Sunday, 27 October 2019

I'm Crazy For You

The Pewter Wolf's going all green with this stop on the Crazy for You tour! yes, T.S. Hunter and Red Dog are back and they want to let you know about the fourth book in the Soho Noir series, Crazy for You

Now, the plan was for me to read the first and second instalments - Tainted Love and Who's That Girl - before this stop actually happened. I read the third - Careless Whisper - a few months back. August, I believe. And I had such a fun weekend reading it (link to that reaction post is here). But real life and near reading slumps threw me through the ringer this month so bear with me as I try and tempted you with this. 

London's Soho in 1987 is in the grip of another hot summer, and while temping at his local pub, The Red Lion, Joe somehow finds himself agreeing to find the missing girlfriend of Tony "The Lizard" Lagorio. It's Tony's daughter, Antonia, who comes to Joe, fearing that daddy's girlfriend has been kidnapped by a rival gangster. 

But it looks like the girlfriend's very rich father is already asking Joe and business partner, Russell, to find his daughter via his client (and Russell's maybe boyfriend), Freddie Gillespie. It looks like everyone wants to keep this out of the public eye. 

But as Joe and Russell try and the find the missing girlfriend and stop a gang turf war from happening, a face from Freddie's past has appeared and could easily make Freddie lose his job and his relationship with Russell... 

Everyone needs to watch their step. It's a very thin line between love and war... 

I am thrilled that Red Dog asked if I could show an extract of Crazy for You. As you can guess, I am trying to go into this series blind and I heard rumours that there might be a physical bind-up of the whole series out in time for Christmas as I am thinking of treating self to this beast! 

Now, before I hand you over to the extract, I want to thank Dylan at Red Dog for asking if I wanted to be involved (hell yeah!). If you want to know more about TS, you can pop over to his Twitter - @TSHunter5 - or bark at Red Dog Press at @reddogtweets. If you want to know more about Crazy for You or the rest of the Soho Noir novellas, pop over to Red Dog's website

