In the early years of World War 2, Margot (Margaret) Dudley works her way up from usherette to leading lady in a West End show. Driven by blind ambition Margot becomes immersed in the heady world of nightclubs, drink, drugs and fascist thugs – all set against a background of the London Blitz. To achieve her dream, Margot rises to the heights and plummets to the depths – and risks losing everything she holds dear.
Applause is the second book in the Dudley Sisters Quartet – The first, published in 2013 is Foxden Acres. Both are available for Kindle and paperback.
Margaret didn’t look. She didn’t stop until she was pushed into a doorway. ‘What--?’ was all she had time to say before her body slammed into the door. With the wind knocked out of her, Margaret gasped for breath. She struggled beneath the body of a man twice her size until she found a pocket of air, and inhaled deeply. A combination of sweat and brick dust filled her nostrils. Her mouth snatched for air and she began to choke. Her captor didn’t relax his grip. He held her tightly as tiles from the roof of the once quaint Jardin Café on Maiden Lane, in London’s Covent Garden, crashed onto the pavement where Margaret had been standing seconds before.
The cracking, splintering sound of snapping slates gave way to a heavier, duller sound like rolling thunder. With a vice-like grip, the man shielding Margaret took hold of her wrist and threw himself at the door they were leaning on. The door groaned, and the wood splintered at the side of the antiquated brass keyhole, but it didn’t give way. Still holding her, the man lunged again. This time there was a loud crack and the lock buckled beneath his powerful body. The door burst open, propelling Margaret through its gaping entrance as the chimney from the café’s roof crashed to the ground, missing them by inches.
Frightened for her life, Margaret stumbled into the darkness, lost her footing, and slid bottom-first down a flight of stone steps. The strap on her handbag snapped and the bag flew through the air, scattering its contents over the ancient flagstones. With the cardboard box of her gas mask digging into her ribs, Margaret came to a halt beneath a huge wooden cross.
‘Have you had enough of life, young woman?’ the burly workman bellowed from inside the door at the top of the steps.
‘What do you mean?’ Margaret said, coughing and spluttering.
‘That was a bloody stupid thing to do.’
‘You’re the stupid one, for pushing me down these stairs. I could have broken my neck.’ She put her hand up to shield her eyes and peered at him through swirling brick dust. Because the light was behind the man she wasn’t able to see his face, but she could see he was wearing workman’s clothes.
‘Didn’t you see that bloody great big sign sayin’ No Entry?’
‘I didn’t have time to look.’ Margaret put on her best voice, emphasising the aitch in have. ‘I was on my way to an important job interview and didn’t want to be late,’ she said, in an attempt to justify her stupidity, while biting back her tears.
‘You could’ve been killed, never mind late!’ the man hollered, and he stormed off.
‘I’m sorry!’ Margaret shouted after him, but he had gone. She could have been killed, and so could he. The workman had put his life at risk to save her and she hadn’t even thanked him. As the reality of the danger she’d put them both in hit her, tears welled up in her eyes.
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Applause! In Kindle In Paperback!
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