Competition to Win Free, Signed Paperback of Screaming Angels!

My new romantic spy novel Screaming Angels published!

 

To celebrate, I will be giving away one, signed copy  of Screaming Angels to my Newsletter readers in a competition on 16 October at 5pm BST. To sign up for the Newsletter before then, click here or go to the menu  at the top of this page.

Screaming Angels paperback at Amazon.

Screaming Angels Kindle.

Screaming Angels paperback at B&N.

Yulia let the rare intimacy hang in the air. It floated away on the evening’s love.

“The biggest twist was at the end – I really didn’t see that coming” – Eileen Thornton

How the Soviets stole the secret of Rolls Royce’s best jet engine and built the greatest fighter in the world.

Excerpt:
Don, the only member of his Rolls Royce Nene team that called his boss Ed, was a working-class Yorkshireman, Edward, a graduate from Dorking. They were Surrey chalk and Yorkshire cheese, but when Don had yelled “Pass Ed!” during a company football match, Edward let the term of endearment go with a smile and they had been close ever since.
“Right! Let’s tidy away and get testing!”
The seven men tightened every bolt on the jet engine’s outer casing, checked the test stand bolts for tension once more and wiped everything clean. Edward left the test chamber through the partition door and took up station with the rest of the team, behind the control panel. Don checked the last few hose connectors and left the chamber, closing the thick door behind him, but struggled to slide in the heavy draw bolt for a moment, with his back turned. Edward couldn’t see what Don was doing.
“Don’t touch the master door lock!” Edward joked.
“I never would. There! Got it!”
Edward completed the test form, pushing his spectacles up on the bridge of his nose to focus better:

Monday 22 July, 1946
RB.41 Nene MK.3 throttle-up test. Attending: Nene team, headed by Donald Hill. Manager: Edward Torrens.

“Right. Fire her up Don!”
Edward’s affable smile belied the tension in the small control room. The cream, concrete partitions had been designed to muffle the sound of WWII piston engines, not stop exotic alloy jet turbine blades, turning three or four times as fast, from exploding. Only a few weeks previously another of Edward’s Nene engineers had been injured when a fragment penetrated the wall and ripped part of his cheek away. As Don pressed the starter button, Edward wondered why such an alchemist’s brew of wires, alloys and unearthly, screaming power amounted only to the placid sounding ‘Nene’ in the Rolls Royce executives’ minds. Everything went well until Edward yelled into Don’s ear at the top of his voice:
“Full power!”
Edward realised he had actually crossed his fingers, just before he heard a high-pitched, metallic ‘ping.’ He lunged for the red cut-off button and smashed it down with his fist.
Don and the others stared at him with blank expressions, as if trapped in a slow-motion movie clip.
“Duck!” Edward yelled, before dropping to the floor and scrambling under the bench, dragging Don with him.
The turbine’s shriek had dropped in pitch about half an octave in those few seconds, but then the air ripped apart with a giant explosion. The sound or rending metal, mixed with the sound of concrete being ripped apart and debris hitting the walls made them shut their eyes and pray.
Eventually, silence returned, followed a moment later by the blaring of alarms and the sound of rushing feet.
“I didn’t hear owt!” Don said between coughs. “Bloody good job the engine revs dropped a few thousand! Or else I don’t think any of us would be here!”
Covered in white concrete dust and debris, the others scrambled to their feet while Edward looked for his spectacles in the debris. He found the metal frames, but the round lenses were both missing.
“I heard it!” he muttered. “A fan blade breaking loose. One of the advantages of managing four test teams and attending all tests – not that Sanderson approves. You learn what to listen for! I lost my spectacles and I think some of the glass went in my eye. I can’t see!”

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Today’s News From: Rip – Find the Magic Key

indigo swatch— Brina is keelhauled. —

Brina didn’t remember what keelhauling was, but she decided she didn’t want to know.
Many of the ship’s crew stared at their feet while others dragged her to the bow.
“Do you think this a good idea?” she heard Devlin say to Brindley. “Suppose she dies? She probably will!”
“Then we won’t be docking in Tasman.”
“She’s only a woman!”
“Shut up Devlin. Do it now!”
The crewmen lowered Brina over the bow by the length of rope attached to her wrists while another sailor guided the other length of rope to the stern. He worked it under the moving ship’s hull and pulled it taught.
“Ready!” he yelled from the stern.
Six men lowered Brina to the crashing bow-waves, while three others hauled on the stern rope. Her feet touched the cold water, so she began to take deep breaths, taking her last a moment before her head went under. After that, she understood little of what happened, except that the sea battered her against the barnacle-studded planks of the hull and her lungs began to scream with the agony of asphyxiation. She held on as long as she could, feeling her chest convulse with its primitive urge to breath. The last thing she saw was a patch of light in the bottle-blue water behind her thrashing legs.
“You’re a lucky bitch!” a male voice said. “The Captain wouldn’t have revived anyone else but you!”

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blue swatch— Omah needs a shave. —

“I need a shave.”
“Let me show you. Take this off first.”
She tugged on the collar of his jumpsuit.
“Oh no! You’re not getting me naked that quick.”
“Ha! You’ll see us naked before too long. Don’t be shy.”
“No!”
“Alright! Just strip to the waist then.”
Omah unfastened the sticky front tab and peeled the smooth, metallic top down to his waist, rubbed his bare chest out of embarrassment and gave Archivist a lopsided grin.
Now look in the mirror and say, “Shave!”
“Shave! Hey! What’s this! I have a white mark on my chest. Like a key!”
“Yes. I thought it was kinda cute when we were shown your body in one of our first briefings.”
“Oh god! You mean you’ve seen me naked?”
“Sure! All of it. And you’re quite a healthy man.”
Omah blushed and replied.
“But what does this mark mean? Do you have it?”
“No. You’re the only one. We don’t know what it means. You had it when you came to u- … . Oh there, now you’re jumping the gun! Or making me! Let’s do the shave.”
“But wait a minute! At least it’s something not blue! And Controller; he seems very emotionless and blank. Are you all robots?”
Archivist’s laugh sounded like the delicate titter of a teenage girl.
“It sometimes feels like it.”
“Androids then? Cyborgs?”

