Here is an excerpt from my next book,Lucky Portbraddon; I’m in the final stages of editing it and beginning now to think about the cover, layout, index etc.
Here is a short except; Alex Portbraddon has been betrayed by his wife Alison, and his cousin Antoine, who is now the enemy. Alex is anxiously waiting for Ismène who is writing his grandmother’s biography, to arrive to begin work. The Portbraddon family which had seemed so strong and united seems to be falling apart as one disaster and rupture follows after another.
Alex sat very still watching the bird on the bird table. It was a small rather drab little thing with a rosy hue; he had a fancy it was a waxwing. It suddenly stopped and then cocked its head, turning its pointy little beak towards him as if it could see him through the window. It twitched its head from side to side; a friend of his grandmother had a similar mannerism when she disapproved of something, usually him.
His grandmother had been heading towards sixty when his parents had died. To lose her favourite son and daughter-in-law and then to take on the care of their four year old orphan… must have been so hard. He thumped his fist on the table. The bird shook its head again, turned its back and flew away.
Alex went to the window and tried to see it. His phone rang; it was Ismène and he glanced at his watch. She was late… Supposing she was ill, or not coming for some other reason? His anxiety soared. To be on his own in this empty mausoleum of a house, a sepulchre for his marriage…
“Alex, dear, how are you?” she always enquired in her open way which could allow him to tell the truth, or not. “Look I can’t come this morning, I’m in Castair… there has been a massive emergency.”
The waxwing was back on the table, standing on the very edge seeming to stare at Alex, its little head poked forward as if to better hear what he was saying.
His heart jumped… Alison! The girls!
“She’s fine, and the children, so don’t worry,” she was speaking softly almost whispering as she told him the latest family disaster.
He sat shocked, slumped back in his chair as Ismène explained.
“Is there anything I can do? Anything at all?” he asked in a firm voice.
Ismène thanked him and said she would ring back when things were clearer.
A jackdaw was on the bird table now, strutting about as if making a speech. Alex could imagine the bird declaring “…and another thing, fellow avians, the standard of food upon this table has seriously deteriorated of late...” the odd crust, the occasional bacon rind, it was clearly not good enough
His thoughts scurried and then he had a blinding flash of inspiration, a masterstroke to put Antoine right onto the back foot…
He stood up decisively, snatched up his keys and jacket and left the house.
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