Friday, 5 May 2017

FREE FOR 5 DAYS ON AMAZON Dawn to Dusk by Alina Popescu

Edi’s life is made up of precious moments. 

That first encounter with Robert in rural Romania at eleven. A summer spent together in the same setting a year later. Their first text exchange in high school. The first sexual experience. The first heartbreak—the second and third and fourth chance. The point of total breakdown and the despair of failing. More love than anyone could have warned him about. 

No matter how much time passes, no matter how different their paths, every meeting brings Edi and Robert closer together. Those stolen moments shine brighter than any. Yet loving Robert is not easy, not when Edi wants to be true to himself and is met with dishonesty. Or when Robert keeps parading new conquests and ignores Edi more often than not. 

Edi has always loved Robert, but he must decide if his journey leads to or away from his childhood friend. Is it true love or is Edi just unable to let go?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Reviewers Roundup Weel 2 - The Face in the Window

Join the Reviewer Roundup
Discover new books from your favourite authors
Discover new authors: new favourites

And all for the price of a review.

For more information

Reviewer Roundup is basically an open call for readers to pick up books from favourite and new authors, all donated for free with the only expectation being an honest review. The event runs over two weeks. The first week is for novellas (up to 50,000 words) and the second for novels. I have two books entered, one in each week.

In the second week I have, for your critical investigation


There are those who can’t see and those who don’t want to, but we’re all blind sometimes.

Ace is blind and Haze is damaged. They live in different worlds and not everyone is happy when they become boyfriends. Haze is struggling with the after effects of a traumatic event in his past that has left him at the mercy of an uncontrollable rage. When Ace’s brother steps up his campaign of torment against Ace, they’re all in danger from Haze’s outbursts, though it isn’t until things get completely out of control that the healing can really begin. But with Ace unseeing and Haze perched on the edge of a cliff, will either of them survive long enough to benefit?


I will never forget the first time I saw Ace Richmond, not as long as I live and probably beyond. He was sitting at the kitchen table, the chair pushed back and his long legs crossed at the ankle under the table. There was a plate of sandwiches in front of him and he was eating an apple. I saw none of that.
To say that I had ‘seen’ him through the window would have been like saying that I had seen the reflection of the moon on the surface of a still lake or the sun setting into the sea. Beautiful but only a pale shadow of the real thing.
Today he was wearing an acid green t-shirt with a pink elephant on the front that was somewhat jarring on the eyes, especially matched with the lurid pink tartan trousers and the large jewel encrusted sunglasses that were completely out of place. I had to blink twice to fully take them in. However, if his clothing was something of a shock it was nothing compared to the rest of him.
He had appeared slender and ephemeral from my standpoint below, thin and pale. Up close he was far more substantial. He was not so slender at all, although there was a certain grace in the way he was lounging in the chair that made him seem more willowy than he was.
He was pale; his skin almost translucent, like the white hair that cascaded over his shoulders and obscured half of his face. He was gorgeous too; far better looking than I had observed or imagined, but not in the fragile, fey way that I had thought. He was very substantial indeed. Weird in the clothing sense but lovely and…real.

Check out my other blog and website for more exclusive excerpts

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Reviewers Round Up - Memories of Forgotten Love

Join the Reviewer Roundup
Discover new books from your favourite authors
Discover new authors: new favourites

And all for the price of a review.

For more information

Reviewer Roundup is basically an open call for readers to pick up books from favourite and new authors, all donated for free with the only expectation being an honest review. The event runs over two weeks. The first week is for novellas (up to 50,000 words) and the second for novels. I have two books entered, one in each week.

In the first week I have, for your critical investigation

Memories of Forgotten Love is a Young Adult book about Noah, a boy who wakes from a coma after three months, to a mystery.

I wrote this novella to explore something I had been reading quite a bit about. That is, the way coma was depicted in popular culture - movies, television shows, novels etc. Basically, what the articles and reports were saying was that coma, and in particular the process of waking from one, is very rarely depicted in anything like an accurate way. People simply don't just open their eyes and get on with it. I set myself a challenge to write something more realistic, and this is it.

