For fans of Darkly Wood, here is a sneak preview from the sequel, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes.  For the uninitiated, there is still plenty of time to discover the wonder of the original before this one arrives.  
For newcomers a note: Darkly Wood sits atop the village of Cranby,named after the family (Darkly) who have owned the land for generations, the events that occur there lend a more literal meaning to the Wood. 

New readers will find a stand alone book and fans of the original will find some familiar faces, but why not let me introduce you to a few new faces and one very important one…

Cathecus Flincher was a moral man.  He liked to go to church and he prayed every morning and every night before he went to bed.  There was nothing he hadn’t put to prayer.  Cathecus prayed for success in his business and it came.   He was a stone mason and a fine one at that.

When he had fallen for the very beautiful Caroline Corker, Cathecus prayed that she might someday reciprocate his very strong feelings for her.  The moral and prayerful Cathecus, got his wish and she fell for him above the many more attractive and wittier men in the area.  He prayed for sunshine in the rain, enough time to complete his daily tasks and God was good granting it seemed, his every wish and prayer.

Life was fine for the Flinchers and soon after they were wed, the delightful Caroline became pregnant and delivered him a beautiful, healthy son whom they named Finius after his grandfather.  One year later they had a second child, this time a daughter as beautiful and as fine as he could have dreamt.  They called her Petunia.

Days became weeks, became months and years and his beautiful, happy family brought nothing but joy and pride to the man, who it seemed had everything.  God was indeed good and Cathecus thanked him daily.

But one day a stranger came to his yard and made a very peculiar request.  He was an odd man, who wore an ill-fitting top hat and an oversized topcoat.  At all times his face was half hidden by an overlong scarf and he coughed and coughed all of the time as he spoke.  It was an irritating affectation.  He introduced himself as Wormhold.  Cathecus didn’t know if it was a first or last name but didn’t think it polite to enquire…

Wormhold sends a shiver through me, and he’s my creation.   I daren’t reveal more – no real spoilers … Want some more?  Just one more short piece for you to introduce someone else that is just a little bit special…

She came to men as though she was familiar, as if she had once been intimate with them despite the fact that they had never met.  Men came to her as though they had no choice.  There was only the barest, raised eyelid from across the room required and they knew she wanted them.  She could be theirs or at least there was a hint of a promise in the flicker, but it was seldom so.  Her style was always hers alone. No other woman would dare risk or be capable of carrying off, even the simple things that she did so right.  It was infuriating yet beguiling.

Her mouth was perhaps the only lure more powerful than her eyes.  Those lips demanded to be kissed and when she smiled, it was almost suggested that you might be invited.  Terrapin Luker was a man used to getting his way and he was not to know what really went on behind those striking eyes.  Like most men, he saw a chance that wasn’t there and like all men he was drawn to her. By the time he had crossed the room, the shimmer of her dress that clung to her voluptuous hips had him completely captivated.  But it was more than that.  Terrapin had never felt such a powerful draw in his forty years of existence.   She saw him coming and tilted her head slightly so he would know that she stole a glance and a half-smile, briefly curled on her lips to trap him.

He wanted her like he had never wanted anything and in a shimmy of her hips she turned from the man she already had in her trawl, a skinny creature by the name of Scratchly with bad manners and even worse breath.  In that same movement she dismissed his weasel-like desire, drawing in a bigger catch as she sashayed towards the door with her back to Terrapin.  As if her mouth, her face were not enough, Terrapin stopped mid-step drawn in further by her backless dress that revealed a promise of heaven. It dipped low with the spectacular curve of her back and stopped lower, insisting, no demanding that he should know more.

Normally confident, in charge, demanding and powerful, as befit a man of his position, Terrapin finally came face to face with the woman he knew he would love forever on the terrace as she turned, knowing he would be there, waiting, suddenly bereft of his words, helpless in the confrontation.  His eyes studied her beautiful face and stole a glance lower at the curve of her soft breasts that revealed only enough to make him want to see more. She spoke and her voice was like a lullaby.

“I never wear shoes you know.”

Terrapin was caught off guard and confused, he studied her face trying to contextualise her words until finally he looked down at her feet…

The woman who never wore shoes should arrive in the autumn.  In the meantime if you have yet to discover the wonders of Darkly Wood, you can read the reviews here and download from your local amazon store.


Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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