Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Paranormal

When the Time is Right by Kim Cano 5*#Review @KimCano2 @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BookTour #BlogTour #BookReview #MurderMystery #Psychic #Animals #WhentheTimeisRight

 

A bond so strong that the gate to Rainbow Bridge can’t hold it back.

As veterinarian Michelle Catalano helps other people’s ailing animals earn their angel wings, she tries not to think about the empty cat perch in her own home. Or the empty side of her bed, grown cold since her boyfriend left town.

Then a pet psychic’s uncannily accurate reading leaves Michelle with more questions than the answers she thought were set in stone. And warnings so dark, she wishes she still had her cat at her side to cuddle the fear away.

When a brutal murder devastates Michelle and her family, the detective working the case is her only anchor. And soon, she’s turning to Bruce for the comfort that could heal her broken heart.

But there are too many unanswered questions about the killer, causing Michelle to secretly investigate on her own. Will Michelle’s search for answers spell her doom, or deliver help from the animal afterlife above?

A note from the author 

I want to let you know that animals die in this book. Some people have problems with that, so I just wanted to mention it upfront. The main character is a hospice veterinarian, and although readers go with her to work on and off, it’s not the main focus of the novel. I was inspired to write a book about a hospice veterinarian after my husband and I had a veterinarian come to our home to put our elderly cat with cancer to sleep. (He is the cat on the book cover). After the veterinarian left, we grieved, and I kept thinking about her, wondering how she could be strong enough to do what she does for a living. I felt that she was the kind of hero I hadn’t read about, and a story started to form in my mind, and I wrote When the Time Is Right. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an unusual story for those who like stories where animal characters feature and enjoy a murder mystery. There are elements of the paranormal in this story, and it’s an emotional read.

Michelle has a job that takes its toll emotionally and demands an empathetic nature towards animals and their humans. Grieving the loss of her cat companion, and her human boyfriend, she approaches a medium for a psychic reading. The results are disturbing, and when a tragic event occurs, she needs the support of her cat, if only in spirit.

This is a well-thought murder mystery with a psychic twist. It explores the emotions surrounding the sudden loss of a loved one, and that love can transcend death. The plot flows well, the characters are relatable, and the paranormal elements give depth to the plot.

Kim Cano

Kim Cano is the author of five women’s fiction novels: A Widow Redefined, On the Inside, Eighty and Out, His Secret Life, and When the Time Is Right. Readers say her books are about strong women who struggle but survive, hard-won second chances, family life, and friendship.

Kim has also written a short story collection called For Animal Lovers. 10% of the sale price of that book is donated to the ASPCA® to help homeless pets.

Visit Kim’s website to receive a free copy of The Rescue: www.kimcano.com

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Giveaway, Mystery, Thriller

Incognito Michael Winson @michaelwinson4 3*#Review @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BookTour #CrimeFiction #Conspiracy #Thriller #Detective #Mystery #Incognito

Betrayal deserves vengeance….Redemption needs sacrifice 

Still reeling from leading a disastrous raid, SO15 anti-terror officer Lisa Reid is grateful for an easy assignment this time out; identify and bring in a target thought to have information on a fugitive cell leader

There is no such thing as a routine job for Lisa though, and a devastating chain of events quickly plunges her, and her partner Will, into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with thousands of lives hanging in the balance

As the scale of the threat is revealed, and the body count starts to rise, the pair have to make choices that could cost their partnership, if not their lives. But one of them has a deadly agenda all of their own, and as the man that’s been pulling all the strings steps out of the shadows to choreograph his masterpiece, that could end up costing a lot more…..

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is essentially a good thriller with a contemporary edge and believable characters.

The plot appears to rely on actual events rather more than is comfortable to read, which may be upsetting for some. Lisa, the main protagonist, is an interesting character, a little stereotypical, but there is lots of potential for character development, as the series progresses.

The author achieves a good balance of characterisation whilst moving the story forward effectively. I would like to see Lisa’s character develop in a believable way and more originality in the plot.

Michael Winson

I am a proud Dad to 4 strong and bright boys of whom I’m immensely proud. I live in Northamptonshire with my beautiful wife Lisa, the inspiration for the lead character in my first book Incognito.