A note of caution. This book was published at the very beginning of my career as a published author and I have learned a lot since then. Please also bear in mind that the book is meant for 14 - 20 year olds and the characters are meant to be immature.


Noah wakes from a coma with no memory of who he is. As his memories return they become stranger and more sinister at every turn. He begins to suspect the accident in which he was injured wasn't an accident at all, and refuses to accept what everyone is saying that he threw himself off his balcony in a suicide attempt. It just doesn't feel like something he would do. Struggling to come to terms with the shocking story he gradually uncovers, he's helped by his friends. Yet, his best friend, Luke is acting strangely, leaving Noah to wonder just what exactly he isn't telling him.


I sighed and turned to the door.  Raising my hand I knocked and waited, my heart pounding.  The door was opened by a little boy, maybe about eight or nine.  The blonde hair and big blue eyes were very familiar.  He stared at me, but before I could open my mouth he turned on his heel and disappeared back inside yelling “Mam... Mam!”
                Moments later a woman appeared from a door along the corridor peering from gloom into light.
                “Noah?”  She sounded uncertain, unbelieving.
                “Yeah... it’s me.”
                Suddenly she was flying, and the next thing I knew she had her arms around me and was sobbing into my shoulder.  My arms went around her more by reflex than design and I made some kind of noises of comfort, patting her back awkwardly.
                Over her shoulder I saw three small faces peering out of the doorway, wide eyed, shocked at their mother’s reaction.
                “ I think... I think the kids...”
                At the mention of her children she immediately pulled back, making an obvious effort to pull herself together.  She turned and smiled at them.  “It’s alright, my loves.  You go back inside now. Mammy’s just so pleased to see Noah all better.  Go one.  We’ll be there in a minute.”
                “Shall I go up and tell Luke Mam?”
                “No.  Don’t do that.  Let Noah surprise him yeah?”
                “Alright Mam.”
                She turned again and looked at me, her eyes, so like Luke’s, were shining with tears, but she did her best to smile, wiping her hands on her jeans.
                “So... when... when did you get home?”
                “I’m not exactly home... just let out for the weekend.”
                “Oh... well... you’re looking good Noah, really good.  I am so glad...”
                “Thank you.  It’s been... um... it’s been quite a year.”
                She smiled a proper smile then, the tension leaking out of her.  She put her hand on my shoulder and squeezed.
                “Yes, it certainly has.  You always were full of surprises Noah.  Luke’s been telling us what you’ve been up to.”
                “Oh?  I didn’t think I was getting up to anything much.  Haven’t really had the opportunity.  It’s surprising how few ways there are to get into trouble in hospital.”  I paused and thought back over the last few months.  Then I grinned. “Although I suppose it depends how you define ‘trouble’”
                “You haven’t changed.”
                “Oh, I have.  At least I think I have.  I don’t remember much.  I’m very different.”
                “No honey... you’re not.  You look different, you have different experiences but the feel of you, your personality, your humour... you’re still the same, still you.”
                Her words washed over me like a warm breeze and they made me smile, a true smile that started somewhere deep within and burst outwards.  She saw it and mirrored it.  And then it faded.
                “Noah... I know... I know that this has been a very hard time for you.  I know that you are still not there yet but... Oh, Noah, it’s been hard for Luke too.  In the beginning...” She covered her face with her hands and I had no choice but to put her arms around her.  She rested her head on my shoulder, crying again.  “In the beginning, when we all thought you were going to die Luke was... he was half crazy.
                “We knew you’d had a row... he told us that much, although not what it was about.  He blamed himself.  He spent hours at the hospital and when he came back he locked himself in his room.  He didn’t eat, didn’t sleep.  Everyone tried talking to him but he wouldn’t listen.  And then, after a time he left.  He told me he couldn’t bear to be here without you.  He never told me where he went but, in the end he had to come back.
                “He thought he would come back and find you gone.  When you weren’t I don’t know if he was glad or not.  It was too painful for him.  He went downhill fast... withdrew again.  It was so painful for me Noah... to have both of you...”  She paused shuddering then took a deep breath and continued.
                “When... when Aiden told him that you were awake... No one knew.  He literally bumped into Aiden when they were out and he told him.  It hit him hard.  He was frantic.  He didn’t know what to do, whether to come and see you or not. He didn’t know if you would want to see him, if you would blame him like he blamed himself.  He practically tore himself apart working out whether to see you or not.
                “And then he did.  He went to see you at the hospital and when he came back he was a different person. He was lit up again, just like his old self and it had been so long... He came back to life when you did Noah.  He was... he was so... It was wonderful.  I was so happy... for both of you.  And then... and then...
                “I don’t know what happened. It’s not for me to ask.  I have never asked but... he came home after the argument... or whatever it was and he... he’s just locked himself in his room. He plays music all night, barely eats.  He’s so pale, so...  I am afraid for him Noah.  I have been so afraid for him.  Please... please talk to him.
                “I know that relationships are never easy.  I know that there are ups and downs and it isn’t my place to interfere but... he’s my son.  I can’t bear to see him like this.  Whatever has happened between you two, please, please try and sort it out.”
                There was something in what she was saying and the way she was saying it that made me feel horribly uneasy.  I couldn’t have said precisely what it was... but the thought of Luke suffering in that way was unbearable.
                “I’ll talk to him.  I have to say though that he doesn’t seem to be talking to me right now.  I have tried and tried to get him to tell me what’s wrong but he’s really closed down.  I know it has something to do with the argument we had on the last night but... I don’t remember it and he won’t tell me what it was about.”
“Oh... I see.” A light came on behind her eyes and there was something about the look that made me shiver. 
                “What?  What do you see?  Because I can’t seem to see what’s in front of me where Luke’s concerned. I thought he was my friend... I mean... now.  I thought we were getting back to being best friends again and he was so easy to be with but then... I don’t know something... something changed and... and... then he was... different, intense.  I don’t know what to say to him.”
                “Try Noah.  Talk to him.  You... you and Luke were... you were... Just talk to him.”
                “It’s why I’m here.”
                “And I bless you for it.  Do you remember the way?”  I shook my head and she looked contrite.  “No, of course you don’t.  It’s hard, seeing you like this, so strong, so well, to remember what all this means to you.”
                “It’s okay.”  She took my hand and led me along the passage to the bottom of the stairs.  “First door on the left okay?”
                “Thanks.  It’s... good to see you again.  I think I must have missed you because... this feels more like coming home than it did when I went home... if you see what I mean.”
“I think so. I’m always here for you Noah.  I always was.”

