Currently I am offering a coupon: YJ67E for a free copy of my novel Judged By Your Peers on Smashwords

So I thought I’d offer you a sample: this is from Chapter 4 as Shay tell her freinds a secret and gets a shock in return:

Judged By Your Peers: Chapter 4

… The evening moved on as the kids ran riot round the house, constantly trying get their hands on some booze, till Abi eventually lost her temper with them and shouted at the teenagers to get out and sending poor little Lee to bed. She then got a call from Cassie asking to stop at Shannon’s and in turn called Joey and said he could stop at Jake’s if he wanted, although it seemed more like an order.

The three women listened to several old cd’s from the 90’s pop era that they sang and danced around the living room to, while constantly digging into the vast amount of snacks. Shay went to the fridge to find she was getting her tenth can out and was glad she had bought two packs, although was slightly surprised at how well she was holding her alcohol. She and Rachel had both sent texts earlier in the evening to Peter and David to say they were going to stay over at Abi’s for the night to save on cab fare. As she walked back into the living room Rachel quickly dashed out and up the stairs declaring that she needed a wee, as she caught a quick glimpse of the clock.

“You know it’s one o’clock?” Shay laughed. “And I’m on my tenth can!”

“It’s alright, I’m pretty sure Rachel’s almost emptied that box.” Abi laughed grabbing her cigarettes off the mantelpiece and lighting one. They had decided at some point in the evening to start smoking indoors; right around the time Abi had decided to smoke, which she only ever did drunk and in company. “Why is life so complicated Shay?” She sighed puffing out a large cloud of smoke.

“Don’t ask me.” Shay laughed, taking one of Abi’s cigarettes out of the packet and lighting it up. “My head’s totally mashed lately, I feel like I’m going forward at full steam and I can’t find the emergency break!”

“You mean babies?” Abi asked curiously, Shay turned to look at her as she realised there had been at least some gossip at work this week, to be honest she’d have been disappointed if there hadn’t been. “Fiona said something to Nic about you still taking your pill. Take it Peter doesn’t know that?”

“There’s a lot he doesn’t know.” Shay remarked as she leaned back against the mantelpiece and inhaled in a large drag of the cigarette. At that moment the CD moved to the next song, Lisa Loeb’s ‘Stay’. “Oh wow, you remember this one?”

“Don’t change the subject.” Abi laughed at her as Shay looked a little annoyed that she’d been caught out.

“It’s a good song is all I was gonna say. Reminds me of being fourteen at the youth club, I was going out Simon Walker, or was it Jamie Wheeler?” She looked at Abi with a grin, reminiscing that she was once a little tart. “Oh to be young and not give a shit!”

“Just to be young.” Abi said in a thoughtful tone as she stared at the carpet for a moment. “So many reasons right there not to get into trouble.”

“I’ve fucked up.” Shay sighed taking another drag of the cigarette, followed by a large mouthful of beer.

“Bloody hell!” Came Rachel’s declaring voice as she came back in the room. “I go for a quick piss and when I get back you two look like the worlds ending! This song is classic, why aren’t you singing?”

“You ever feel like you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life?” Shay asked staring up the ceiling, blowing out more smoke.

“How do you mean?” Rachel asked slightly slurred, slightly confused.

“Getting married?” Shay asked bringing her eyes down to look at Rachel. “You ever think it was a mistake?”

“No!” Rachel declared very matter of fact and confident. “Best thing I ever did, except maybe for our Nathan and Kiera.”

“Oh good, glad for ya.” Shay almost laughed as she realised maybe she’d picked the wrong person for that question.

“Why?” Abi asked stubbing out her cigarette in the ashtray next to Shay. “You unhappy with Peter? Or is it just the kids thing? If you’re not ready you should tell him.”

“No it’s not that.” Shay sighed, shaking her head and walking over to the couch and flopping down on it. “It’s the whole marriage, I should never have let it get that far, I should’ve ended it years ago, it’s just a big fucking mess!”

“Whoah!” Rachel stated as she seemed to realise this really was turning into a serious conversation. “I thought you guys were generally ok. What happened?”

“You ever…” Shay took a deep breath while she tried to think through the haze of alcohol how she wanted to word what was in her head, and realised maybe she wasn’t holding her alcohol as well as she had thought. “You ever think, or thought, or maybe looked at and liked…” She cut herself short, she couldn’t quite force herself to finish the question as a thought of Leyla popped into her head, in a little brown suede skirt she’d worn to the Christmas Party, and beige, skin tight top which almost gave her a cowgirl look.

“What?” Rachel asked, more suspicious than curious. Shay stared at her and felt her heart start to race as she found the words leaving her mouth almost against her will.

“Another woman?”

The question hung in the air for a moment as Rachel and Abi both processed through their alcoholic state what Shay was asking. They both looked at each other, then back at Shay. The song changed again and as if on cue The Cranberries ‘linger’ started to play.

