning… she’s here, she’s here… yes!
As per usual he assumed control, he remained in the doorway staring at her through the glass, refusing to move until she looked up and acknowledged his presence.
The room fell quiet as the guards and lawyer waited, curious for her reaction; they knew what this monster had done to her. She was either very brave or very stupid to face him again.
Her lawyer had strongly advised against the visit, David was dangerous, scheming and unpredictable. His sizeable inherited wealth gave him power, both inside and outside prison walls. But she refused to listen, the man haunted her, after months of sleepless nights she needed to face him, unhook his talons and find out how to stop the vivid dreams, the incessant longing, the feelings of guilt. The lawyer shook his head, it would be a mistake.
She sat quietly, head bowed, staring into her lap, he’d started the mind fuck games already, it was pointless resisting, she knew his modus operandi all too well.
Her heart thumped loudly… surely everyone can hear it?
Taking a deep breath, she masked nerves, steeled her face and looked up into the eyes of the man that owned her, the man that wanted her dead, the man whose body she craved… moth to the flame.
Dark provocative eyes were waiting, she’d foolishly opened the door and let them in, they twinkled at the connection and pierced straight to the back of her head… gotcha! … paralysing, searching out, rummaging through senses, taking control.
She recognised this hypnotic gaze; he’d used it to calm her during the abduction… the abduction… it sounded strange; things like that didn’t happen to her, they happened to other people. She was a successful, carefree, girl about town before David (B.D.), she had a good job, a fun, simple life and slept well at night.
A flash of intimate memories cine-streamed her mind, she shook her head … fuck him for doing this to me, and shame on me for allowing it… time to put an end to the stupidity.
Swallowing hard, she wiped sweaty hands the length of her thigh and took a deep breath, stilling the thump in her chest… he will not break me… not this time.
David watched her, the edge of his lips curling into a cat-got-the-cream grin, she was a mess, on the verge of tears, trying hard to keep it together, his dominance had been re-established… oh how I adore you Tara Warr.
He stepped through the doorway into the visitor’s room, followed by two guards. He looked healthy, tanned and cheerful, nothing like the pale, broken, repenting convict she was expecting… what is this place, a bloody holiday camp?
British Author S C Cunningham (The Penance List, Unfinished Business and The Deal) creates psychological and paranormal thrillers with a skilled mix of fueled tension, dark humor, and pulsating sex scenes. Her works offer a fresh level of sincerity and authority, rare in fiction. Cunningham writes what she knows. Abducted as a child, she survived; and every night for months afterward, she prayed to God, asking for a deal. This personal journey sparked the fuse behind the intriguing and riveting fictional world she portrays in The Deal, the first in the Fallen Angel Series. Twenty years later she crossed paths with a violent serial attacker, thus sowing the seed for her thrillers The Penance List and Unfinished Business part of The David Trilogy. She is currently working on Book III For My Sins.
An ex-model, British born of Irish roots, she married a rock musician and has worked in the exciting worlds of rock music, film, sports celebrity management and as a Crime Investigator for the Police – Wanted & Absconder Unit, Intelligence Analyst, Major Crime Team, Investigations Hub.
Having worked in the music to film industry, she writes with film in mind. The Penance List has been adapted to film screenplay.
The David Trilogy – The Penance List, Unfinished Business, For My Sins (in progress).
The Fallen Angel Series – The Deal, Karma (in progress).