                My heart grew more and more heavy as I climbed the stairs.  The conversation with Luke’s mother had done nothing to calm my nerves, if anything it made me even worse.  At the top of the stairs I hesitated and wondered whether to knock the door or not. In the end I just opened it and walked in.

Check out my other blog and website for more exclusive excerpts

Nephy's World
Angel Wings

Wednesday, 8 March 2017


It is with great regret that I have to inform you that Wayward Ink Press is closing its doors.
This means that my books

Project X

Lab Rat
Shade's Champion

are no longer available. I am re-submitting and they will be back as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I don't have the technical knowledge to self-publish, so it will take a long time to go through the re-submission process so it's not likely all four will be back this year.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Resources For Desperate Teens Cyber Bullying

I have been provided with an extremely useful article and resource regarding cyberbullying.

I think it would be useful to anyone, not only those who are, or think they might be, suffering from such abuse.

Sadly, cyberbullying is on the rise and forewarned is forearmed. 

The article contains a helpful guide to what cyberbullying is, or might be, advice on how to support victims and resources for the victims themselves to seek assistance.

Thank you to Carol Lindberg from from AROD (A Real Online Degree)  (which is an online resource providing a wealth of information for those thinking of going to university, including grants and funding, type of degree course, and help for disabled students) for providing the link. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Boy Behind the Window Chapter 12 Ello Ello

Continuing my prequel to The Face in the Window. Anyone who liked reading about 17 year-old-Ace will love fourteen-year-old Ace, who is just the same only more clueless. Will we get insight into why his brothers hate him so much? Will we find out what exactly was his relationship with James?