In my day job I work in financial services, a ‘Fixer’ of sorts I deal with everything from phone routing through to in-depth data analysis and customer engagement strategy. Exciting I know!

It was on one of the more tedious commutes into central London that the kernel of an idea came to me. With some nurturing, this idea grew to become my first book, INCOGNITO.

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing. I always felt that I could do it and I’m not one to back away from anything so, once I had the idea formed, I took a week off work, locked myself out of the way of the kids and got to it. That was the base done, then it was just months of edits and re-edits, countless knock-backs from agents and publishers (rite of passage, I’m telling myself) and eventually I was happy to publish what you can see here.

I’ve learned more from self-publishing than I could’ve ever hoped, and the next books in this series, and the ones to follow that are already niggling at me, will be all the better for it.

I don’t expect my life to change as a result of writing my first book, but I love the idea of someone other than me enjoying something that I’ve created, and so far the reviews and feedback have been great.

Giveaway on Twitter by Love Books Tours for an Audiobook copy of Incognito

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Medical Romance, Romance

You’ll See Jesse Bhaird 3* #Review @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #BookTour #BookReview #JesseBhaird #Contemporary#Romance #medicalromance #MondayBlogs

How far would you go to help the ones you love? How far would you go to prevent them from feeling pain? Now, how far would you go to save yourself?

Life was supposed to be straightforward for Cass Wilkes. After finishing college she’d secured a job that most dreamt of, but never came close to. Her career as a surgeon would be her identity, her armour. Her rank would speak for itself so she wouldn’t have to. But what happens when a crack forms in the life you’ve built? When something completely out of your control, something you could never have planned for threatens to upend everything you’ve worked so hard for? What happens when you can’t touch the threat?

When the call for help comes from her best friend, Cass makes the easy decision to leave London behind for a while, holding out hope that things will be back to normal when she returns.

Expecting to find solace in a new project that’s worlds apart from the stress and responsibility of her normal job, what she doesn’t expect is to be presented with the prospect of a completely new start. She takes refuge in a big city thousands of miles from home, that unbeknownst to her, will show her real love, true loss, and fill her with utter hope. During her time in San Francisco, Cass will be tasked to overcome the things she never knew were chasing her.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is a contemporary medical romance with well-developed characters and a relatable medical theme. It’s an easy read, relatively concise and fast-paced. The friendship to romance trope progresses quickly, but this is understandable given the time the couple have together.

This book is the perfect read to escape to another world with believable characters and a popular medico-romance theme.

Jesse Bhaird was born and raised in Ireland although currently resides in Canada. She is a Trinity College Dublin graduate – where she studied nothing related to writing! As a full-time health care professional, her newfound joy is writing. When not found working, adulting or reading, she can be found outside herding small children and a large dog (all hers) and loves to escape to the mountains when she can for snowboarding in the winter.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime

The Comfort of Distance Ryburn Dobbs 4*#Review #BookTour #RyburnDobbs #CrimeFiction #Detective #SebastienGrey #TheComfortofDistance #BookReview #ForensicAnthropology

Sgt Hank LeGris stares down at the crushed and gaping skull in the dirt. It’s the second time in just a few weeks that human remains have been found in the Black Hills. Citizens are getting restless. Is it a rogue mountain lion, as many people suspect? Or something even more sinister?

Sebastien Grey is a brilliant forensic anthropologist with debilitating social phobia. When he is asked by his estranged brother to come to South Dakota and help identify who, or what is leaving body parts scattered across the county, he discovers much more than the cause of these strange deaths.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a fascinating detective story with quirky yet relatable characters and forensic anthropological details. The discovery of a human skull adds credence to the fear that mountain lions are attacking humans, but Sgt Hank LeGris doesn’t think so. Despite their estrangement, he calls his brother forensic anthropologist Sebastien Grey sure he can help solve the mystery.

Sebastien Grey has mental health issues which define him, at least in his eyes, but he is sure of his forensic skills and decides to honour his brother’s request. The story follows detailed forensic and police investigation into the missing human remains and the mountain lions.

The detective team have a believable dynamic with a good balance of personal life and investigation details. The plot has twists and concludes realistically, but it’s Sebastien and his forensic anthropological knowledge that gives this book its originality and addictive quality.

