Trickster by Sam Michaels
Today is my stop on the blog tour for Trickster and I am here today to with an extract from the book!
Author: Sam Michaels
Published: 16th April 2019
Add It: Amazon UK Goodreads.
Summary:To be ruthless is to be powerful, at least it is on the Battersea streets…
Georgina Garrett was born to be ruthless and she’s about to earn her reputation.
As World War One is announced a baby girl is born. Little do people know that she’s going to grow up to rule the streets of Battersea. From a family steeped in poverty the only way to survive is with street smarts.
With a father who steals for a living, a grandmother who’s a woman of the night and a mother long dead, Georgina was never in for an easy life. But after a tragic event left her father shaken he makes a decision that will change the course of all their lives – to raise Georgina as George, ensuring her safety but marking the start of her life of crime…
This is the first book in the thrilling new Georgina Garrett series.
It was early evening when Jack’s mother, Dulcie, finally came to sit in the comfort of her chair in front of the hearth, pleased that the warm August weather meant she didn’t need any coal for a fire. She had just about managed to find the money to pay the rent, but there was little remaining, and she worried how she would feed them both for the rest of the week.
As was usual these days, Percy was deeply unconscious in an alcohol-fuelled slumber, sprawled inelegantly across the chair opposite hers and snoring loudly. He was a short man, a little over five feet tall, and nowadays as thin as a rake. She doubted he’d be wanting any food. He’d much prefer to fill his belly with ale, but her stomach grumbled at the thought of bread and cheese. She knew there was a small stale crust left in the kitchen, but the cheese had been eaten the day before.
Percy slapped his lips together in his sleep, and she stared at him as the hunger in her stomach was replaced by a deep hatred and resentment towards the man she had once loved.
She rubbed her aching feet and sighed deeply, her heart heavy with shame. Where once Percy had supported them, she was now left to be the breadwinner, and with no education or knowledge of anything other than running a home, she’d been forced into selling herself. At forty-five years old, she wasn’t as firm or attractive as many of the younger single mothers who worked the labyrinth of filthy, run-down streets, but there were still men who fancied the older woman.
To her surprise, she’d found it was often the younger gentlemen who would pay for her services. They knew she’d have the experience and skills to teach them a thing or two. She could tolerate the young men, especially as most of them got the deed done quickly, but it was the old men who turned her stomach. With their rotten teeth and bad breath, instead of lifting her skirts and parting her legs, she’d rather stick a knife in their chests. She had little choice though, and just hoped her neighbours, and more so her son, would never discover how she kept a roof over their heads.
Percy broke wind, and Dulcie turned her face away from the vile smell, then turned back to look at him with disgust. She thought his guts must be rotting. She wished he’d drink himself to death or have a fatal accident. He’d fallen off the railway bridge twice before and had once been hit by a horse and cart outside the pub, but the old git had survived, much to Dulcie’s dismay.
It seemed to her that only the good died young, like her first husband, Boris. She felt a lump in her throat at the thought of him. He’d been killed in an accident at work when a kiln had exploded in the steelworks, just months after Jack was born. She’d been left devastated and penniless, but Percy had willingly taken her and her son on, and up until a couple of years ago, had provided well through poaching and stealing.
Compared to most of the families in this part of London, she’d thought her life with Percy had been charmed. She wasn’t burdened with several children’s mouths to feed, and Percy’s ill-gotten gains had comfortably furnished their home. She’d kept a good figure, and her chestnut hair hadn’t greyed. But her bones were feeling age creeping in, which left her joints aching and her hands beginning to gnarl prematurely. Dulcie tutted to herself. Who’d have thought it would have come to this? Where once she had looked down her nose at prostitutes, now, at her time of life, she was one of them.
She heard a tap on the front room window and knew it would be Jack. He was the only person who knocked on the window instead of the door. Her hips felt stiff as she pushed herself up from her chair, and as she passed Percy she gave him a kick in the shins. The good-for-nothing so and so wouldn’t feel it in his state, she thought, and she plastered a smile on her face to greet her son.
She opened the door but was surprised to see Jack holding a bundle that looked like a baby. She studied her son’s face. His puffy, red-rimmed eyes told her all she needed to know. ‘Come in, Son,’ she said, opening the door wider and trying to get a glimpse at what he held.
‘Sissy’s dead, Mum. She died minutes after having the baby.’
Dulcie gently took the child from her son’s muscular arms. The baby, who had started to cry, was wrapped in a cut-off from an old patchwork quilt, which she recognised as one she’d given Sissy months earlier. ‘Does the baby have a name?’ Dulcie asked, attempting to hide her emotion. She could see her son’s heart was breaking, which broke her own.
‘Georgina… it’s what Sissy wanted,’ Jack answered, his voice beginning to crack as he was obviously doing his utmost to hold back his tears.
‘That’s lovely, a girl then, and she looks just like her mum,’ Dulcie answered softly, and rocked from side to side in a bid to calm the child. It didn’t work. Georgina continued to cry incessantly, hungry for her mother’s milk.
‘I dunno what to do, Mum. She needs a feed…’