Ace knew from the sounds he’d been hearing, and the vibrations on the road, that there was traffic, although it wasn’t busy. In panic, he scrambled backwards onto his bottom on the pavement. Hugging his knees, he rocked, trying to get his racing heart and panting breath under control. He was rarely so swamped in panic, but then no one had thrown him in front of traffic before.
At first, he didn’t hear the voice. He heard his tormentors first.
“Come back, you pussy. They won’t….”
“Fuck you, I’m out of here.”
The pounding footsteps confused Ace. Were they running away, or toward him? When someone touched his shoulder, he jumped, panicked. “Don’t hurt me, please,” he gasped, shocked by how much his voice was shaking. He never lost his composure like this.
“Take it easy, love, you’re quite safe now. No one’s going to hurt you.”
Dimly aware that someone was crouching at his side, Ace pressed his forehead to his knees and concentrated on breathing. He’d never had a panic attack before, but it wasn’t difficult to work out why his heart was racing so much its pounding in his ears drowned out everything going on around him.
When the roaring began to fade, Ace became aware of a soothing voice, and a hand rubbing his back. He raised his head and blinked, realising for the first time that he’d lost his glasses. The sunlight cut into his eyes causing him to flinch and rub his eyes. He was surprised to find them wet. He hadn’t been aware of crying. He hardly ever cried. It wasn’t that bad. He’d only almost died.
“Easy there,” the voice said. “You’ll make your eyes sore.”
“Light,” he groaned. “Hurts.”
“Oh, I see.” There was a sound of someone scrabbling, then something was pressed into his hand. “I assume these are yours.”
Ace sighed with relief as he curled his fingers around his sunglasses then settled them back in their accustomed place.
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
“What on earth for?”
“I’m not usually such a mess.”
“I’m guessing you’re not usually attacked and thrown into the road, so it’s not surprising you reacted like this. I’m just sorry I didn’t get to you in time to stop that. I saw it coming but I just couldn’t get here. I guess I need to hit the track. I’m out of shape.”
Ace smiled, and for the first time, took a mental step back to consider his rescuer. She was woman, that much was obvious from her voice, and there was a note of authority that made him think she might not be just a casual passer by. He remembered a strange noise he’d heard but not acknowledged while he was panicking. A hissing sound, like a radio.
“Are you a police officer?”
“Isn’t that obvious by the uniform?” The straightforward humour in her voice led Ace to the conclusion she hadn’t put two and two together yet.
“I can’t see it. I’m blind.”
A sharp intake of breath was the only sign the policewoman made of how shocked she must have been. She muttered under her breath and although a “normal” person would probably not have caught what she said, Ace heard every word loud and clear. “Little bastards.” He smiled
“Are you allowed to swear?”
“What? Oh, sorry I didn’t think you’d hear.”
“It’s my eyes that don’t work, not my ears. In fact, they work really well.”
“I should have realised. Many apologies. Not the most professional behaviour. Can you stand?”
Ace found himself to be shaky but solid enough to stand without help.
“Is there someone I can call?”
“I’m not happy with just letting you walk away. You’re clearly shaken and I’d be inclined to believe if I walked away right now you’d have no idea where you are or where to go. Do you know where the road is?”
“I….” Ace shook his head. He was entirely disoriented and couldn’t even work out in what direction the traffic sounds were coming from.
“Don’t worry. Come on, let’s be British and get a cup of tea. Tea cures everything.”
“I…. You don’t have to. If you show me where the café is I can wait there until my brothers come back.”
“Don’t worry. As long as there are no armed robberies in the next half hour I’ll get you settled and make sure you’re okay and someone is coming for you.”
“My brothers will be here soon.”
“Then I’ll won’t be long, will I.” She took Ace’s arm and guided him along the pavement. Ace soon discovered she was a capable companion, warning him of obstacles in plenty of time. He was worryingly nervous crossing the road and clung to her arm.
“I’m not usually like this,” he said, his voice shaking. “I…I have a stick and I’m more confident with that.”
“Why don’t you have it with you now?”
“I left it in the car.”
“Lesson learned then.”
Ace nodded, not wanting to tell her that the lesson wasn’t his and he would never have left his stick behind if Nick and Logan hadn’t been involved.
A wave of warmth and the scent of coffee washed over Ace when the policewoman opened the door of the coffee shop. Ace’s legs trembled and he had to bite back tears. Relief made him weak. He was safe. The policewoman, who’d told him her name was Jan, got him settled in a seat near the window – he could tell because he could feel the warmth of the sun and the chill next to the glass – while she went to get tea. Ace didn’t like to tell her he preferred coffee. Tea wasn’t horrible and anything warm and sugary would be welcome.