Ryburn Dobbs

Ryburn Dobbs taught biological anthropology and forensic anthropology at several colleges throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and spent ten years as a forensic anthropologist, working dozens of death investigations. In addition to his anthropological pursuits, Ryburn also worked as an investigative analyst specializing in homicides and unsolved cases. The Comfort of Distance is Ryburn’s first novel and the first in the Sebastien Grey series. For more information about Ryburn, his blog, and updates on new books please visit www.ryburndobbs.com.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Harper’s Highland Fling by Lizzie Lamb 4*#Review @lizzie_lamb @lovebooksgroup #HarpersHighlandFling #lovebookstours #Romance #BookTour #BookReview

After a gruelling academic year, headteacher Harper MacDonald is looking forward to a summer holiday trekking in Nepal. However, her plans are scuppered when wayward niece, Ariel, leaves a note announcing that’s she’s running away with a boy called Pen. The only clue to their whereabouts is a footnote: I’ll Be in Scotland. Cue a case of mistaken identity when Harper confronts the boy’s father – Rocco Penhaligon and accuses him of cradle snatching her niece and ruining her future. At loggerheads, Harper and Rocco set off in hot pursuit of the teenagers, but the canny youngsters are always one step ahead. And, in a neat twist, it is the adults who end up in trouble, not the savvy teenagers. Fasten your seatbelt for the road trip of your life! It’s going to be a bumpy ride!  

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a well-written romance with two likeable relatable characters and a cross country adventure to find their missing teenagers. The characters are believably flawed, and the chemistry between them builds realistically. The dialogue is clever and often humorous. The road trip setting works well bringing the protagonists up close and personal in an authentic way. The author brings people and places alive using vivid imagery, giving the story authenticity and depth.

A humorous, romantic adventure with an unlikely couple whose emotional journey mirrors the miles they travel between Cornwall and Scotland.

With Scottish, Irish, and Brazilian blood in her veins, it’s hardly surprising that Lizzie Lamb is a writer. She even wrote extra scenes for the films she watched as a child and acted out in the playground with her friends. She is ashamed to admit that she kept all the good lines for herself. Luckily, she saves them for her readers these days. Lizzie’s love of writing went on hold while she pursued a successful teaching career, finishing up as a Deputy Headteacher of a large primary school. Since deciding to leave the profession to realise her dream of becoming a published novelist, Lizzie hasn’t looked back. She wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted – which echoes her love of her homeland in every page, not to mention heroes in kilts – and published it. Lizzie loves the quickfire interchange between the hero and heroine – like in old black and white Hollywood movies – and hope this comes over in her writing.  

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Non-Fiction, Parenting and Famlies

What the World Needs Now – Trees! Cheryl Rosebush 5* #Review @cherylrosebush @freshly_press @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours Illustrator Zuzana Svobodova #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #Ecology #SaveThePlanet #BookTour #BookReview #WhatTheWorldNeedsNowTrees

What the World Needs Now is an environmental children’s book series for ages 4-8 that aims to connect the world’s youngest book lovers to the importance of nature, and our place in it.

Each book in the series follows a friendly animal through its habitat, helping kids learn about one thing the world needs now, be it more trees or bees or less plastic, to maintain a healthy planet.

The series is designed to help parents and educators lay the foundation for future learning on the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. But for our littlest kids, the connection starts at a much simpler point: their first job is to fall in love with nature – because you don’t protect what you don’t love. 

The books support engaging with our kids on how we can better respect and care for the only planet we have.  

This is a brand-new adventure for me – completely independent and self-published! And it feels like the culmination of everything I have ever worked on.


When was the last time you bought a book that offset its own carbon emissions and preserved critically threatened rainforests? So proud to say that when you buy “What the World Needs Now: Trees!”, you will be doing just that.

Meet Jefri! He’s the adorable main character in the first book of my series called What the World Needs Now: Trees!. He was created by my talented illustrator Zuzana Svobodova. For me, it was love at first sight! 

I knew I wanted my first book in the series to be about trees, and after my World Bank mission to Sumatra in 2019, I knew I wanted my main character to be an orangutan. They literally have everything to lose by tropical forest loss. And since they share so similarities to humans, I thought an orangutan would be the perfect animal to underscore the ways in which we are all connected to trees. 

Watch this amazing video to see Jefri come to life!

