Free reads

Sample chapters, deleted scenes, short stories, and other free reads.

Sample chapters

Speak Its Name: first chapter
‘Well, then,’ Lydia said to the empty room, ‘let’s get started.’
Read it here

A Spoke In The Wheel: first chapter
The first thing I saw was the wheelchair.

The first thing she saw was the doper.

Read it here

The Real World: first chapter
‘So,’ Colette’s mother said, ‘are you and Lydia going to get married?’
Read it here

Short stories

A Christmas Cavil
It was dark outside. Rain pattered half-heartedly against the window. The meeting was almost over.
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Bodywork and Soul: a tragedy
Clive was looking infuriatingly pleased with himself. ‘Isn’t she beautiful?’
Read it here

Be Careful What You Pray For
To anyone blessed with the gift of discernment, it was obvious: the Devil was at work in QZ Solutions.
Read it here

The Mermaid
They call it a treacherous coast, and I suppose it is that: all rocks and swift water, and a wind you can’t understand.
Read or listen to it here

Prima Donna
‘I hear you’ve taken on Delphine Vincent-Leclerc,’ said Henri Carouet to his great friend, and great rival, Alexandre Perret.
Listen to it here

Daisy’s Yarn
Once upon a time there was a very ordinary young woman who generally minded her own business and got on with her spinning.
Listen to it here

Wings Over The Plain
Winter is harsh out on the high, broad, plain of Castile. There’s nothing to stop the wind: it blows in cold from the sea, and becomes colder still as it crosses the mountains.
Read it here

Deleted scenes

Speak Its Name: Peter’s thoughts on Bristol VRs
‘I can’t believe,’ Georgia said, ‘that this is the last time we’re going to the Black Swan. Together, I mean.’
Read it here

Speak Its Name: a lot of Will’s backstory
Will looked very much like any other stereotypical Stancester student – rah, sloane, Oxbridge reject, call them what you will.
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Speak Its Name: a committee meeting
‘Hmph!’ Sophie said, when Peter had finished reading out Jake’s email. ‘Well, it’s a pity, but I can’t say I’m surprised.’
Read it here

Speak Its Name: awkwardness at Alma Road
Georgia came up the road at a jog, hair flapping, cheeks rosy. ‘Hi, Colette.’
Read it here

Speak Its Name: a wedding
The wedding was at Wardle Street Methodist Church. Lily Wicks, former President of Stancester University Anglican, Methodist and United Reformed Church Society, AngthMURC for short, was marrying Ross Whitehouse, former Social Secretary of the same organisation.
Read it here

Speak Its Name: some more awkwardness
Tonight was not the night for such a daunting undertaking, even if Will had known where to start.
Read it here

Speak Its Name: the Students’ Union Annual General Meeting
Georgia came up the road at a jog, hair Will was ranting to some other Fellowship members. Peter thought it best not to interrupt, and so walked home with Olly, who was accosted at every pace by people congratulating him on his speech.
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Speak Its Name: Colette goes off the rails I
‘Are you frustrated, then?’ Becky asked, later, while Georgia was at the bar. There was nobody within earshot; the Lamb and Flag was reliably quiet, even on a shamrock-draped Saturday, and the jukebox was pumping out Britney Spears by way of cover.
Read it here

Speak Its Name: Colette goes off the rails II
By dint of not speaking much, they got through the next few days without allowing the atmosphere to contaminate the rest of the household.
Read it here

Speak Its Name: a day at the beach
Peter opened his eyes. Sunlight, creeping down the hall and through his open door. He reached out a hand for the clock on his bedside table, and connected instead with something soft. It was a crumpled polo shirt. Ah, yes. He had not undressed neatly. What had he slept in? Pants.
Read it here