While he waited, Ace closed his eyes, safe behind his glasses and thought over what had happened. It hadn’t been so terrible really, and he hadn’t been very much afraid, at least not until he’d found himself on his knees in the road. It was the vulnerability that did it for him. For a short period he’d felt totally helpless and it had shaken him to pieces. Despite his disability, Ace very rarely felt helpless. In fact, he prided himself on his independence and seemed to spend half his life at home fighting for more of it. Such complete lack of control was alien to him and it highlighted just how big and scary the world was for someone like him. Had he just been lucky until now? Did his stick really make that much difference?
For the first time he could remember, Ace was swamped with a desperate need to be home, safe in his room. He completely understood his mother’s fears and half convinced himself that she was right and he’ be better off staying in his room and not exposing himself to the many dangers the world presented to a blind boy.
“There you go.” Jan’s voice cut through his musings that had begun to rise toward panic again.
What was happening to him? Was he losing his nerve? His confidence? Would he find himself unable to go out on his own again? No. He wasn’t about to let that happen, no matter what.
Pressing the cup to his lips, Ace inhaled deeply. The smell might not be as good as coffee but it was comforting. His mother drank tea and it brought back memories of sitting at the kitchen table with her, working on homework while she worked. There would be frequent breaks for tea and biscuits.
“Right,” Jan said, clearly meaning business. “Who can I call?”
“What?” As if Jan had conjured a demon, Ace’s phone rang with James’ tone. He groaned inwardly. Hames was the last person he wanted to speak to right now. James would know.
“What happened? Why haven’t you been answering? Are you alright?”
Ace chose to respond by text, not wanting James to hear the weakness in his voice. “They were dicks. I’m fine. Having tea.”
“Having tea? Why didn’t you call and let me know you’re alright? I’ve been worried sick. I was about to call the police.”
“Don’t worry, they beat you to it.”
“What do you mean?”
Ace gave James a potted version of what happened, and James went silent. “Shit,” he said at last. “Shit Ace, you could have been really hurt.”
“I could have been, but I wasn’t.”
“I’m going to kill Logan the next time I see him. I’ll have a good swing at Nick too. Why the hell did your mother let them take you into town. She knows what they’re like.
“I don’t think she does. She wouldn’t let them—“
“Oh please, Ace, you know she knows. It’s just easier for her if it looks like you’re all getting on.”
“Can we not get into this right now. There’s a policewoman here with me and she’s looking afully interested in everything you say.”
“So she should be. She should arrest Logan and Nick for what they did.”
“If you don’t shut up, I won’t come down for your birthday.”
“You wouldn’t do that…would you?”
“*roll eyes*  sigh. Okay, call me later.”
“A friend?” Jan asked as Ace put his phone on the table.
“Yes, a good friend. He happened to call in the middle of all that and I haven’t even heard the phone ring since then.”
“I have a few times. I was wondering if I ought to answer but I figured whoever it was could wait.”
“James isn’t good at being patient.”
“Who are Logan and Nick?”
Ace sighed, imagining all the trouble he could get into if Jan contacted his parents, or even worse spoke to Nick and Logan.
“My brothers.”
“Can I take it they were supposed to be sticking with you?”
Ace chuckled. “Can you read my mind?”
“No, but I’m pretty good at reading human nature. Can I give someone a call to pick you up?”
“No.” Ace’s refusal was too quick and too sharp. He bit his lip. “My mother would worry. She’ll be straight here and I won’t be allowed out for the rest of the holidays. She’s…over protective.”
“What about your brothers?”
“They wouldn’t be too pleased.”
“No doubt, but I’m not leaving until I’ve spoken to someone and I figure your brothers would prefer to hear from me on the telephone than to turn up and find me here in person.”
Ace’s mind raced, possibilities flying past before he could hold on to any of them. Which would be worse? What choice could he make that wouldn’t end in disaster? None of them.
“Okay,” he said at last, “you can call Nick. He’s my oldest brother. He has the car. Just to tell him where I am,” he added as he heard Jan pick up his phone.
“This is an um…interesting phone,” Jan commented. Ace briefly wondered what she meant. “Where do I find Nick’s number?”
“It’s speed dial five. I’ve never used it. I don’t call him at all, but my mother insisted. I think he still has the same phone number.”
Ace heard the phone beeps as the calls connected. It seemed to take a long time for Nick to answer and when he did he snapped, “What do you want, freak? This had better be good.”
Jan’s voice was cold. “This is WPC Baxter, can I confirm I’m talking to Nick Richmond.”
“WPC? Why have you got Ace’s phone? Is he alright?”
“I’m with your brother right now, Mr Richmond. There’s been an incident. He’s alright but he’s shaken up and needs to go home.”
“Shit. What do you mean “incident”? Where’s Logan?”
“I presume Logan is your other brother. I’m afraid I have no idea where he is.”
“Stupid fucker. Oh, sorry. Okay, tell me where you are and I’ll be right there.”
Ace bit his lip, groaning inwardly. Nick was going to be so mad Ace had messed up his day.

