Friday, 15 April 2016

Guest Post - How to Throw Your Life Away - Exclusive opening scene teaser by Laurie Ellingham - Blog Tour

I couldn't believe it when Laurie Ellingham said she was writing me an exclusive scene for my spot on the blog tour. This can be read as a prelude before starting the book, or if you have read it already, then it may give you a bit of extra background information.

A slow rage pounded through Katy’s body. She stabbed her spade at the edges of the lawn and tried to ignore the high-pitched laughter of teenage girls carrying across the fence from the garden next door.

She didn't need solitude or privacy, Katy reminded herself as the last rays of heat from the sun tingled the back of her neck and scorched through to her veins. She just needed her garden. She just needed the scent of the miniature lavender tree in spring, and the roses in summer, and the way the bamboo swayed in the breeze as if dancing to a melody only it could hear.

As Katy sidestepped to the next section of grass the tinny beat of dance music filled the air. The girls raised their voices to be heard over the noise.

‘I can't believe you kissed him,’ one of them said, her laughter cackling in Katy’s ears.

‘I can’t believe how hammered I was,’ another said.

Katy bit down on the inside of her cheek, brushed a strand of long brown hair from her face, and tried to focus on the border expansion she’d spent most of the week thinking about. Why had she spent so much of her day cleaning the house when she could have been in her garden? It’s not as if Adam cared about how it looked, so why did she?

The smell of barbeque and sausages drifted in the breeze causing a hunger to twist in her stomach.
Katy sighed and carried her spade back to its hook in the small shed, tucked in the corner by the bamboo. Another stereo system started up from a few houses away as Katy strode across the garden. A warm Saturday night on the estate always brought her neighbours from their living rooms and into their gardens, their noise and activity driving Katy back into their two-bed terrace.

The smell of oil and fried eggs hit Katy as she stepped into the narrow kitchen. Mugs and glasses littered the draining board. Katy plucked out a crisp packet that had been shoved into one of the mugs and dropped it in the bin under the sink, but not before splats of dark tea fell to the floor. She yanked open the dishwasher and glanced inside. It was exactly how she’d left it - empty and ready to be filled. So why had Adam not used it? How much extra effort was it to put things in the dishwasher instead of on the side? Her eyes roamed the kitchen she’d spent most of the morning cleaning. Oil glistened in a frying pan on the hob. Two discarded egg shells and an open bottle of sunflower oil sat beside it.

A raging heat rocketed through Katy. Her hand snatched at a mug, squeezing the handle in her fist, she drew it towards her. White spots blurred her vision as the urge to throw the mug snaked across her shoulders.

Katy gasped, releasing her hold on the mug and taking an unsteady step back. The mug toppled onto its side, sending two trickles of dark liquid running down one of the cupboards and pooling on the floor. She pulled in a lungful of air and tried to calm the thundering of her heart. A noise escaped her throat - an almost laugh. She ran her fingers across the sore area of skin on the back of her neck. She’d caught the sun, that was all. A cool shower and she’d feel calm and in control, she’d feel herself again, Katy thought, grabbing a dish cloth and mopping up the spill.

A moment later she stepped into the hallway and leant against the doorframe of the living room. A breeze from the open window brushed against Katy’s face. Her eyes fell to the sofa and Adam’s body sprawled over it. His long bare legs were stretched across the glass coffee table, and his t-shirt had ridden up, showing an inch of fleshy stomach.

She sighed as the frustration inside of her eased. Maybe he planned to tidy the kitchen after the football, that was okay, wasn’t it? Besides, it was a two minute job she could do whilst the dinner cooked, she thought, feeling more like herself again.

She followed Adam’s gaze to the flat screen television on the opposite side of the room. Two football commentators barked a stream of nonsense as tiny blue and red figures chased a ball across the pitch.
Her stomach growled again, the noise echoing through her.

‘What do you fancy for dinner?’ she asked.

Adam’s gaze remained fixed on the screen, his face a blank mask. Had he not heard her?

‘Adam,’ she said, stepping to the sofa. ‘What do you want for dinner?’ Anger welled inside her, adding a sharpness to her voice that she didn’t recognise.

His forehead furrowed, ‘Bloody ref,’ he said.

Katy’s heart pounded in her chest. White blotches danced across her eyes. Her hand reached around the hard plastic of the remote control, but instead of pressing mute or off as she’d intended, her grip tightened. Every muscle in her body tensed as she lifted the remote above her head and brought it down again, as if she was trying to hit an annoying fly buzzing around her head.

A thwack noise rang out into the room as the controller connected with Adam’s cheek bone. ‘What,’ she said, lifting the remote up and bringing it back down with another smack. ‘Do,’ she repeated the action as his body twisted away from her, his hands shielding part of his face, but leaving his cheek exposed. 'You,' thwack, 'want,’ thwack, ‘for,’ thwack, ‘dinner?,’ thwack.

Her heartbeat raged in her ears as a dizziness took hold of her body. The white blotches drifted away. Over the noise in her own head she heard his answer. ‘Pizza,' he yelped. 'I want pizza.’

A movement from outside the window caught Katy‘s attention, the change in focus plunged her thoughts into darkness.


The distant sound of a siren jolted Katy back to reality. Her hand throbbed from the effort of gripping the remote, still in her hand.

What had she done?

Her eyes roamed the garden, lingering on the delicate pink petals of the climbing roses, and the bushy leaves of the magnolia tree. She had a hazy recollection of fleeing the living room and darting back through the kitchen. If she closed her eyes she could block out the noise of her neighbours and listen to the rustle of the wispy bamboo branches swaying behind her. But there was one noise she couldn’t block out - the siren. It was getting louder, the piercing scream of it sliced through her thoughts and stabbed at the headache already throbbing in her temples. A moment later the siren stopped. Katy drew in a long breath and closed her eyes again, allowing a calm to wash over her.

Then a shadow blocked the sun from her face.

Katy’s eyes shot open. She bolted upright in the chair sending the remote control flying through the air and landing with a soft thud beside the black shiny boots of the police officer.

He crouched down and picked it up, turning it over in his hands before raising his eyebrows. The sides of his mouth twitched. Was he laughing at her?

‘Miss, my name is PC Donavan. I need to ask you some questions regarding an incident that has been reported to us by one of your neighbours.

What had she done?

To find out what happens next to Katy, pick up a copy of How To Throw Your Life Away here:

Amazon -
Kobo -
iBooks -

I have just read this as I put it onto this blog post, and I'm already eager to find out what happens next. I love this scene Laurie, and thank you so much for allowing me to host it. My review of the book will be up later today.

About Laurie Ellingham

Laurie lives in the Dedham Vales, on the Suffolk/Essex borders, with her husband, two children, and their Cockerpoo, Rodney. She has been writing novels and working as a freelance healthcare writer for nine years, and loves nothing more than disappearing into the world of her characters, preferably with a coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand. Before becoming a writer, Laurie worked in public relations and has a first class degree in psychology.

Laurie' debut novel, The Reluctant Celebrity, was self-published in 2014 before being offered a publishing contract with an independent London publishing house. It was released in May 2015. 

When Laurie is not writing, she takes part in local book events, and volunteers weekly at the village primary school, helping children to improve their reading skills.

Twitter: @LaurieEllingham 

Please do follow along with this blog tour, as if this teaser is anything to by, then I think the full book could definitely be entertaining.

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