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8 June 2016

Blog Tour: 'Chains of Sand' by Jemma Wayne

Today I am really excited to be part of the blog tour for Jemma Wayne's new novel 'Chains of Sand', which was released on June 1st! The book promises to be quite an intriguing and captivating read and I look forward to picking it up myself. I have an exclusive extract from the novel to share with all of you today, so be sure to check it out by scrolling down. Also make sure to visit some of the other stops on the blog tour to learn more about the book and its author!

It is almost a week before Dara returns to the east of the city. This time she isalone. It is Friday lunchtime and her mother thinks she is at the mall with Naomi andRachel, buying jeans, but she has not even told these best of friends where she is going.All week the tail whip of excitement has lingered in the pit of her stomach, like a rubberband pinging, and it feels as though this visit should be kept clandestine, coiled. In thedepths of her backpack lie a rapidly warming can of Diet Coke, her school pencil-casecontaining drawing pencils, a battered sketchpad, Don’t Call it Night by Amos Oz, anewly bought, un-crumpled packet of cigarettes, and her wallet. These are Dara’s tools.She has anticipated both a long wait and none at all; for either she is need of occupation.She walks for a long time before she finds again the winding road and thecomputer posters and the canopy. This part of the city feels maze-like to Dara, riddledwith turns and archways and unfamiliar alleys that seem to rise and dip and flow into thenext as though they are all connected, and all lead nowhere. She strides forward howeverand imprints each bend purposefully into her mind - the cracked parts of stone walls, andgraffiti, and half-erected houses, and windows without glass; crumbs for her to track backby. As she progresses, time evaporates, centuries unravel, modernity turns to dust.He is there.

Standing exactly as before, smoking, he sees her as soon as she rounds the corner,though it is not clear whether he watches her so closely because he remembers, orbecause he would watch any girl with fair skin and light hair. Despite her preparations,Dara is not ready. She wonders if she should walk on a bit, pretend that she has passedthis way again only by chance, on her way to the Arab market that for a blond-hairedtourist – which she could easily be - is a thing to do. But in the end she refuses to flusterand sits resolutely opposite the canopy, delving into her backpack for her sketchpad andpencils. She can feel the man observing her again and in the small alley her movementsseem suddenly exaggerated and disproportionate. She glances up purposefully, squintingthrough the sun as if to study the shadows before her. The man is still standing, amused,in her periphery, and it is difficult to pretend that she hasn’t noticed him. Or intended it.He crosses his sandaled feet and leans an elbow against the shop front, regarding her withan absolute nonchalance that is laced with lightening. Dara squints again. Withdetermination she makes a series of fluid markings that are still too stilted and forcesherself to stare at them on her pad, slowly counting a minute, two, three, before lookingback up. She has waited too long. He is gone.

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