The Stories

The Woman in White

“As they meandered through the throng of sightseers, a peculiar feeling overcame Sarah. Something made her stop and look over her shoulder to the other side of the square. She gasped, causing Brett to stop abruptly.
‘Oh my goodness,’ she cried, her hand flying to her mouth. ‘Look over there, at that woman!’”

From The Woman in White by Jill Steeples.

Picture Perfect

“He was great in the kitchen, like a TV chef, rustling up just the right thing out of nowhere, despite my constant lack of decent ingredients. A French, guitar-strumming, culinary magician. That’s what I needed. He was just too good to be true.”

From Picture Perfect by Jenny Maltby.

Monkey Business

“The keeper at the local zoo had listened politely to her request and then given her a long lecture on the dangers and general moral badness of using animals as sideshow gimmicks. She took that as a no.”

From Monkey Business by Sarah Dunnakey.

Aunt Agony

“Sarah reached over to stroke his head. ‘Are you ready to go to sleep now, lovey?’ she said hopefully.
He pulled his thumb from his mouth. ‘You have to read to me, Auntie Sarah,’ he said reproachfully, and popped his thumb back in like a punctuation mark.”

From Aunt Agony by Helen Kara.

At Death’s Door

“She deserved a medal, a badge of honour, for wifely services far and beyond the normal call of duty. Either that or a bit of retail therapy.”

From At Death’s Door by Jill Steeples.

Never Too Late

‎”‘Hello, darling,’ she said, her voice a little weary.
‘How did you know it was me?’ I asked, trying to remember not to frown. I didn’t need to worry about wrinkles as well as everything else.”

From Never Too Late by Deborah Carr.

The Changing World of Michael O’Sullivan

“‘Michael O’Sullivan, you’re as thick as the heel of the bread. You’ll be putting a notice down at the gate to advertise, isn’t that it now?’”

From The Changing World of Michael O’Sullivan by Kathleen McGurl

How Deep Is Your Love?

“I fell in love with Mike the second I saw his profile on Actually that was probably lust, but it’s definitely love now we’ve got to know each other properly.”

From How Deep Is Your Love? by Cally Taylor.

The Green Party

“‘You worry too much,’ Marion said. ‘No one expects health food at a 5-year-old’s party.’
A dark look crossed Sylvia’s face. ‘You don’t know the parents at Kerry’s school. Everything has to be organically grown and non-fattening.’”

From The Green Party by Tamsyn Murray.

Out of the Frying Pan

“Her mind a conflict of recriminations and recovery plans, not to mention the urge to scratch all over, she followed her husband through to the other room. Attack, she had decided, would be the best form of defence. Don’t slurp your wine, she told herself. Remember to smile. And don’t scratch.”

From “Out of the Frying Pan” by Leigh Forbes.

The One that Got Away

“I bumped into him in the chemist’s of all places, on a chilly autumn day.
‘Angie! Is it really you?’
The hairs on my arms stood on end. It was as if we only parted yesterday – or never parted at all – and my heart began pounding.”

From The One that Got Away by Karen Clarke.

The Girl in the Yellow Dress

“The first time I saw her, on an otherwise unremarkable Wednesday in the gallery, I wasn’t even sure that I’d seen anything at all. A flash of canary yellow caught my eye and then it was gone, leaving behind it a sense of something else, something feminine and beautiful.”

From The Girl in the Yellow Dress by Bernadette James.

The List

“Andrew had assured her that they could cope with it, and that it would be worth all the effort. He had neglected to mention that the effort involved would all have to come from her.”

From The List by Bernadette James.

Performing by Proxy

“Fred Fowle sighed as he watched them gather under the bullet grey sky. Not an ounce of dignity between them. Even at Brian’s funeral, they were dressed like peacocks, none of them wanting to be outdone.”

From Performing by Proxy by Jenny Maltby.

One Day at a Time

“The rattle of the collecting tin and her cajoling voice reached him long before she’d arrived in the doorway of his office. Horrified, her hand had covered her mouth as she’d backed away, stuttering meaningless apologies.”

From One Day at a Time by Tamsyn Murray.

A Single Strand of Spaghetti

“I preferred the chaos theory of cookery. A dash of this, a suggestion of that. Alchemy, love, nurturing, a blast of heat in the oven as a catalyst – and there you have it!
I’ve often wondered what she would have thought of the very last meal I cooked for her.”

From A Single Strand of Spaghetti by Helen M Hunt

Dinner in Paradise

“I’d had the framed photo for as long as I could remember. It had moved with me from my childhood bedroom, to my university digs and then, finally, to my own home where I hung it on the dining room wall before I did anything else.”

From Dinner in Paradise by Cally Taylor.

Going Backwards

“She had heard about dreadful things happening along these lonely roads, and cursed under her breath for being so foolish and not having been organised enough to charge her phone before leaving.”

From Going Backwards by Deborah Carr.


“As I approach the house on the corner my footsteps slow. I pass the church, the pub and a primary school, digging my hands in my pockets to stop them shaking.”

From Ghosts by Karen Clarke.

Communication Breakdown

“It was a Tuesday. I know that for a fact, because it was the day after the ice-cream van blew up. And that was definitely a Monday.”

From Communication Breakdown by Sarah Dunnakey.

A Day to Remember

‎”I’m lying in bed, listening to Kate clatter in the kitchen, salivating at the smell of bacon, and wondering whether it’s time to stop living a lie. ”

A Day to Remember by Helen Kara.

The House at Summer’s End

‎”The sun beat down on my head as I got off the bus on the long road that led to Summer’s End.”

The House at Summer’s End by Helen M Hunt

From Tescos With Love

‎”Kelly was in the supermarket when the truth came to her, set free by the array of notebooks for children, labelled to guide a young person to their proper role in life.”

From From Tescos With Love by Sally Quilford.

We’ll Meet Again

‎”‘There’s something strange about that house, you know,’ she’d warned. ‘There are things you don’t know about. Things that happened a long time ago. You want to be careful, in that house.’”

From We’ll Meet Again by Kathleen McGurl.

Hive Talking

‎”His bus driver’s salary would never stretch to a luxury foreign holiday, not with Deirdre’s love of clothes shopping, and shoe shopping, and handbag shopping too. But Gerald had lots of friends. Lots. And he knew they would help.”

From Hive Talking by Leigh Forbes.

The Day Before You Came

“The day before you came, Chloe didn’t want to eat her cereal. She likes the milk warm, you see. Perhaps I should write that on my list, so that you know about it.”

From The Day Before You Came by Sally Quilford.