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Friday, 13 January 2012

Read Free, My Novel Here: Chapter 1.


3 years ago, I published Breaking Faith as a paperback and on 24 October 2010 I published it as an ebook through Smashwords.

Those who've read the book have enjoyed it: some of their comments are shown below. I'd like more people to read the book. That is, after all, why I wrote it; to be read.

So, I'm offering the chance for everyone to read it free, here on the blog. I'm posting a chapter of the book each Friday until the whole novel has appeared.

The Prologue was posted on 6 January. Here's a link, if you missed it: http://stuartaken.blogspot.com/2012/01/read-free-my-novel-here.html 
Read, enjoy, tell your friends. The more who read, the happier we'll be.

What others have said about

Breaking Faith

...I could not believe how determined this book was to make me read it...set in the summer of 1976, it details Faith’s journey from isolation, deprivation and abuse...to enlightenment...A shocking but captivating story...’ Shirley Mace

I read this book in one sitting, unwilling to put it down, immersed in Faith’s journey from darkness to self-knowledge. The characters drawn with a fine brush...The denouement is sudden, violent and completely satisfying. Mr P. F. Field

...a story of triumphant human spirit. The novel simmers with heat, lust, decadence and sexuality...Stuart Aken is indeed a writer to watch. Karen Wolfe, author.

