Trowchester Blues by Alex Beecroft Blog Tour, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

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Hiya peeps, we have Riptide Publishing’s Alex Beecroft and her newest release Trowchester Blues, we have a fantastic excerpt that I handpicked from Riptides site 😉 we have a fantastic giveaway and my review for you to check out, so enjoy the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! ❤ ~Pixie~ 

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 Trowchester Blues

 (A Trowchester Blues Novel 01)
 by

Alex Beecroft

Michael May is losing it. Long ago, he joined the Metropolitan Police to escape his father’s tyranny and protect people like himself. Now his father is dead, and he’s been fired for punching a suspect. Afraid of his own rage, he returns to Trowchester—and to his childhood home, with all its old fears and memories. When he meets a charming, bohemian bookshop owner who seems to like him, he clings tight.

Fintan Hulme is an honest man now. Five years ago, he retired from his work as a high class London fence and opened a bookshop. Then an old client brings him a stolen book too precious to turn away, and suddenly he’s dealing with arson and kidnapping, to say nothing of all the lies he has to tell his friends. Falling in love with an ex-cop with anger management issues is the last thing he should be doing.

Finn thinks Michael is incredibly sexy. Michael knows Finn is the only thing that still makes him smile. But in a relationship where cops and robbers are natural enemies, that might not be enough to save them.

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Excerpt

Thirty seconds after Smith knocked at the front door, the suspect threw open the back and charged out. Michael May, standing to one side waiting, kicked the guy’s knees out from under him, and moved in to try to seize an arm, get the bastard in a half nelson, under control.

But this guy—Watkins—was tougher than these white-collar city boys usually came. He took the fall like a pro, used the momentum to roll, and came up running. He was a wiry git, taller than May—most men were—with long legs. That damn kung fu fall set off all kinds of alarms in May’s head, but at this stage it was fight or lose him, and he was not going to let the bastard get away.

A wheelie bin in the narrow passage between the back of the house and the street slowed the perp up enough so May could throw himself at those long legs and rugby tackle him to the ground. Watkins went down, but he squirmed like an eel. May took a heel to the balls, and blessed his own foresight in wearing rugby protection down there. He held on tight, not wanting to walk his hold up the guy’s body and potentially give him a better angle to use his fists. Pinned by May’s considerable weight, facedown on the pavement, there wasn’t a lot the guy could do to him. May could lie here just fine until Reed or Smith got round to coming to help.

The perp tried rolling. No luck. He pushed himself up on his arms, trying with better leverage. Failed again. In terms of sheer physical force, May outclassed him easily.

“Nigel Howard Watkins”—this was an unusual position from which to make an arrest, but May wasn’t going to turn down anything that worked—“you are under arrest for—”

Watkins flopped flat. One of his long, flailing arms went to the back of his designer suit trousers. His jacket shifted, and there was the bulge of a gun stuffed down the back of his waistband.

May’s heart kicked up beneath his ribs. Fuck, every villain had a gun these days, and they hadn’t brought any armed officers with them. His mind went white and clear even as his lips tingled with cold adrenaline. Don’t let him draw it.

He punched Watkins in the kidney with his left hand, reached up with the right to try to grab for the gun. The moment his hold loosened, Watkins squirmed again, got one leg out from under him and kneed May in the ribs with it. May body-slammed the guy back to the pavement, swarmed up him, got his hand on Watkins’s hand just as it grasped the gun, and kept it pressed down hard against the guy’s back, so if he did pull the trigger, he’d shoot his own arse.

“May?” Acting Detective Constable Reed called from the exit to the road.

“Here! I could use a little help.”

The yard gate swung open. Reed—a tall, skinny kid who lived up to his name—ran through, pushed past the wheelie bin, and got his knees on Watkins’s shoulders.

“You’re not going anywhere, sir.” May managed to get his thumb on the pressure point of Watkins’s wrist. Watkins jerked like he knew exactly what May was doing, knew that as soon as May dug in there, his hand would go numb, he would let go of the gun, and it would be all over.