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violet swatch— The handsome man wakes and starts a conversation with Sabrina. —

“Anyway, how did you get here? I guess you came from London.”
Ome stare at the floor while Sabrina replied:
“Barge. I came out of London on the Grand Union Canal. It seemed like a good idea, but I could only get to just after Aylesbury. In my naivety, I thought it went all the way to somewhere like Bristol.”
“And you had no map?”
“No.”
“Clever girl. So were there many barges moving on the canal?”
“Don’t call me girl. Do I look like I am still a girl?”
“Sorry. Just a figure of speech, a bad habit.”
“I saw none. Most had been looted and sunk. In places, it was difficult to get through. In fact, I had to change barges once or twice.”
Ome nodded and asked:
“Are you going to the shrine?”
“No. I just wanted somewhere safe. I thought I would find in an isolated farmhouse. But wherever you find one, you find an army willing to defend it.”
“Well, I am leaving today. I just want to clean up and then I’m off. You want to come with me? Back to London?”
“No. It’s too dangerous. Sorry.”
“It’s alright. I have to go.”
“Your English is perfect! For an Irishman.”
“Did I say I was born in Ireland now?” Ome replied.

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violet swatch— Sabrina reaches a camp in Wales and reads a strange story in a sleeping man’s notebook. —

I feel somebody is in the room so I try to open my eyes.
But, as sometimes happens when your mind is awake and your body is still asleep, try as I might, I could not open them.
I tried harder and harder, as I imagined footsteps approaching my bed.
A voice, deep inside my head screamed:
“Open!”
But I couldn’t do it.
In my dream, I levered myself out of the dirty sheets and dragged on my dirty clothes.
I became aware of distant alarms and rushing feet in the corridors outside. When I opened the door, I saw panic in the eyes of those running.
The hostel had its own infirmary and my legs dragged me there, for no reason I knew of.
I pushed open the double doors and strode into the small ward.
Empty
I pushed open the doors to the operating theatre without considering my action.
“Who are you? Get out!” screamed a doctor.
I couldn’t help staring at the body on the table; it looked like the flesh of the man, if a man he was, had been sucked out from the inside. Luminescence.
The body was no more than a husk. It was the alien’s alright, and I had to run.
With a last, terrifying effort of will I opened my eyes and saw only an empty room. The other five beds were unmade and empty, all except one. A man, whose name I did not know, slept on.

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violet swatch— Sabrina and her flatmate, Rani, see a weird advert on TV and have to take notes. —

The advert-break shocked Sabrina when it came, each commercial advert being separated by one which announced in white letters on a black background, ‘Government Health Advisory.’
A smart looking woman in one half of the screen announced:
“This is water.”
Sabrina watched a well-dressed mother on the right side of the screen pour water from a jug into a glass for her son. The family continued to pour and drink water for the rest of the advert.
“You need to drink a small cup of water every hour until two hours before you go to bed,” the woman on the left continued. “Fetch a piece of paper and a pen now. This Advisory will continue after the next commercial advert.”
Rani ran to the notepad hanging on the kitchenette wall, tore off a strip of paper and grabbed a biro from the worktop. After the next commercial advert the woman continued;
“Did you get the pen and paper? If you cannot find either, don’t worry. During the next advert break these instructions will be repeated. But you must follow them. If you have the paper and pen, write on the paper ‘Drink small cup of water every hour.’”
Rani scribbled the message in big letters.
The woman waited for thirty seconds before continuing:
“Have you done that? Good. Now put the piece of paper somewhere where you will see it all the time, or often; on the table in front of the television or kitchen sideboard will do. Remember not to remove the message at any time.”

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orange swatch— Jack doesn’t like the road ahead. He calls for the column to halt but a moment later, things get hairy. —

As Carla rumbled over the bridge Jack yelled:
“Stop!”
“What is it Jack?” Sprouts yelled back, when the tank had stopped.
“I don’t like it,” Jack replied. “It’s too quiet. No horses, no cows, no cars or wagons, no birds. Pull over Lucky! Get on the radi-…”
A flash of light caught his eye, straight ahead. He ducked, slamming the hatch closed and yelling, “Incomin- … !”
The tank rocked with the impact of an armour penetrating round. Everybody’s eyes closed, expecting their life to be snuffed out. A moment later they heard a ‘clang’ some way behind Carla, an explosion to their right, and the tank stopped rocking.
“What the fuck happened!” somebody yelled.
“Turn the tank Lucky!” Jack yelled.
The crew was as well-oiled as any crew in the US Army, so Lucky responded without thinking. The tank began to pirouette to the right, Lucky reversing one set of tracks and pushing the other forward as hard as he could.
“What the hell are you doin’?” Sprouts yelled.
Carla had almost turned round completely when they heard the whistle of another incoming round. An instant later, they were rocked again, but during that instant, Lucky had stamped on the throttle pedal and the tank had lurched ahead about six feet. Something smashed into the rear, right corner of the tank and explode, sending hot shards of metal into the main compartment. None hit the men. Carla continued to roll forward.

Rip-Find the Magic Key: 2nd longest Western novel at 1 M+ words. Subscribe bit.ly/LazloFerran | Buy Vol 1 bit.ly/ripvol1 | Understand more bit.ly/inforip