Read an extract from Friends like These: the unmissable new psychological thriller

Read an extract from Friends like These: the unmissable new psychological thriller

Read an exclusive Friends like These extract: as addictive as Friend Request, as gripping as The Girl Before.

Friends Like These banner

Lizzie hasn’t thought much about Becca since the accident.

She remembers the blood though. She can see how you wouldn’t be the same again after something like that. No one was surprised when Becca didn’t come back to work.

And Lizzie’s different these days too. She used to be the one in the shadows, stalking Becca’s perfect life online, but a lot has changed since then.

So when Becca’s ex shows up on Tinder, Lizzie swipes right. Why not? Doesn’t she deserve a chance at happiness as well?

Becca will have moved on. There’s no way she’d even remember Lizzie, no way she could know anything about her life – is there?

She’s about to find out that with a friend like Becca, she doesn’t need enemies…

See what readers are saying about FRIENDS LIKE THESE

‘a rollercoaster ride of plot twists and turns that will leave you breathless.’ NetGalley Reviewer

‘a cleverly written and well plotted thriller’ Goodreads Reviewer

I struggled to put this book down and read it at every opportunity.’ NetGalley Reviewer

‘this is a readable thriller packed with characters many of us will undoubtedly relate to.’ Amazon Reviewer

‘an incredibly modern and accessible psychological thriller.’ NetGalley Reviewer

Read the extract here: Friends like These extract.

Learn more about Friends like These here.

Read an extract of 'Falling Leaves and Fireworks' by Chrissie Manby

Read an extract of 'Falling Leaves and Fireworks' by Chrissie Manby

The Benson Edwards family meet a little black cat in this funny, feel-good autumnal novella.


Chapter One


Ronnie Benson, Mark Edwards and their toddler daughter, Sophie, had not long moved into their new house on Three Spires Close when the little black cat first came calling. It was a scraggy wisp of a thing. Thin and mangy with very visible fleas. Whenever Ronnie saw it, especially when she was out with Sophie in the pushchair, she would do her best not to make contact with its big yellow-green eyes. She didn’t want to encourage the poor creature. The last thing she wanted was for her daughter to pick up cat germs. Though she was an animal lover at heart, Ronnie’s determination to keep her daughter safe trumped everything.

‘It must belong to someone,’ she told Mark when he mentioned it was hanging around again. They’d seen it almost every day for a fortnight by this point. Every time someone came to the door it would run up the garden path full of heart-breaking hope that this might be its chance. Someone would let it in. ‘It looks well cared for,’ Ronnie insisted.

Both of them knew that wasn’t true.

‘If it’s still here on Saturday, I’ll call the cat shelter,’ said Mark. ‘They’ll have a space for it. Maybe its owner is looking for it right now.’

Ronnie nodded. It was all they could do. Call the shelter. They couldn’t take it in themselves. Sophie was still so small. The cat might scratch her. Add to that the fact they were skint. Mark had been working all the hours he could at the joinery firm so they could move out of Ronnie’s parents’ place and rent their little house. Ronnie had to feed the three of them on a painfully small budget. They were stretched to the absolute limit. There was no money for anything but the necessities. Cat food and vets’ bills were out of the question. Still, Ronnie felt guilty as the cat attempted to endear itself to her. Every time she stepped out of the house, it would be there, mewing and sidling up and trying to wrap itself around her legs.

‘You’ve come to the wrong place,’ Ronnie said firmly. ‘There’s nothing for you here. Shoo! Find someone else to bother.’

But Sophie had other ideas.

Earlier that week, Ronnie had taken her twenty-month-old daughter for a check-up. She was worried that Sophie wasn’t hitting all the developmental milestones she should be. She was growing. She was actually quite tall for her age. She was steady on her feet. But she still wasn’t saying much. No matter how much time Ronnie spent chatting to her little girl, Sophie remained resolutely silent. Until . . .


Ronnie was so surprised by her daughter’s sudden utterance that she assumed it must have come from someone else. But no, they were alone on the street. No one was hiding in the bushes. Ronnie crouched to fasten Sophie into her pushchair and she said it again.

‘Cat!’ This time she pointed for emphasis.

‘Cat! Cat! Cat!’

Now she had started, there was no stopping her.

The little black cat ventured closer, sensing its chance. Sophie beamed. ‘Cat!’ she said again. ‘Cat!’