If the man was going to shoot at all, it would be now. And yes, the bullet would go through his own buttock on the way to tearing into May’s belly, lodging itself in his pelvis or his spine, but May would still be dead, and he’d be alive. Could he be tough enough for that? Tough enough to get another shot off afterwards, take Reed down too, and escape?

“You’re not going anywhere,” May said again, digging in to the pressure point with his fingers, pushing with his own resolve against Watkins’s determination. “Nigel Howard Watkins, you are under arrest for kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment of a minor.”

Watkins struggled against May’s hold, but his fingers opened involuntarily, and May wrenched the gun out of his hand, threw it out of reach. The high, shrill edge to May’s mood quietened down into a more familiar wariness. Okay, okay. Thank God, we’re all fine.

He breathed out hard, pushing the panic aside, and drew on the comforting blanket of routine. “You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

Reed passed him handcuffs. He snapped them on, breathed again two, three times before giving the ADC a smile. “Good work. Let’s get him up.”

The fight had gone out of their prisoner. He rose easily enough, stood between them meekly with his smart white shirt black all over with the exhaust residue and smut of London’s streets. Jermyn Street tailoring, gold watch, this season’s spiky City cut on his muddy-blond hair, manicured hands. Maybe with blood under the nails, they’d have to check.

“You can’t touch me,” he said, obviously trying for suave and not quite making it.

“You got him?” Smith appeared at the yard door, wiping her hands over and over against her jeans. Jenny Smith, May’s longtime partner, was hard and clear as diamond. His already queasy stomach—roiling with the comedown of that sudden flood of fight or flight—sank at the sight of her. Mouth pale, skin greenish, creases of strain between her eyebrows. It was bad.

“Bag the gun,” he replied, nodding to it.

She knelt down to do it, not looking at him, not looking at Watkins. “Is he going to be secure in the car? You should see inside.”

May could almost feel the confidence coming back to his prisoner, as if he were a vase being filled under a tap of it. Being physically overwhelmed and disarmed tended to knock even the most egotistical down a peg, but this guy was bouncing back from it with all the arrogance of his suit. He wasn’t going to sit still and be a good boy while he waited for the police to gather evidence.

“We’ll bring him.”

Inside the man’s house, it was glossy. A whole Victorian terrace house, not even split into flats. The ground floor was open plan, finished in pale wood, with a floating staircase up to the second and third floors. The bannisters were wrought iron. Nice and sturdy, so May used his own cuffs in addition to Reed’s and secured Walker there, each wrist cuffed to a different spoke.

Smith passed the bagged gun to Reed. “Stay here. Make sure he stays too.”

May caught Smith’s gaze and raised his eyebrows. Reed’s staying here?

She shoved a tendril of barley-sugar-coloured hair back into her plait and gave him a twist of the lips that said, ADC Reed is twenty-one. Too young for this. “I’ve already called for forensics, but you should see, so you can corroborate my evidence.”

The smell began halfway down the stairs to the cellar. Very clean stairs. They ended in a small stone room full of racks of wine. Not a speck of dust on the floor, probably because if there had been, the place where the far wall swung out to reveal a hidden room would have been obvious at a glance. May drew on gloves, though he didn’t intend to touch anything.

His educated nose picked up the bouquet of blood and burned flesh, layered with the fainter and yet more disturbing scents of semen and corpse. The energy of the fight had well and truly worn off now. His hands in his pockets shook no matter how hard he clenched them. He stopped where the false wall, cheerful with green bottles, still blocked his view, and closed his eyes for good measure.

“Jenny, I . . .”

But she was a woman and a mother. She’d seen everything he’d seen over their shared career. If she could take it, what kind of a pathetic excuse for a man did it make him that he could not?

Smith looked at him with a kind of cold fury that meant, You are not leaving this all to me. Pull yourself together, but what she said was, “No, you know, on second thoughts, why don’t you and Reed just take him in? I’ll wait for forensics.” And see, he was letting down his partner with his weakness. She’d have to go home at night and know she was the only one with this stuff in her head. She’d have no one to talk to about it, no one to understand the pain that came out as morbid jokes and obsessive hand washing and one too many beers on a Friday night, if you were lucky.