Order at YPD Books

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This picture book’s bright illustrations and cute characters will enchant young children engaging their interest in nature and making them realise that they need to protect what they love.

Jefri the Orangutan shows children his rainforest and the trees there. The life-giving nature of trees is explained and emphasised so that children realise their importance to all living things, including humanity. The consequences of cutting down too many trees and the importance of planting more and varied trees, to protect the rainforest, are shown in an easy to understand way. The book demonstrates the fragility of the ecosystem well. Although aimed at children, the book has a message relevant to adults too.

Cheryl Rosebush

I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada in the cities of Burlington and St. Catharines. Long before the internet and mobile phones (now I’m aging myself!), my childhood was spent in forests and parks, on bike rides, and playing hide and seek until the streetlights came on. My family did comical Griswold-style road trips in wood-paneled station wagons. We spent summers swimming in friends’ backyards. These are my very fortunate roots.

I knew from an early age that my destiny would take me far from Southern Ontario. I graduated high school and moved to Montreal to study international politics at McGill University. The subject fascinated me, but as graduation approached, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with a degree in international politics. I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I didn’t want to become a politician or civil servant. The media industry, on the other hand, intrigued me. 

The West Coast of Canada also intrigued me. So, after graduating McGill, I packed up again, moved to Vancouver and took the first media job I could get at a local Top 40 radio station (Z.95.3) in Vancouver. Best job. Great bosses. I learned so much. But after a couple of years there, the winds of change came calling again. 

September 11, 2001. In a heartbeat, Z95.3 went from playing Britney Spears to reporting up-to-the-minute information on the local, national and international fallout of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In that moment, I knew I had found my calling. I wanted to do something that was needed on a good day, and needed even more on a bad day. I wanted to become a full-time journalist. 

So, I packed my bags again (a running theme in my life), and moved to Ottawa, Ontario to do my Masters of Journalism. Another incredible two years culminated in me getting a research internship with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) in London, England. That position helped me land back in Montreal for a second chapter there as local news reporter for the CBC. While I was there, I wore just about every hat you could in CBC’s radio and TV newsrooms. Depending on the day, I was a researcher, producer, reporter, or online writer. I even filled in for the weather reports every once in a while.

Website

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Poetry

The Coconut Girl by Sunita Thind 4*#Review @sunitathind @wildpressed #poetry @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #TheCoconutGirl #BookTour #BlogTour #BookReview

The Coconut Girl is a collection of poems containing material that is from the Indian, female point of view with an insight into Punjabi culture. We also follow the author through the hallucinogenic state of the brain following cancer treatment and in her experience of life in multicultural Britain.The protagonist in the poems is at the same time deeply vulnerable and strongly independent. Overall her strength of character shines throughThe Coconut Girl features poetry of deep imagery, not least in some of the poems exploring the experience of the female body post-operatively, such as in My Womb Is A Park Of Carnage.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from WildPressed Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts….

For a small book, this contains impactful material written in a lyrical, personal style. There’s a story running through the book, a young girl and then woman’s perspective of her culture, family and lifestyle. The cultural references make this intrinsically interesting to readers. The poetry is honest and raw and sometimes disturbing, written using vivid sensory imagery and vulnerability.

The intensely individual observations of Cancer, treatment and the aftermath are haunting and poignant. The disparity in the poet’s culture between arranged marriage and western lifestyle is starkly portrayed and powerful, written by someone within it.

This book is an insightful, intense exploration of cultural expectations, family, illness and what it’s like to be a woman between two cultures, it’s fascinating, heartbreaking and thought-provoking.

Sunita Thind

SUNITA THIND is a Bedford born Derby-based published female, Asian British BAME poet and writer. Her debut collection of multicultural poetry (Black Pear Press, 2020) focused on living between two cultures, British and Punjabi. Sunita is a workshop facilitator, speaker and performance poet. She has had poetry and short stories published in various literary magazines, e-zines and journals.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Paranormal

Hunted by Sarah Biglow and Molly Zenk @SBiglowWrites @UnsinkableMoZe @CayellePub @lovebooksgroup 4* #Review #lovebookstours #Hunted #paranormal #romance #Althistory #Vampire

On the hundredth anniversary of being turned into a vampire, Edith Dorset joins her adopted daughters and their friends at the Heartsong Clan’s annual Live Action Role Play recruitment event where she meets an eager young man named Dan Paxton. His older brother and Hunter, Darren, thinks Dan’s merely chaperoning a trip to a nerd convention, but has no idea he’s partnered with vampires for the weekend. 