Ronnie was ready to cry with tears of utter relief. Sophie ‘cat, cat, catted’ all the way to the shops. Where Ronnie bought a tin of cat food. By the time they got home again – to find the cat sitting right on the doorstep with an air of expectation – Ronnie knew what would happen next. Mark came in from work to discover that his little family had expanded from three to four. The tiny black cat had given Sophie something she felt worth talking about, how could they possibly refuse her a home?


Buy Falling Leaves and Fireworks for Kindle here.

Read an extract of Graham Norton's debut novel

Read an extract of Graham Norton's debut novel

Holding is Graham Norton’s masterful debut novel. Published today, it already has received rave reviews with the Sunday Times calling it Poised and perceptive’ and Good Housekeeping describing it as ‘Deeply accomplished, with brilliantly observed, entertaining characters and an atmospheric setting’.

Decide for yourself by reading the first two chapters here and watch Graham’s introduction:


HOLDING by Graham Norton

Holding by Graham Norton is out now in hardback, ebook and audio

Listen to a free extract of Late Summer in the Vineyard by Jo Thomas

Listen to a free extract of Late Summer in the Vineyard by Jo Thomas

Ahead of the release of Jo Thomas’ novel LATE IN THE SUMMER VINEYARD this week, we couldn’t wait to share a sneak peek into the world of Emmy Bridges with you.

Escape to the South of France and listen to a free extract here

If you want to know what Emmy gets up to next, you can order your copy of LATE SUMMER IN THE VINEYARD here to arrive on publication day.


Read a free extract of Kathryn Hughes' new novel THE SECRET

Read a free extract of Kathryn Hughes' new novel THE SECRET

It’s not out in physical format until September but we’re so excited about THE SECRET, that we want to let you in on it now… or a bit of it anyway! Kathryn’s debut novel THE LETTER was a No. 1 eBook bestseller, garnering thousands of glowing reader reviews along the way, so we’re pretty convinced you’re going to devour her this one.

Extract from THE SECRET

If you’re desperate to know the whole story THE SECRET is already available in eBook here and in audio here. You can pre-order the paperback here.

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… Kathryn’s all-time favourite reads

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Introducing Bookshelf – our very own app!

Introducing Bookshelf – our very own app!

We are beyond excited to launch a project we’ve been working on for a little while now – the Bookshelf app – available from all app stores. Ever been browsing for your next Kindle read and wished you could try before you buy? Or been on a long train ride and wanted to read a little bit of everything? Well, we’ve made an app for that!

Bookends Bookshelf is home to samples of over 100 of our books, available to download straight to your device on the move (or, let’s face it, in bed at home), and it’s absolutely free! You can pick from our curated shelves, showcasing our top picks, reading group titles and recommendations for something a little different. Or you can delve into the full library and take your pick of stories from Jill Mansell to David Nicholls, Tracy Rees to Victoria Hislop.

We’ll be rolling the launch out over a few weeks so stay tuned for further exciting announcements about the app, including a buylink feature, so you will have the option to buy the whole story from your favourite ebook retailer via the app. Plus, registered users will have opportunities to get the full ebooks for free as part of our monthly bonus incentives. Meanwhile, sign up, get reading and enjoy! We’d also love to hear what you think and what books you discover through the app, so feel free to send us an email to to let us know.

Happy reading!

Team Bookends x


Free extract from THE LETTER by Kathryn Hughes

Free extract from THE LETTER by Kathryn Hughes

Thousands of readers have already expressed your love for the Kindle bestseller from debut author Kathryn Hughes and next week it’s finally out in paperback and we cannot wait. So much so that we thought we’d give you a sample of this heartbreaking novel…

‘How are you today then?’

It was a loaded question. Graham knew full well the circumstances of her domestic situation. He had commented on her bruises or split lip on more than one occasion. He was always so kind and Tina could feel herself beginning to wobble. Graham took her elbow and guided her to a chair.

‘What’s he done this time?’ he asked, tilting her chin and scrutinising her face.

‘I hate him sometimes, Graham, I really do.’

He pulled her into his arms and smoothed her hair. ‘You deserve so much more, Tina. You’re twenty-eight years old. You should be settled in a loving marriage by now, perhaps a couple of kids…’

She pulled away, her mascara-streaked face searching his. ‘You didn’t come to help, then.’

‘I’m sorry,’ Graham cradled her head again. ‘Tell me what’s happened.’

‘You haven’t got time for this, today of all days.’

But Tina knew Graham would always have time for her. He had been hopelessly in love with her since the day they met. Tina loved him too but only as a dear friend. At twenty years her senior, she saw him as a father—figure and besides, he already had a wife, and it just wasn’t in her nature to steal another woman’s husband.