“Top song.” Shay smiled at them both as if to cut through the frigid atmosphere that seemed to have formed.

“Shay.” Rachel started, but stopped as though she was changing her mind at what she was going to say. So Abi cut in and took over.

“Are you saying you like women?” Shay nodded and handed Abi the cigarette that had burned down to the butt in her hand so she could put it out in the ashtray. She took it quickly and turned back to Shay. “So you’re like…Bi-sexual?” Shay just shook her head and then stared down at the carpet frustrated. “You’re gay?”

“She can’t be gay!” Rachel declared, obviously slightly confused. “She’s been with a bloke for ten years!”

“Yeah but I never fancied him.” Shay stated lifting her head. “I’ve never fancied a bloke. I love him, he’s wonderful, and sweet and amazing, but I’ve never fancied him, or felt sexy around him or anything.”

“Then how do you sleep with him?” Rachel asked confused. “You kind of need to be aroused to do that convincingly!”

“Trust me!” Shay stated draining the tenth can and putting it on the floor. “You do not want to know what goes through my head, but let’s just say I have one hell of a dirty imagination!”

“You fancy Leyla!” Abi suddenly declared and started laughing. “Don’t you? Oh it makes so much sense. You always act like a right prat around her, I thought you actually just didn’t like her; but you actually really fancy her don’t you!” Shay felt her cheeks suddenly burn as she knew she had gone bright red with embarrassment. “Oh Shay.” Abi smiled sitting on the floor in front her. “It’s two thousand and nine, it’s not really a big deal being queer anymore.”

“I don’t think Peter would agree with you!” Shay stated rather matter of fact. “Or my folks for that matter, I don’t think the Catholic church cares what year it is, the pope still hates homo’s!”

“Oh the catholic church is always messing with little boys, they can’t comment on anyone’s lifestyles!” Rachel declared standing up and taking her packet of cigarettes off the mantelpiece. “I’m getting another wine, you want a beer?” Shay nodded at her with a smile as she realised her friends were gathering around her and weren’t shunning her, or yelling at her or were disgusted with her, they doing exactly what they were supposed to. They were being her friends.

“Is it your mate?” Abi asked curiously sitting down, but Shay just stared at her confused at this, she had no idea who she was talking about. “Tanya?”

“Oh god no!” Shay declared almost horrified. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Tanya, she’s my best mate, but that’d be like getting off with your sister! And she’s a bit butch for my liking.” Tanya was indeed a rather butch girl, with short spiky hair and a broad frame and wore the shirts and jeans to accentuate it.

“If you’re certain about it.” Abi started as she crossed her legs on the rug in front of Shay. “You’ll have to talk to Peter, yeah he’ll be heartbroken, but he’ll get over it. Trust me.”

“I can’t hurt him.” She sighed, leaning on her left hand as she rested her arm on the arm of the couch. “Oh it’s so complicated.”

“It always is.” Abi laughed as Rachel came back in and handed her a glass of red wine and then took the can of beer that she’d tucked into her armpit and handed it to Shay. “I know that better than anyone.”

“Why?” Rachel asked sitting back down on the couch and taking the lit cig out of her mouth now she had a hand free. “What’s happening with you?”

“Yeah.” Shay said suddenly remembering the conversation they’d had earlier. “What’s this complicated relationship you’re having?”

“It’s very very complicated!” Abi stated shuffling herself across the living room floor so that she was leant back against the side of the arm chair.

“More complicated than being married to a lovely guy, even though technically you came out eight years ago, and fantasizing about doing really rude things you shouldn’t with a twenty-one year old provisions assistants?” Rachel and Abi just laughed as Shay opened her can with a look of self dismay.

“It’s Sam.” Abi stated staring at the wine in her glass. “I’ve been seeing Sam!”

“Who’s Sam?” Rachel asked totally baffled, but Shay started to have a rather uncomfortable feeling as her mind raced to remember the name Sam.

“Joey’s mate.” Abi Stated taking a deep breath and looking up at both of them. “My son Joey’s friend Sam!”

“Whoa!” Rachel almost shouted as sudden realisation hit her after a minute of silence. “That little blonde haired lad?” She pointed at the front door as if to clarify the boy she was talking about and as Abi slowly nodded, flitting her eyes back down to stare at her wine glass, a frigid, tense and silent atmosphere, accentuated by the fact that the cd had finished, fell between them all. Rachel and Shay just stared across the living room at Abi as she refused to look up from the half full wine glass in her hand. Eventually, after what felt like ten minutes or more, Shay found her voice and still just staring across the living room, she simply asked;

“Abi…How old is he?”

Judged By your Peers is available on eReaders for £1.99 and is free on Smashwords until February 7th 2013 using Coupon YJ67E.

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