1

1976

Monday 9th February

‘You’re having me on!’ I thought one of my former lovers must be playing silly buggers.
‘What do you mean, Mr Longshaw?’ Her voice had an edge of nervousness, almost fear, to it.
‘Pulling my leg. I mean you’re not really Faith Heacham.’ It couldn’t be her.
‘I’m sorry; I don’t know what you mean by pulling your leg.’ Her anxiety was briefly overcome by undisguised frustration. ‘But I am Faith Heacham.’
I struggled to accept that Faith Heacham was on the phone to me, of all people. But her naivety convinced me. I answered the rest of her hesitant questions and, in spite of misgivings from a small warning voice, invited her for interview.
Abby tried to recapture my attention, playing the coquette, shrugging her gorgeous shoulders and bringing beguiling movement to her breasts.
I closed the mouthpiece with my hand. ‘Patience.’
The door from the kitchen opened and, apprehensive at once, Abby flung one arm across her chest. But, seeing it was only Ma, she relaxed again.
‘Until one o’clock, then. TTFN.’
‘Pardon?’
‘Ta ta for now.’
‘Oh, I see. Good morning, Mr Longshaw.’
The short call finished, I replaced the phone and wondered what had made me agree to interview this strange girl from the village.
Abby saw my puzzled frown. ‘Who was it, Leigh?’
Carrying coffee mugs on a tray, Ma stumbled over Abby’s polyester wrap on the floor and kicked herself free of it.
‘Faith Heacham.’
Ma frowned at the name. ‘Shilling short of a pound.’ Thumping down the tray in emphasis.
I decided against pointing out the anachronism; Ma didn’t take kindly to that sort of criticism. ‘I’m interviewing her after lunch.’
Abby arched delicate pencilled eyebrows. ‘You’re interviewing the village idiot?’
‘Didn’t sound like an idiot. Local, uncertain, nervous, naive but not stupid. Voice like burgundy silk, with none of the coarseness you’d imagine. Funny, I’ve never heard her speak, you know. Wouldn’t expect that voice from a tiny wench like her.’
‘Beats me why you want a Girl Friday anyway.’
‘Answer the phone when I’m working, amongst other things.’
‘Stick an extension in the Perv’s darkroom and get him to take messages.’
‘Of course! I never thought. Merv’s unique and candid misogyny would be perfect. Work like a charm on every secretary, receptionist and potential model who called. Good idea, Abby.’
‘Sarkey sod.’
I tripped the shutter. ‘Shift your lovely bum a tad to the left. Beautiful.’ Another work of genius captured on film.
‘Can’t Ma take messages?’
‘I do.’ Ma’s face said all she needed to on that subject and she left without another word.
‘She does. It’s not just that. Takes me hours to type a letter. Paperwork clogs up my creative cogs, I’m forever running out of film and paper, and the tax return’s murder. Anyway, a good pair of legs under a mini or micro and some bold boobs in a see-through might keep those damned reps out of my hair. Do wonders when clients visit in person.’
‘All three of them.’
‘Cheek. If I had some glamour here to greet them, there’d be more.’
‘Faith Heacham hasn’t got legs or tits. She’s not glam. She’s skinny and square. I’m glam. I’ve got legs and tits.’ She displayed to best advantage.
‘And very beautiful they are, Abby. But you’ve all the organisational skills of a bramble bush, and your idea of accounting is, “Any money? Yes, stroke no. Spend it”. Anyway, you’d not work the hours I want for the wages I’m offering.’
She yawned her boredom again and I prepared to finish the session with a last couple of shots. ‘Move a bit further over, honey, and don’t pose. It’s “Housework au Naturel.” remember? You’re supposed to be actually doing the hoovering.’
‘As if I’d get involved in housework. I’m not a skivvy. Anyway, if it’s supposed to be au naturel, shouldn’t I be completely nude?’
‘They’d never publish it. And I’d never get you on page three like that.’
‘Even so, wouldn’t you like…?’
‘Of course, even if it’s just for my personal collection.’
She did; leaving just the shoes to enhance the length and shape of her legs. I repeated the poses I’d already done.
The roll finished, Abby decided she’d had enough. She took my hand off the film magazine I was about to remove from the ‘Blad. ‘That’ll wait. I won’t.’ She dragged me into the sitting room, where Uncle Fred’s framed sepia parents, stiff in matching gilt frames, glared Victorian disapproval at us from the ancient oak mantelpiece. The roaring fire countered the ice in their stares, making the sheepskin rug yet more inviting. Abby rested her lovely skin on the soft wool and pulled me down to join her.
An hour or so later, I left her glowing inside and out, languorous on the creamy fibres. At her request, I stuck a stack of singles on the radiogram and wandered off as Hot Chocolate sang ‘You Sexy Thing’, appropriately enough.
Back in the office, I replaced denim flares and the psychedelic shirt Abby had insisted on removing from me during the shoot, and took the films to the darkroom for processing.
Merv, however, was not lurking in the orange glow of his domain. The stockroom door was ajar and, fixated by his view through the tiny window, he didn’t hear my approach. I loathed his attitude to women.
‘Stripping another unfortunate female?’
‘You do it.’
‘Merv, comparing my photography of women with your lewd mental despoiling is like placing Velazquez in the same frame as Vargas.’
He grunted. ‘Seen that ‘un starkers.’
I peered over his shoulder, down through the white-encrusted skeletal sycamore to the lane end where a small, anxious young woman stood ankle deep in fresh snow. It took me a moment to recognize her, though she wore her usual cast-offs and was expected.
‘Not that one, Merv. I doubt even the doctor’s seen that little body.’
‘I ‘ave! Seen the lot. Outside it were an’ all. Doesn’t shave its armpits. All ‘airy they was. Mucky little twat.’
I left Merv his fantasy, unwilling to explore or argue and suddenly aware of the dangers of his corruption and loathing meeting with her reputed purity. ‘Depending how things go this afternoon, you may soon see her; face to face.’
‘Eh?’
‘I’m interviewing her in twenty minutes.’
‘It’ll never effin’ model for you!’
‘Girl Friday, Merv.’
‘Waste o’ time. Less brains than a shagged sheep.’
‘I’ll accept your expert assessment of the sheep, Merv, but have you actually met the girl, spoken with her?’
‘Everyone knows. Even its effin’ dad says it’s thick as cow dung.’
‘I admit he seemed determined to brand her an idiot before he sent her out to work. Anyway, I’ve nowt to lose by giving her a hearing. The only other two who responded were great to look at and fun in bed but the blonde had all the mathematical aptitude of an artichoke and the redhead thought typewriter keys were arranged alphabetically.’
‘You’ll not gerrit in bed, Leigh. Never tecks its knickers off. It’ll not even teck off its coat if it knows a man’s lookin’ at it.’
I turned him away from the window to face me but he couldn’t meet my eyes, despite our equal height. ‘I want that order printed and finished, Merv. I’ll deliver it after the interview.’
‘Waste of effin’ time if you ask me. It’s got nothing you want.’
I left Merv to it; confident he’d do his usual perfect job. As a photographic printer and technician, he was brilliant; as a man… I shuddered.
At my desk, I picked up the morning paper and waited for Faith Heacham to knock at my door. Recalling her, apprehensive in the snow, I wondered again how the skinny, ragged, village idiot had persuaded me to interview her.
###

Of course, whilst I want you to read the book, it would be even better if you bought it. So, if you can't wait until next week's instalment, check the links below, which will take you to a place you can make your purchase, either as paperback or ebook, depending on your preference.

            Sample or buy as any format Ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/stuartaken
            Barnes & Noble - Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Breaking-Faith/Stuart-Aken/e/2940011126079
            Amazon paperback or Kindle To buy from USA Amazon
            Amazon paperback or Kindle To buy from UK Amazon
Apple idevice:


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