 If you want to read the continuing adventures of Ace and his brothers check keep checking out here, or jump ahead a few years to


Friday, 27 January 2017

The Boy Behind the Window Part 11 - The Bus Depot

Sorry it's been so long in coming guys but here's Part 11 of my prequel to The Face in the Window. Last time, Nick and Logan have been forced to take Ace with them on a trip into town

As soon as Ace’s feet hit the pavement the car pulled away with a roar. He felt exposed and vulnerable. He’d never been to the bus station before, so had no idea how it was set out, and he didn’t have his stick. It was in the back of the car.
There was no response. He hadn’t heard footsteps but that didn’t necessarily mean Logan hadn’t sneaked off, or run when the car was revving.
“Logan, please, are you there. Just take me to a wall. Tell me where the road is.” Still no response. Ace was fairly certain Logan was still there and that was the only thing that prevented him completely falling apart. I know you’re there. Don’t be an ass, just show me where the wall is. Mum’s not going to be best pleased if I walk into the road.”
Ace jumped when someone grabbed his arm and towed him across the pavement. Logan pushed him hard and he lost his balance and started to fall, then found himself sitting on a narrow bench, with his back to something cold.
“You’re in a bus shelter. Wait there.”
“How long will you be?” Ace couldn’t help the tremor in his voice and he cursed himself. Showing any kind of weakness to his brothers never ended well.
“As long as I want.”
This time. Ace did hear footsteps leading away and the sudden realization he was alone in a strange place swamped him. Tears prickled his eyes and he bit hard on his lip to stop them falling. The pain was sudden and shocking, but it gave him something to focus on and the panic abated, although it still lingered, ready to leap out at him as soon as he acknowledged it was there.
Concentrating on his breathing, Ace calmed down to a point where he could think logically. He was pretty much stuck here. Without his stick he dare not move far as he had no idea where the roads were. He assumed there would be a network of roads here for buses to drive into the terminus. Looked like he was stuck here for a while.
It didn’t take long to get bored, so he took out his phone. It crossed his mind to call his mother and ask her to pick him up. However, he could imagine the fallout. She’d be furious with Nick and he would take it out on Ace and Logan, then Logan would take it out on him so he’d have both Nick and Logan out to get him. He’d get hurt then, he was sure.
In the end, the called James. He couldn’t think of anyone else.
“What did they do? Are they crazy? Call your mother, she’ll come get you.”
“I can’t. You know what Nick and Logan are like. They’d make my life unbearable.”
“And it isn’t now? Christ, Ace, you’re abandoned at a bus terminus for goodness knows how long. Anyone could do anything and you wouldn’t know. If anyone got aggressive you wouldn’t see it coming.”
“Thanks James. Way to go to make me feel better.”
“Sorry, I’m just angry.”
“What should I do?”
“Maybe you could ask someone to lead you to a café. Do you have any money?”
“Yes, enough for quite a few coffee and cakes.” For the first time, Ace smiled. “I’ll wait for an old lady. Old ladies seem to like me.”
“Old ladies like everyone, especially disabled freak. Thank God you’re cute and unthreatening.”
“Gee thanks. I’ll bear that in mind and flutter my eyelashes when I speak.”
“I can’t imagine a single universe where that would help.”
Ace laughed. “You never know, it might make me look even cuter.”
“I doubt it.”
“Hey you, freak. Get off our seat.” The voice was loud and sounded close.
“Shit. I’ve got to go.”
“Ace, I heard that. Don’t go anywhere. Stay put. Stay on the line.”
