Milestones by Heather Peck | Blog Tour Extract | #Milestones | @HeatherLydia1 @RandomTTours

A new, standalone thriller from the multi-award-winning author of the DCI Geldard Norfolk Mysteries:

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, there have been a number of significant milestones: dates when millions of people around the world can say ‘I know where I was when…’

Aelfwyth, born on the day Elizabeth II was crowned Queen, finds her life has shared many pivotal events with such milestones, from the childhood moment when she heard of the death of Kennedy and met the Five Towns Flasher, through wars and the Chernobyl disaster to the culmination of her ex-husband’s persecution coinciding with 9/11.

Milestones follows a life through joys and disasters, from first love to last, through loss and abuse to survival and the realisation, at the end, that what really matters is love and hope.

My thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invite. Milestones is published by Ormesby Publishing and is available in both ebook (including Kindle Unlimited) and paperback (7 March 2024). For my turn on the blog tour I have an intriguing extract to share which I hope you enjoy.


Lucky was now six months old. A couple of mice and a frog in the garden had already fallen victim to her terrier instinct. The latter occasioned a startling episode of frothing at the mouth, but no lasting harm had been done, not to Lucky, anyway. I expect the frog would beg to differ. It was when I was putting the sad remains into my dustbin, that I noticed a dark coloured car. I might not have noticed it, except that it drove off while I was looking at it. The following day,  it was there again. After that, I started to notice it regularly. On two occasions

I walked toward it to see who was sitting inside, but every time it drove off before I reached it. 

On the 29 July, like a few thousand other people round the world, I settled down to watch what had been billed as the wedding of the century on TV. The romance of Prince Charles and Lady Diana was still being described as a fairy tale. Oddly, no one seemed to remember that most fairy tales have a more than macabre ending. The following day was a normal working day, so we both went to bed early.

I was woken from a deep sleep in the early hours of the morning. I couldn’t make out what had disturbed me and was just going to write it off as a nightmare, when I realised there was a quiet rumble coming from Lucky’s bed and a distinctive creak from the front door. I tiptoed across the floorboards to the window, which looked on to the road outside. Squinting sideways, I could just about see the front door, but it looked closed. Then I noticed the dark car was in place again along the street. The rumble from Lucky was getting louder when I tiptoed back to her, trying to avoid the creaky boards, and trying to shush her up too.

I listened for a moment, but now I couldn’t hear anything but the normal noises of the night: wind in the trees outside, faint voices in the far distance, a car door slamming, also a long way off, and intermittently the woo-hoo of the local tawny owls. As I started to open the bedroom door, Lucky left her bed to join me. I felt that a surreptitious examination of my ground floor was not going to be very discreet with a growling Jack Russell at my heels, and I pushed her back a little, closing the bedroom door with her still inside. My first mistake.

I took the stairs to the living room very slowly, one hand on the banister. Dappled moonlight flooded the room and flickered as the wind blew the tree branches outside the window. Everything looked normal, the front door closed and locked. I checked the kitchen diner next. There was less light in here. I hesitated, with my hand on the switch, made a sudden decision and flicked it on. The sudden glare blinded me for a moment, but it was quickly obvious this room too was empty of anything threatening. I turned the light off again, and paused a moment as I discovered my night-sight was now ruined. My second mistake.

Back upstairs to my bedroom, quite quickly this time, as I was now confident there was nothing to worry about. Lucky, quiet now, tried to get past me as I opened the bedroom door, but I shooed her inside, failing to notice anything odd about the darkness at the end of the landing. My third and fourth mistakes. I went back to bed.

Lucky had, I noticed, dragged her little bed over next to mine. She got into it, turned round twice and settled down with her head propped on the side. When I peered over the edge of the bed her mismatched ears, one brown, one white, were visible in the moonlight from the window above her. I couldn’t be bothered to move her back to her usual place nearer the door, so I let my hand drop to stroke her ears and closed my eyes.

There was a loud bang that brought me to a sitting position without any conscious volition on my part as the door flew open hitting the chest of drawers behind it and bouncing back to slam shut again. But by that time the dark shape that had been standing at the end of the landing was straddling me on my bed, and I was flat on my back with a cushion pressed over my face.

I gasped for air to shout, then gasped again for air just to breathe. There was none. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears as my lungs laboured to fill and failed. I heaved my whole body but couldn’t shift the weight on me. I clawed at the hands holding the cushion, but they seemed to be wearing gloves and I could make no impression. I was already failing, getting weaker, when Lucky intervened.

I couldn’t hear much at first, but became aware that the pressure was less, and suddenly the cushion fell to one side. For a moment I could do nothing but draw in huge breaths with painful whoops, and it was a second or two before my ears caught up with what else was going on. There was a fearsome growling coming from Lucky that wouldn’t have been out of place from a Rottweiler. As my eyes struggled to focus, I could see a dark shape on the floor by the bedroom door, shouting and struggling with an enraged terrier apparently engaged in ripping his balls off. For two seconds I was torn between cheering her on and worrying for her safety.

At that moment, the figure succeeded in tearing her from his groin, at what cost I didn’t know, and threw her across the room. Then he wrenched the door open and dashed down the stairs for the front door.

Award-winning author Heather Peck has had a varied life. As featured in the ‘Norfolk’ magazine and the Eastern Daily Press, “Norfolk farm disaster expert turns to crime writing” she has been both farmer and agricultural policy adviser. She bred sheep and alpacas, reared calves, broke ploughs, represented the UK in international negotiations, specialised in emergency response from Chernobyl to bird flu, managed controls over pesticides and GM crops, saw legislation through Parliament and got paid to eat Kit Kats while on secondment to Rowntree. She has also chaired an NHS Trust, worked on animal welfare, sailed a boat on the Broads, volunteered in Citizens Advice and the Witness Service and vaccinated humans against Covid.

Two golden threads have run through everything; her fascination with words and her Gran’s wise advice: ‘You can do anything if you try hard enough’.

Member of the Crime Writers Association Member of the Society of Authors.

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