‘He wants me to put a bet on.’ She sniffed and Graham pulled out his crisp, starched handkerchief and handed it to her.

‘Nothing new there,’ Graham said. ‘He’s one of my best customers. And it is Grand National Day.’

‘That’s what he said. But this is different, Graham. He’s talking about fifty pounds!’

Even Graham baulked at the amount.

‘Where on Earth did he get that kind of money?’

‘He stole it from me,’ Tina sobbed.

Graham looked confused as well he might. ‘From you?’ he asked. ‘I don’t understand.’

‘I’ve been saving up, Graham. Saving to plan my esc….’ She stopped abruptly. She didn’t want to go down that road with Graham right now. He had offered her money in the past, but she had refused. She still had some pride and self-esteem left.

‘It doesn’t matter what I’ve been saving for, the fact is it’s all my money and he wants me to put it on a horse in the Grand National.’ Her voice rose with the incredulity of it all.

Graham wasn’t sure how to respond but the bookie in him spoke first.

‘Which horse?’

Tina glared at him in disbelief.

‘Does it matter? I’m not doing it.’

‘Sorry, Tina. I was just curious that’s all,’ he hesitated. ‘But what if it wins?’

‘It won’t.’

‘What’s its name?’ Graham insisted.

Tina sighed and rooted in her handbag for the cigarette packet which she handed to Graham. He read the name and exhaled gently.

‘Red Rum!’ Graham nodded his head slowly. ‘He’s got a chance, Tina, I have to be honest. It is his first National, but he may yet start as favourite. There’s a big Australian horse

though, Crisp. I think he’s likely to be up there too.’ Graham put his arm around Tina’s shoulders. ‘He’s got a chance, Tina, but there are no guarantees in the National.’

She leant against him welcoming the comfort of his arms.

‘I’m not doing it, Graham,’ she said quietly.

There was a steeliness in her voice that told Graham arguing would be futile.

‘It’s your choice, Tina. I’ll be here for you whatever happens.’

She smiled and kissed him on the cheek.

‘ You’re a good mate, Graham. Thanks.’

Graham looked away, slightly embarrassed.

‘Anyway,’ he said brightly, ‘You never know, you might find a fifty quid note in the pocket of that old suit.’

Tina scoffed. ‘Do fifty pound notes actually exist? I’ve never seen one.’

Graham managed a laugh. ‘I’d better get back,’ he said, standing up. ‘Nigel will be wondering where I’ve got to.’

‘Of course. I won’t keep you any longer. What time’s the race?’


Tina glanced at her watch. Only six hours to go.

‘Let me know if you change your mind and want to put the bet on.’

‘I won’t, but thanks.’

Tina turned her attention to the bag of clothes that had been left outside the shop. She held up the jacket of the suit once again and remembering Graham’s words, she slipped her hand into the inside pocket. She suddenly felt a bit foolish, but then her hand touched what appeared to be paper and her heart skipped a beat. She pulled out the paper and turned it over. It was not a fifty pound note, but an old, yellowing envelope.


THE LETTER is available to pre-order in paperback now

Liked this? Why not read…

This free extract from Jo Thomas’ new eshort A RED SKY AT NIGHT



Free extract: THE LAST KISS GOODBYE by Tasmina Perry

Free extract: THE LAST KISS GOODBYE by Tasmina Perry

The wait is almost over for the publication of Tasmina Perry‘s brand new novel and Our  Choice for September THE LAST KISS GOODBYE. But we’re kind souls here at Bookends and we thought we’d treat you to a sneak peak a few days early. This is a tale of love, loss and long-buried secrets you’re not going to want to put down.


Pre-order the book here

Liked this? Why not read

A free extract from Louise O’Neill’s ASKING FOR IT

Take a peek at MY EVERYTHING by Katie Marsh


Be among the first to read an extract from ASKING FOR IT by Louise O'Neill

Be among the first to read an extract from ASKING FOR IT by Louise O'Neill

We could almost take off with excitement over the upcoming publication of ASKING FOR IT – the new novel from Louise O’Neill, whose debut ONLY EVER YOURS won her the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year Award. Team Bookends are convinced you and the young adults in your life  are going to fall over yourselves for this book, so we caved. We’ve got an extract for you to read and it’s every bit as sharp and provocative as you could hope for.

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident.

One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there.  She doesn’t know why she’s in pain.

But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night.

But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes . . .

Read the free extract here!

Pre-order ASKING FOR IT  


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7 free drawings to colour-in

Why am I single? By Joanna Bolouri