When Darren discovers Dan missing, he follows the only lead he has to the Heartsong Clan’s residence on Tombstone Row. Edith and Darren’s first meeting is uneasy because he lies his way into the Clan’s house, claiming to be there to play on the side of humans. He’s determined to keep his Hunter instincts in check, rescue his brother, and get it out of there. 

An impromptu late-night encounter leads Darren and Edith to come clean with each other about who and what they are. Edith longs to keep Darren and his brother close, although it goes against Clan rules, and Darren is finding it harder than he thought to snuff out Edith and her family. Darren and Edith grow closer as they seek out the truth from her Sire, Mr. Heartsong.

While Darren uses all his Hunter skills to free his brother and be the hero, Mr. Heartsong banishes Edith from the Clan for her behavior towards Darren. No longer having Clan protection, Edith is faced with a terrible choice. Just as Darren returns with Hunter reinforcements, Heartsong and his Clan have vanished, along with Edith and her family. All that remains is a note from Edith, begging Darren to find them. And so, the hunt begins.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the authors in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

It seems like vampires and all things paranormal are enjoying a resurgence in popular fiction at the moment, and this story is a promising start to the series. Clever world-building and relatable characters drive a plot with mystery, romance and family at its heart.

The fast-paced story increases the tension and keeps you turning the pages. The writing makes good use of sensory imagery and draws the reader into the world of vampires, hunters and the supernatural.

USA Today Bestselling Authors Sarah Biglow and Molly Zenk are the authors of the Captivity series and the Celestial Academy series. Independently, they write across multi genres including: YA, urban fantasy, historical, and cozy mystery. Sarah lives in Boston with her husband and son. Molly lives in Denver with her husband and three daughters. 

Facebook @SarahBiglowAuthor Facebook @AuthorMollyZenk

Forthcoming titles in this series:

Allied: Book 2

Fated: Book 3

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller

Carrion Graeme Cumming 4* #Review @GraemeCumming63 @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Carrion #Fantasy #Adventure #noir #BlogTour #BookReview

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY. WORDS HAVE POWER.

A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal. And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This noir fantasy adventure takes the reader on a journey in an intricately built world. There is enough familiarity in the setting to make it relatable, but the story is vivid, filled with fantastical creatures and manifestations of good and evil.

The prologue entices the reader into the story and introduces the antagonist and the birds who are so important. The protagonists are diverse and believable because of their flawed characters. Salin, the leader of the quest, is courageous and tenacious, but for him, the end justifies the means even when it leads others into danger.

There are some graphic images in this story which reinforce the depravity of the antagonist, and backstory that illuminates why they are evil. Like all fantasy stories, you have to believe the world, and be invested in the quest. With carefully reading, this is easy with this story.

Graeme Cumming lives in Robin Hood country, and has spent most of his life immersed in fiction – books, TV, movies – turning to writing his own during his early teens.

With his interests in story-telling sparked by an excessive amount of time sitting in front of a black and white television, his tastes are varied. Influences ranged from the Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, etc.) to ITC series (The Saint, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and so many more), so the common theme was action and adventure, but crossed into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as crime and espionage.

This diverse interest in fiction continued with his reading and his discovery of the magical world of cinema. As a result, his stories don’t always fall into a specific genre, but will always maintain the style of a thriller.

Graeme’s first novel, Ravens Gathering, was published in 2012, gaining excellent reviews and a committed following. His second novel, Carrion, was published in 2020, and has been greeted with enthusiasm by readers waiting to find out what he’ll come up with next. He hopes not to keep them waiting so long next time.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking. He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club. Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and loves the cinema.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Excerpt, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Young Adult

Tree Slayer Harriet Springbett #BookTour @HarriSpringbett @ImpressBooks1 @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TreeSlayer

Nine months after the events of Tree Magic, Rainbow is struggling to come to terms with how she’s changed. Her bond with trees has grown, but now they’re under threat from the Tree Slayer.

To save them, she’ll need to leave everything she knows and loves. It will be her greatest adventure yet – but she cannot succeed alone.

