Single mother Francesca is struggling to get by when an act of desperation leads to her owing a debt to notorious gangland boss, Tony Lambrianu. Tony has his own troubles – a change of image from playboy to respectable married man is needed to further his criminal career. He has women falling at his feet, but none he wants to make his wife. As Francesca is drawn deeper into the dark underworld dealings of Tony and his associates, she has to make alliances of her own to survive. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her small son. This is a roller coaster ride of high stakes, dirty tricks, loyalty and love. Strap in – it’s a hell of a trip! Please note: this is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Staring at the hustle and bustle of the crowds before me reminded me of how I’d felt the first time I had come into the West End and seeing all the fantastic sights before me—the famous theatres advertising famous plays I had only ever heard about. I had felt excited. But I’d also been nervous because I was going for a job interview. At this moment, that all seemed like a lifetime ago. I was young and foolish; and worst of all, I was in love. Or I thought I was. What is love? It makes you blind, ignoring the harsh truths it brings with it. I, Francesca, was the biggest fool of all.
I had been broken and penniless when my husband Luke had eventually left me for my best friend and supervisor Emma. She was everything I wasn’t—beautiful, clever, and a homeowner with plenty of money in the bank since her husband had died.
Frowning to myself, I picked up my cup again and took another sip of the hot coffee, warming my throat. Remembering that time still made me feel sick inside. How stupid and naive I had been. No—sighing to myself and rethinking the situation—how gullible and desperately lonely I had been.
I had been flattered when Luke had sought me out at an office party. It was one of those team-building exercises. He had asked me to dance. He was tall, handsome, and in charge of the security at the office where I was doing my secretarial work experience.
All the ladies smiled, a little jealous at my achievement, so I thought. I was surprised he had even noticed me. He was the original London cockney man, and I was eighteen, on work experience, and as naive as they came. People should have a work experience course on life, shouldn’t they? There I was, living in the big city until I finished my course, which had been arranged through my college in Yorkshire, where I was from.
We had dated for a while when Luke asked me to move in with him. Of course, I instantly agreed—not only to be with him but also to get out of the women’s hostel I was staying at. I suppose we both used each other in a way.
He had a typical bachelor flat, which needed a lot of attention. But we could decorate it together and make it ours. After all, we were in love. That meant you could do anything, as long as it was together.
He was always borrowing money from me, even though he was the one with the real job. I couldn’t understand why he needed to borrow. He was always coming home late, saying he’d had to work overtime, and I’d believed him.
Thank you, Gillian Godden and Love Books Group
About the author
My name is Gillian Godden an Indie author and a full-time NHS Keyworker at a local inner-city medical centre in East Hull, East Yorkshire, England. My patients come from all sectors of society and no two days are ever the same. My duty of care is to my patients and during the recent pandemic, a lot of frightened and lonely people have relied upon us at the medical centre to offer guidance and support. This year is the 72nd anniversary of the NHS and we do everything we can to support outpatients when they need us.
When I come home I like to wind down and writing is my escape from the mental stresses of my day. My job is not a 9 to 5 job and I work to support my patients when they need me so my days can be long.
The medical team at the surgery work together to support all our patients during their time of worry and need.
On a more personal note, I grew up in a large family and am the youngest of 7 siblings. Over the years we have lost touch as life moves on. I lived in London for over 30 years and during this time I worked in various London stripper pubs and venues. I have a grown-up son who now lives and works in London as a haematology lab technician. He has been working on the COVID 19 testing and this has been a worrying time for us as a family.
Once he left for University 5 years ago I had more time on my hands I was encouraged to write a short story by a local library book competition. First prize was a P&O cruise and 2nd prize was £50, I lost to a pigeon fancier and an addicted crocheter.
My NHS colleagues supported my writing and encouraged me to continue to write, however being a little green and naive I went with a Vanity publisher, much to my cost. This experience did give me a platform to showcase my first book Francesca on Amazon and in the online book clubs. I was totally overwhelmed by the response and people messaged me via social media wanting to know more about the characters and how Tony Lambrianu grew up and became so successful in the London Gangland crime world.
To answer their questions I went backwards in time and wrote Dangerous games and Nasty business. These also were successfully received by my now increasing readership, so in order to complete the series, I wrote Dirty Dealings.
My readers are still interested in the characters throughout my books and asked for more information on the lives of Julie and Ralph Gold, so as I do everything I can to support my patients in my NHS job I wanted to do the same for my readers, so I am now writing Gold, the story of Julie and Ralph. Although this is standalone book readers who have read all my other books will soon be able to find out more about Julie and Ralphs life and how they met