Monday, 25 September 2017

Friendship, betrayal, and crossing lines... time to take a little look at 'Tainted Love'.

I have a lot of writing hats on at the moment, it's a very busy time. I'm currently working on The Wife Series - a dark domestic drama/psychological thriller I'm writing for HarperImpulse under the pen name ML Roberts.
But I've also been working on another self-published project, which, time permitting, I hope to release before Christmas. And I did mention last week that I'd be releasing a sneaky peek at this new romance - no ordinary romance, remember, it's me writing here - and I'm keeping that promise.
You can now check out the first few (unedited - this isn't finished yet) pages of 'Tainted Love', a story of friendship, betrayal, and crossing lines... see what you think...

Tainted Love Taster


I love my kitchen. It’s cosy, warm; it’s comforting. Dark wooden floorboards, hand-crafted cupboards, a large round table in the corner next to a huge welsh dresser. I’ve even got a pantry. I always wanted a pantry. My grandmother had a pantry, even though my dad used to say it was nothing more than a glorified cupboard. I like my glorified cupboard. I love my life. It’s a bit like my kitchen, really – cosy. Comforting. Familiar.
“We’re going to be late if we don’t get a move on, Joss. Are you ready?”
Sam comes rushing into the kitchen, his arms full of notebooks, a slightly flustered expression on his face. Sam Coburn. My husband. Ready for work in his tracksuit bottoms and T-shirt.
Handsome. Smart. Funny. We’ve been together almost sixteen years now, married for thirteen, and he still makes me laugh. I still love him as much as the first day I met him.
“I’ve been ready since seven 0’clock. It’s you who’s running late.”
He looks at me and shrugs, throws me a half smile as he swipes a slice of toast from my plate, winking as he shoves most of it in his mouth all in one go.
“You’re such a pig sometimes, do you know that?”
“Yeah. But you still find it sexy, right?”
He winks again, but I don’t answer him. I pick up my books, my bag and my phone and I usher him out of the door. He’s right. If we don’t get a move on we are going to be late. And I’ve never been late for school. Not once. Not ever.


She’s way more organised than I’ll ever be. Joss. Mrs Coburn. History teacher. My wife. Every teenage boy’s secret crush, understandably so. If I was fifteen again I’d make sure I was always hanging around in the corridor, just so I could watch her walk past, man, she has the sexiest arse! Not the reason I married her, of course. Well, not the only reason.
I slam the car door shut, which puts me on the receiving end of one of Joss’s death stares. She’s always telling me not to slam the door like that, but it’s just habit. And I’m not good at breaking habits. Especially the bad ones.
We walk across the yard, weaving in between teenagers loitering in groups, huddled together, heads bent over their mobile phones. Doesn’t anyone talk to each other anymore?
I glance at Joss out the corner of my eye as a group of boys yell something wholly inappropriate at her, even though I’m right there beside her. Her husband. Mr Coburn. Head of the Physical Education department. Science teacher. The man who gets to live out their wet dreams, for real. Horny fuckers. But they mean no harm. To them it’s just banter, and despite its inappropriate content, given their age and Joss’s position, she treats it as just that, flicking them the finger behind her back as she walks past. Which they love, of course, it’s attention. They crave attention, no matter what kind, and that’s exactly what Joss has given them. But she knows how to handle them. She knows how to handle anything. My wife.


Millers Bridge is very different to the last school I ran. The first one I was ever in charge of. That one was in a fairly run-down area, on the outskirts of south London. The kids were disillusioned; distracted. It was a hopeless place, for the first few months I was there. But I turned it around, with the help of great staff and students who finally realised the whole world wasn’t against them. It was, in fact, just waiting for them to go out there and grab it by the balls.       
My job there, though, is done. An amazing teacher called Gary Banks now runs that school, continuing the legacy I created. And now I’m here, hundreds of miles away in North East England. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to be exact. I’m here, running a school that, basically, ticks along quite nicely. It doesn’t need my help. It doesn’t need me. I need it …


“Savvi! Savvi, come on, you’re going to be late! Savannah!”
“All right, Jesus! I’m coming.”
I stand at the bottom of the stairs, watching as my soon-to-be-eighteen-year-old daughter comes thundering down them, her white-blonde hair pulled back from her pretty face in a messy ponytail.
“And don’t call me Savannah.”
“That’s what it says on your birth certificate.”
She just throws me a look.
“Savannah is a beautiful name.”
She doesn’t respond. She sits down on the bottom stair, shoving her books into her bag, checking her phone, she rarely puts the thing down.
“You need to get going, Savvi. The bus is due in five minutes.”
“I’m going, I’m going.”
“Have you got money for lunch?”
She leans in to me, quickly kissing my cheek. And she smiles, squeezing my hand before she runs to the door and leaves without another word. I smile too as I head back into the kitchen. I’ll tidy up in here, then I need to email my editor, make a few calls. And I’m teaching a yoga class this afternoon, I need to prepare for that, too.
My phone ringing jolts me from my to-do list and I pull myself up onto the countertop, crossing my legs underneath myself as I answer it.
I smile at the sound of his voice. I never know when he’s going to call, we don’t make definite plans. We can’t. But hearing his voice, it always fills me with an inner peace, despite the chaos our relationship would cause if people knew about us.
“Hey back. You at work?”
“I am. Another day at the coal face.”
I laugh quietly, absentmindedly picking at the hem of my skirt. “You make it sound like you hate what you do. And you don’t, I know you don’t.”
“No, I don’t. It has its moments. What are you up to today?”
“Writing. Yoga. And I might head down to amateur dramatics tonight, I haven’t decided yet.”
“I need to see you, Summer.”
I pause, just for a second. “Yeah. I need to see you, too.”
I need to see him more and more as each day goes by, and this wasn’t what we planned. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It should have been over by now, but it isn’t. It isn’t.
I can hear in the background that he isn’t alone now, so I ready myself for the call to end. For him to go back to his life and let me get on with mine.
“I have to go,” he almost whispers down the line, and I don’t even get a chance to reply before he hangs up.
I don’t normally make bad decisions. He’s one I could’ve stopped myself from making, I could have walked away; should have walked away. But I didn’t. And I don’t regret what I did.
I don’t.
Not yet.