No one needed to tell him he’d been flaky lately. He knew he’d been unravelling for the better part of the last year. That didn’t mean he had to give in to it. He could try acting like a man and suck it up.

“Let me see,” he said. Didn’t miss her look of relief and guilt. No matter how concerned she might be about him, she didn’t want to be alone with this.

The victim was a fourteen-year-old girl. Quite dead. By the look of her, she’d been dead for a couple of days. Her wrists, where she’d been chained to the radiator, had melted into the metal. Stacey Merriweather: ran away from home after a family argument over her grades at school, failed to return.

Cameras on Platform 3 of Piccadilly Station had seen her sitting with her back to the wall, crying. A disconsolate little package of short skirt and Hello Kitty hairband. Had seen the camel-coated back of the kind gentleman who’d comforted her, and a flash of his pocket watch as he’d reached down to help her to her feet.

They’d traced that watch to waterfront properties, a high-powered job in the City, every luxury money could buy and then some. A slew of false names, this house belonging to one of them. And then they’d followed the trail down and down again to this room with its operating table and its instruments and its chains. To this corpse with its internal organs removed and placed in labelled jars. With its lips sewn shut and its eyes sewn open and a Hello Kitty hairband in its hair.

May thought he said something. Pretty sure the strangled noise was his voice. But he’d mostly lost himself, not quite following who was striding back up the stairs with Smith’s shouts chasing him and a head full of such rage that the skull had shattered under the pressure and the fury was smoking behind him in a tail like a dark comet.

Footsteps came running behind him, but he was in the living room now, looking at white furniture, deep white carpets like clouds. Looking at polish and varnish and golden autumn light slanting through high windows onto a monster in an Armani suit.

“Sir!” Reed squeaked as May reached out a lazy hand and shoved him aside.

Fingers tried to grab hold of his jacket from the back. “May! May! Michael! Listen to me.”

He twitched them aside, drew back, and punched Watkins straight in the gut, the satisfying impact reverberating through his knuckles into every bone of his body. How about he show the bastard what it was like when his internal organs were pulped?

Watkins tried to double over, still cuffed to the stair rods like a crucifixion. It brought his smug mouth down perfectly to the level of May’s fists, and May hit him twice more, splitting his lip, bloodying his nose, making spittle and blood fly. He grinned, fierce, righteous, because this was just what the guy deserved. No. He deserved more, so much more. May drew back his hand to strike again.

But something was stopping him from swinging. He tried his hardest, succeeded in unbalancing Smith and dragging her forwards, but she kept right on clinging to his arm as Reed’s long grasp locked around his waist and the ADC fought to pull him away.

May could have shaken them both off without much effort, but the contact, their grip, their concerned voices, started to wake up something human in him again. He was coming to after having been unconscious, all the madness that had been spiralling around his head contracting into a little black hole that he swallowed back down.

Just because the guy deserved this didn’t mean May could go around beating up defenceless citizens. He was not fucking Batman. He was better than this.

“Shit,” he said, appalled, and stepped away from the prisoner. “Shit. Jenny, Mark. I’m sorry.”

They let him go. Stood, looking at him with shocked and unsettled eyes, Jenny with that guilt back, all over her face like she somehow thought any of this was her fault.

Silence while it all sank in, and then Watkins raised his head and smiled. “I have friends in places so high you don’t even know they exist. I’m going to be fine. But you? I’m going to see you broken for police brutality at the least. At the very least.”

Check out more at Riptide: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/trowchester-blues Just click the excerpt tab.

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About Alex

Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.

Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.

Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.

Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.

Twitter: @Alex_Beecroft
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Giveaway!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for an e-book from Alex Beecroft’s backlist (excepting Trowchester Blues)

(Just leave a comment on this post with some way for the author to contact you)
Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
(Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 15th 2015)

Review

Alex Beecroft - Trowchester Blues 300x450Title: Trowchester Blues

Series: A Trowchester Blues Novel 01

Author: Alex Beecroft

Genre: Contemporary, Suspense

Length: Novel (273pgs)

ISBN: 978-1-62649-198-4

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (9th February 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Michael May is losing it. Long ago, he joined the Metropolitan Police to escape his father’s tyranny and protect people like himself. Now his father is dead, and he’s been fired for punching a suspect. Afraid of his own rage, he returns to Trowchester—and to his childhood home, with all its old fears and memories. When he meets a charming, bohemian bookshop owner who seems to like him, he clings tight.