“I said, move.” The owner of the voice was close. Ace smelled something unpleasant. He assumed alcohol and cigarettes, overlaid with the pervasive smell of body odour.
“I have to go.” Ace disconnected the call and tilted his face up. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Isn’t this a bus shelter?”
“Look around, freak. It’s a disused bus shelter. It might be mouldy and full of piss but it’s ours so get out of it.”
The speaker sounded young, not much older than Ace, but his voice was harsh and held a bravado that worried Ace.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know. My brother told me to sit here. He’s always messing with me.”
“I don’t give a fuck about your brother. Just get off our seat before I punch you.”
“Where should I go?”
“You’re truing my patience, freak. I don’t give a fuck where you go as long as it’s not here.”
“Is there a café nearby. Could you show me?”
“What the fuck? I’m not going to be your own personal tour guide. Find your own café.”
“I can’t. I’m blind.” Ace hated playing the blind card but had resigned himself this time because there was simply no way around it.
“You what?”
“I’m blind. I can’t see. I don’t know where the road is, and I don’t know where there are café’s.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Ace removed his sunglasses and tried to keep his eyes wide rather than squinting against the sun, which seemed especially bright.
“Contact lenses,” the first speaker spat.
“I don’t think so.”
A brush of air in front of his face told Ace someone was waving his hand but he didn’t see so much as a shadow. He didn’t see the slap either, and it sent him flying off the seat onto the floor.
“I guess he is blind then.” There was a pause while Ace gathered himself and forced back tears. “Take it,” the voice demanded.
“Take what?”
“My hand, asshole.”
“Where is it?” Ace sniffed, angry at the shake in his voice. The next slap was gentler and Ace groped for the hand, which yanked him roughly to his feet.
Ace stood, with his head down. Someone took his hand and pressed his glasses into it. He grabbed them and put them on eagerly. “Thanks,” he mumbled.
“You a fag freak?” a third voice said.
Thoughts raced through Ace’s head and it only took a moment to decide it would be a very bad idea to admit. “N-no,” he said.
“I bet you are. You look like a girl.”
“I can’t help how I look.”
“You can cut your hair.” Rough hands lifted and tugged at his hair.
The laughter was nasty and Ace’s cheeks burned. He tried to pull away but someone had their hand fisted in his hair and held him. Before he knew what was happening, he found himself pinned against the shelter by a body that was clearly bigger and stronger than his.
“See, I thing you are a faggot, and I think you’re looking for a bit of action. Well, if that’s what you want….”
The boy ran his hands down Ace’s body, making him shudder, and cupped his ass. Ace felt sick. He pushed at the boy but he might as well have tried to move the shelter.
“You’re the one who’s groping me,” Ace said, drawing on all his courage. “Which one of us is being gay now?”
The body disappeared and a blow to his stomach almost had him on his knees.
“Little prick,” the boy yelled and grabbed him by the arm, swinging and disorienting him. “I’ll show you the way to the café.”
A push to the back had Ace flying. Trying to keep upright, his foot twisted as it slipped off a step and he fell forward. As soon as his hand hit the asphalt, he knew he’d fallen off the kerb into the road.

If you like hearing about Ace and his life with his dysfunctional family, you might want to read The Face in the Window, which tells the story of what Ace gets up to a little later in his life. If anyone finds inconsistencies they'll get a free eBook of their choice of my books