© Michelle Betham 2017

'Tainted Love' will be released - fingers crossed - late 2017. 
Watch this space for pre-order details and the cover reveal, which should be coming soon!
And in the meantime, have you started reading The Wife yet? Part One (To Have and to Hold) is out now, and it's still FREE to download from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Kobo and iBooks! What have you got to lose...? 😉

Michelle x

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Book reviews, and why we authors value them so much.

This is the part of being an author that I have never liked, because I hate begging, but when it comes to book reviews, sometimes it's necessary. 

As an author, especially when it comes to Amazon, reviews really do matter. The more Amazon reviews a book has, the more Amazon will push that book, that's a fact. But, more importantly, reviews give authors/publishers much needed feedback. So when we authors keep banging on about how important reviews are to us, we're not doing that because we think it's what people want to hear, it's true. Reviews are extremely important, which is why I'm on a begging mission right now, asking for reviews of my latest release (writing as M L Roberts) To Have and to Hold (The Wife - Part One).

It's quite frustrating for me, because I have a lot of people who read my books, but not all of them leave reviews, and I really don't like asking people to do that because it can feel like I'm harassing them at times, but this latest release has been published through Harper Impulse, it isn't one of my self-published books, therefore there's more pressure on me as an author to ask readers to leave reviews, which isn't always an easy job. I don't want to pressure people, but just a couple of short sentences, even a few words, that's all that needs to be left on Amazon these days. It can take seconds, and really take the pressure off authors. I've been asked by my editor to try and round up some fresh reviews for To Have and to Hold, so it really is important for me to find some lovely, kind readers who are willing to help with this; family and friends, too, but this is where I, personally, hit a stumbling block. Most of my friends don't have Kindles/eReaders, or they want to wait until the complete eBook/paperback version of the book is released next March. So they aren't even reading To Have and to Hold. And as for family... that's complicated. Needless to say, their support is not forthcoming. Which means I rely on readers/reviewers/bloggers even more. I really do need all of your help. Plus, and this isn't an exaggeration, if my publishers feel that I can't drum up enough response to my books, well, that doesn't look good for my future with them. Or with any publisher/agent. We authors need people behind us, we really can't do it alone. 

The book itself is very short, the first part of a four-part series, it's only around 80 -100 pages long. And right now it's FREE to download from Amazon UK and US, so it isn't going to cost a thing to read and review it. And when I say I'd be grateful for any reviews - no matter how short - I really do mean that. You'd be throwing me a massive lifeline, meaning I'm not being asked constantly to drum up reviews which means, in turn, I'm not constantly begging for them on social media. 

So, go on. Help an author out here. 🙂 If you've already read The Wife - Part One, and you've left a review on Amazon, thank you. ❤️ You're a star. If you've read it, and you can spare a few minutes to nip over to Amazon and leave a review, you're also a star. ❤️ And if you haven't yet read it, but you're going to, when you're done (and preferably if you've liked it!!), could I please beg ask you to think about leaving just a teeny, tiny review on Amazon? Please? You have no idea how grateful I'd be. Thank you, so much! 🙏

And don't forget, To Have and to Hold (The Wife - Part One) is currently FREE to download from Amazon UK and US!

Once again, thanks for the reviews that have already been left, and thank you in advance for those to come. Fingers crossed!! 😉

Michelle x

Friday, 1 September 2017

It's Publication Day for To Have and to Hold (The Wife - Part One) by M L Roberts

Today sees the publication of To Have and to Hold, Part One of The Wife, a brand new four-part psychological thriller series published through Harper Impulse, and written by M L Roberts. Which, if you don't already know by now, is me. My darker alter-ego, if you like. 

The Wife explores the aftermath of a tragic event in the life of Ellie and Michael Travers, and how it affects their once-perfect life together. Want to find out more? Check out the blurb below...

If you can’t stop watching Doctor Foster and The Affair, you won’t be able to put down this chilling new four-part series.

Michael and Ellie are that couple.
The ones who have it all.
Success, charm, trust…but no relationship is perfect and the events of the past cast a shadow over their charmed life together.
When lecturer Michael starts to mentor a new student, Ellie fears that history is repeating itself. As paranoia takes its ugly hold, it’s clear some things just can’t be forgotten…or forgiven.

The Wife is available to download now, and if you're in the UK it's FREE! So, what have you got to lose? 😉

And if you want to check out the first chapter, and try before you buy, you can do so right HERE.

The perfect life. The perfect wife...?

Download Part One of The Wife now and start Ellie's story. Part Two coming November 3rd...