Fintan Hulme is an honest man now. Five years ago, he retired from his work as a high class London fence and opened a bookshop. Then an old client brings him a stolen book too precious to turn away, and suddenly he’s dealing with arson and kidnapping, to say nothing of all the lies he has to tell his friends. Falling in love with an ex-cop with anger management issues is the last thing he should be doing.

Finn thinks Michael is incredibly sexy. Michael knows Finn is the only thing that still makes him smile. But in a relationship where cops and robbers are natural enemies, that might not be enough to save them.

Purchase Link: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/trowchester-blues

Review: Detective Constable Michael May has reached the end of his rope after coming across another act of deadly depravity, losing his temper leads to him having the choice of resigning or facing possible charges, Michael feels he has no choice but to resign because he might not stop next time. Returning to his home town for a new start Michael becomes enamoured with a book shop owner who has secrets. Fintan (Finn) Hulme used to be a fence but after a serious brush with the law he retired to Trowchester to turn over a new leaf and become legit, it’s worked for five years but just as he becomes involved with ex-cop Michael someone from his past tries to drag him back into the fencing game.

This is a great story of turning your life around, starting anew, facing the past and sticking to the right side of the law all while embarking on a new relationship. Michael’s grasp on his temper fails him when he sees a brutal act of depravity, it doesn’t go down too well seeing as he’s a DC in the Met. He fully admits that he is burnt out by the horrific things he has seen and resigns to return to the small city he grew up in where such things are few and far between and he can begin to cleanse his soul. Finn turned his back on his life of crime when a brush with the law coincided with the death of his lover, determined never to see the inside of a cell again he has reinvented himself as a bookshop owner and he enjoys the quite life he now has, even if at times he gets lonely. When these two men meet they find something in each other that appeals, but it won’t be easy as their past occupations collide.

I really enjoyed this story, we have a passionate bumpy romance with just a dash of danger and the added hint of thrills, we have two men from different sides of the law trying to find an even field to build a relationship on and then we have the outside factors like Michael helping a young homeless person to get back on their feet, Michael exorcizing the demons from his childhood and working out what to do with his life. We have Finn’s strong determination to stay honest with just a slight blip into dishonesty; it all makes for a very interesting and entertaining story.

The writing style is brilliantly woven, we become invested in both Michael and Finn and also, surprisingly, the young homeless person and Michael’s teenage next door neighbour. Finn and Michael’s relationship is kinda sweet and moves quite fast, Finn likes just a touch of pain and Michael can provide it in his unique way (pretty hot!), surprisingly they make a great couple with Finn seeming a bit flighty and quirky while Michael seems more steadfast and stodgy but they make it work really well. Finn’s determination to stay on the straight and narrow is admirable but the poor guy faces dangerous opposition from those who want to use him as a fence, Michael’s support is sweet (when he regains his temper) even as Finn’s fear and anger drives him. Overall the story has some twists and turns, a great relationship being built and a future being forged in the wake of the past being laid to rest.

I recommend this to those who love opposites attracting, facing trouble and danger head on, confronting the past to move forward, a blossoming relationship, hot sex, a great storyline and a very happy ending for all.

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Check out the other blogs on the blog tour

February 9, 2015 – Smut Book Club
February 9, 2015 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy
February 9, 2015 – The Blogger Girls
February 9, 2015 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews
February 10, 2015 – Sinfully Sexy Books
February 10, 2015 – Boys In Our Books
February 10, 2015 – Prism Book Alliance
February 10, 2015 – Love Bytes
February 10, 2015 – Cup O’ Porn
February 11, 2015 – My Fiction Nook
February 11, 2015 – The Novel Approach
February 11, 2015 – Smoocher’s Voice
February 12, 2015 – TTC Books and More
February 12, 2015 – Nautical Star Books
February 13, 2015 – MM Good Book Reviews
February 13, 2015 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
February 13, 2015 – Crystal’s Many Reviewers
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