She’ll have to enlist the help of Eole, an enigmatic scientist and sceptic.

Does Rainbow have what it takes to face the Tree Slayer? And can she trust Eole, who has powers of his own?

Amazon UK

Excerpt from Tree Slayer – Harriet SpringBett

Rainbow put down the phone and raced upstairs to her bedroom. Christophe had a surprise for her and he sounded excited about it.

She pulled on shorts and a T-shirt, scraped her long brown hair into a ponytail and clattered back downstairs. She paused at the bathroom to brush her teeth. She didn’t want morning breath to interfere with kissing.

Mum was in the kitchen, humming her new song as she made tea for the commune adults.

“Can I borrow the Mini?” Rainbow asked. “I’m going over to Christophe’s.”

Mum yawned. “I thought you were revising all weekend?”

“I’ve got the rest of the day to revise. And tomorrow. I won’t be long.”

Mum nodded, sat down with her tea and started scribbling musical notes on her manuscript. Rainbow dropped a kiss on her cheek, scooped up the keys and dashed outside into the sunny June morning.

She hadn’t seen Christophe all week. He’d been training a new motorbike apprentice at work and persuaded Rainbow to spend the final evenings before her Baccalaureate exams revising instead of hanging out with him. So she had. She’d ignored the call of the woods and sat in her loft, her school books open, gazing out of the windows at the enticing leaves.

Christophe. A smile spread across her face as she drove towards his flat in Cognac. They’d been together for nine months – the nine best months of her life. They’d also been the strangest, but that wasn’t because of Chris. It was because of Mary.

When she and Mary hugged the silver maple tree last September, it had somehow absorbed Mary’s body. Rainbow absorbed Mary’s mind, which supposedly healed the split that should never have happened. All Mary’s memories and emotions, from the moment she and Mary split into two parallels, had lodged themselves inside Rainbow.

Rainbow didn’t feel healed. Mary continued to live on: to think and react to everything in Rainbow’s life, making Rainbow feel overstuffed with bizarre feelings that conflicted with her own. Mary’s negativity and her rebelliousness, her irreverent humour, her courage and her uncertainties all battled with Rainbow’s own, simpler worldview. Mary was so strong, Rainbow could almost hear her voice, and she experienced yearnings for places she’d never seen and people she’d never known.

After nine months, she still felt as if she’d swallowed Mary whole, like a dose of unpleasant medicine, and was unable to digest her. All she could do was to keep the thoughts and feelings that emerged from Mary in a separate part of her mind, a small part that didn’t interfere with her true self. Between her and Mary was a mental wall, a wall of bricks.

The only good part of sharing her mind and body with Mary was the love for Christophe she’d brought with her. There was no keeping that behind the wall. It seeped through the gaps and filled her with a heady scent that made life more joyful than ever before. 

Luckily, Christophe understood her Mary problems. He understood everything about her – except, perhaps, that she didn’t like revising. Or her obsession with Amrita Devi.

She parked Mum’s Mini in front of the motorbike shop in Cognac and jumped out, hoping the surprise wasn’t anything to do with motorbikes. Christophe’s flat was above the shop where he worked, though he didn’t work on Saturdays. She rang the doorbell to his flat and waited.

Amrita Devi was the girl in the Bishnoi legend who had saved a tree and lived – or saved a tree and died, according to Mary. Rainbow firmly believed Amrita had lived.

Although she hadn’t seen Amrita since her vision last September, she’d had incessant dreams about her. At the beginning, the dreams showed her and Amrita as the closest of sisters, running through woodland together, holding hands, sharing secrets and laughing. But the dreams were becoming darker. The last few times they’d been nightmares, with Amrita pleading for help and begging Rainbow to understand something that Rainbow could never grasp. When Rainbow told Christophe about her dreams, his brown eyes would begin to glaze and she’d have to tickle him until he listened properly.

Christophe buzzed open the front door for her and waited at the top of the stairs. She looked at him carefully as she walked up, in case the surprise was something boring like a new haircut. His thick hair was standing up at odd angles, which was normal for the morning, and there were no signs of piercings or tattoos. He did look worried, though. She glided into his bear hug and he held her tight.

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs at https://harrietspringbett.wordpress.com