Now, over to TS!
Charlotte Fenwick jumped off the bed at the sound of her father’s footsteps approaching on the stairs. Not the sound so much—that couldn’t be heard over the strains of Madonna’s latest album—but the heavy-footed thumping was unmistakable. And if he caught Kieran in here, he would go mad.
“Get up,” she said, hurriedly slipping the ashtray out of the window and onto the gutter above. “He can’t find you here.”
“Where am I supposed to go?” Kieran asked, pulling on his T-shirt and grabbing his shoes, while Charlotte misted the air with a burst of body spray—Impulse. Girls loved it.
“Quickly,” Charlotte said, bundling him towards a huge pile of stuffed animals in the corner of her bedroom.
“I’m not hiding in that lot. I’m not bloody ET.”
“Shut up,” she hissed, clearing a space behind an oversized teddy and pushing Kieran into it. He wasn’t a big lad—so long as he didn’t move, they’d get away with it. “Just get down and stay still.”
He was still muttering as she loaded the toys up on top of him—her childhood collection of Care Bears and other cuddlies that she just hadn’t been able to bring herself to part with. Not because she had any sentimental attachment to them, but because they helped her keep up the pretence of being Daddy’s little girl, which was essential. Especially right now.
She was still clutching a small pink pony when her father opened the door, his tanned face red from the exertion of stomping up the stairs. Charles Fenwick was not a man accustomed to having to do things himself.
“Will you turn that racket down? Right now! You’re upsetting your mother.”
Charlotte looked down at the soft toy still clutched in her hand and gently placed it on the pile. A risk, of course, but that was half the fun, wasn’t it?
Ironically, Madonna had started beseeching her own Papa not to preach on the stereo, and Charlotte sang the line at her father as she crossed the room to lower the volume. As it turned out, she was in trouble, deep. If only she could tell him. Would facing his rage be better than the alternative she now faced?
“Sorry,” she said, sullenly. Not sorry.
“Have you been smoking in here?” he asked, stepping into the room, nose aloft like a gun dog on point.
“No, Daddy,” she said innocently, grateful for the Polo Mints she always ate after each cigarette. “You know I hate smoking. It must be coming from Mummy’s room.”
She was nineteen, nearly twenty. An adult, for God’s sake. Why did she still have to bow to his stupid rules? If she wanted to smoke, why shouldn’t she?
She had asked, countless times now, for her allowance to be extended so that she could move out, get a small flat in Soho, where all her friends were. But Daddy Dearest wasn’t having any of it.
She would get access to her trust fund when she turned twenty-one and not a day before. Unless, of course, she agreed to marry whichever dull but eligible bachelor her father managed to line up, in which case she would get it straight away.
Even the promise of an instant fortune hadn’t ever been worth tying herself into a lie of a marriage like her parents had. Although, right now, she was almost desperate enough to go along with the idea.
What her father didn’t know was that she had already spent quite a lot of her trust fund before she’d even got it and, having taken loans against it from some very dodgy guys, she knew there was no way they would wait a year and a half for her to pay them back.
“What are you doing up here, anyway?” he asked, looking around suspiciously. Charlotte tried not to look at the pile of toys in the corner. Her father wasn’t a stupid man but, where his little girl was concerned, he didn’t always want to see the truth.
“Just having some quiet time,” she said, smiling as sweetly as she could at him.
“Not with that racket on,” he pointed at the stereo, where the graphic equaliser still flashed and bounced in time to the now barely audible track.
“It’s not a racket, Daddy,” she said, plonking herself down on the bed. “It’s Madonna. Besides, I don’t feel well.”
He turned from the window, suddenly concerned. It worked every time.
“What’s the matter? Shall I call a doctor?”
“No, silly,” she said, hugging a cushion across her stomach and looking up at him with big eyes. “It’s girl trouble.”
She saw his face flush. This would surely get rid of him now. If there was one thing her father absolutely couldn’t talk about with her, it was her periods.
“I’ll get your mother, shall I?”
“Don’t be daft, I’m fine. It just hurts, that’s all. I was just lying here and listening to some music to cheer myself up. I’m so bored, and everything hurts, and I feel fat and icky.”
She could hear her own voice, sickly sweet and sing-song. The childish tone she reserved for wrapping her father round her little finger.
He sat gently on the edge of the bed and took her hand, looking at her with such love in his eyes. It was cruel to play him like this, but needs must. And, right now, she needed a bit of a fighting fund.
“How about,” he said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his wallet. “You go and get yourself something nice to wear for Saturday night?”
So predictable.
“You know we’ve got the Ramplings coming for dinner. Their son Edward is back from University. They’re very keen for you two to meet again.”
“Oh, I don’t know, Daddy,” she said, still laying it on thick. “I’m not sure I feel like shopping today.”
She watched him peel a few notes from the stack in his wallet. It worked every time—but that wouldn’t be anywhere near enough.
“Although,” she continued. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to make a good first impression on Edward. Maybe I could go to Sergio’s and get my hair done nicely too. He does half-price on Wednesdays.”
His eyes rolled, but his fingers barely hesitated. Nodding, he peeled off another couple of fifties and handed the folded notes to her. Holding her hand in his for just a moment.
“That should be enough,” he said. “But you’ve got your credit card too, haven’t you?”
“Of course,” she beamed. “But I know you don’t like me using it. This will be fine. I can economise.”
The truth was, her credit card was already maxed out and if her father found that out, he would probably cut her off altogether.
He sighed heavily, opened his wallet again and took out the rest of the notes.
“Look, that’s all I’ve got in cash,” he said, handing it over with the resignation of a man who knew he’d been played but didn’t know what to do about it. “And I expect some change out of that, young lady.”
His tone was soft though—he never expected change. She reached up and kissed his cheek.
“Thank you, Daddy,” she said, saccharine rather than sugar.
He smiled, standing up.
“And if I catch you smoking in here again, I’ll take your allowance away altogether,” he said, turning his back on her and walking out of the room.
He was definitely not a stupid man, but she was his Achilles’ heel—he just didn’t know how to tell her off. And she knew it.
He turned in the doorway, hand on the door knob.
“And make sure you get something appropriate this time, alright?” he said. “These are important people, and I want them to see you at your best. Edward is a good man. Excellent prospects.”
Her best, in his eyes, would be something demure and pretty. Something feminine. Frumpy. She knew he was hoping that there would be some convenient match with Edward Rampling. But that was never going to happen, no matter what she wore. He was not her type. He was a boy, for a start.
“Of course,” she replied. “I love you.”
He had already turned away, letting the door swing closed behind him. He didn’t reply. She did love him, though.
For all his controlling, pompous, pseudo-aristocratic behaviour, he was a good man who loved his daughter. He just had no idea who she really was.
He would probably be devastated if he found out the half of it, but he’d get over it because he loved her. What he wouldn’t get over, and Charlotte knew that with unerring certainty, was finding out that she’d spent all of her trust fund on partying and drugs for herself and her friends, and now had nothing to show for it.
Charles Fenwick had worked hard for his money and he had tried to raise his daughter to be as cautious and prudent as he was. He had failed. Life was just too exciting, and excitement cost money. Besides, she had a reputation to uphold.
She felt the notes burning in her palm. Seven hundred pounds should be enough. Just about. It would have to be.
“Jesus, you’ve got some nerve,” Kieran tutted, extricating himself from the pile of cuddly toys. “What was all that ‘love you, Daddy’ crap?”
His impersonation of her little girl voice was spot on.
“Well, it got me this, didn’t it?”
She waved the sheaf of notes at him and saw his eyes light up.
“Sure, that’s grand,” he said, eyes glinting greedily.
“Yes, and it’s mine,” she said, tucking the notes into the pocket of her jeans.
Kieran was a good friend but, admittedly, a bad influence. He was like that little devil on her shoulder that kept telling her to have fun. She knew she shouldn’t listen to him, but she didn’t want people to think she was boring. That’s what had got her in this mess in the first place.
“Come on, let’s go,” she said, hurrying him towards the bedroom door.
“Shall I not go out the window?” he asked, nervously.
“You’re not the bloody Milk Tray Man,” she sneered. “Besides, he’ll be back in his office with the door closed now. He’s done his parenting for the day.”
She led Kieran down the long, sweeping staircase and, having checked that her father’s study door was indeed closed, she took his hand and they dashed across the wide entrance hall, giggling as they let the front door swing closed behind them.
Had she looked back over her shoulder, she would have noticed that they were being followed. And had she noticed, perhaps everything would have been different.
Instead, Charlotte linked her arm through Kieran’s, laughing, and they set off without a backward glance.

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