It's Sample Sunday again! Where has the time gone? This week you can read a random excerpt from my comedy mystery novel, The Fashion Police...

I stumbled through the doors of Hi-Tec’s plush Hertford office with my rucksack threatening to slide off my shoulder. I juggled two mochacinos and four chocolate muffins with extra chocolate sprinkles in one hand, and two mozzarella paninis and a bottle of sparkling water in the other hand. I’ll admit that the sparkling water was going a bit overboard, but this was a celebration after all.

After I made my way through the empty reception area, which was decked out in soft creams and browns with matching sofas, I swung a left down the corridor that ran past the busy underwriter’s office. Hacker called out a ‘Yo’ as I weaved past him and deposited my feast on my desk – if you could call it a desk; it was more like a slightly oversized coffee table. He sat surrounded by various monitors and computer equipment, arranged in an arc in front of him. It looked like something from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

Hacker had to be the least techy-looking guy I’d ever seen. He was black, over six and a half feet tall, with two plaits sticking straight out from the top of his head and a goatee beard. He wore a hoodie three sizes too big, jeans that were so baggy they defied the laws of gravity, and he looked more like a gangster rapper than a computer expert. I’d heard that Brad met him when they were in the SAS together, and he was from somewhere like Haiti or Tahiti – I always got those two mixed up. Rumor had it that even though Brad had started Hi-Tec, he was still involved in his Secret Army Stuff from time to time. I didn’t believe it was just a rumor, though. I knew first-hand about Brad disappearing for months on end.

‘Yo back. Want a mochacino?’ I wiggled a cup in his direction.

Hacker stopped tapping on his keyboard and glanced over at my desk. ‘Don’t you know that stuff will kill you? Your body is a temple.’ He circled his arms in the air and pressed his palms together, slowly bringing his hands to the center of his body, doing some kind of yoga deep breathing.

More for me then, yay. ‘Sparkling water?’

‘That’s more like it.’ He grinned, and a gold tooth shined back at me. ‘How do you stay so thin, eating like that?’

‘I guess I’m just lucky that I’ve got skinny genes,’ I said as I tossed him the water, which he caught with a swift flick of the wrist. ‘Is Brad here?’ I glanced across the corridor to Brad’s empty office.

‘No, he’s at a secret meeting,’ Hacker said as he fiddled around with a weird-looking electronic contraption in front of him, which looked a lot like a mixing deck one might expect to find in a recording studio. ‘He left those files on your desk.’

I picked up the two folders. One was for a Callum Bates, and the other was for a guy named Paul Clark. I’d never heard of Clark, but Callum Bates was a very familiar name. I’d come across him in my days as a young police officer, way back before I’d joined the special operations team. If anything was going down in the area that involved car crime – jacking, theft, cloning, you name it – Callum was involved.  I studied the file and chuckled. He’d recently put in an insurance claim for a stolen van. No wonder Brad wanted me to check it out to make sure it was genuine. Callum had probably nicked it himself. 

The Fashion Police is available in paperback and multiple ebook formats.

Thanks for sampling!

Sibel xx