Friday, 29 January 2016

Spiral (The Salzburg Saga Book One) by D.U. Okonkwo

Title: Spiral (The Salzburg Saga Book One)
Author: D.U. Okonkwo
Genre: Literary / Adventure

Left to raise her three younger siblings at the tender age of seventeen, Nina Bishop is accustomed to solving problems. Now that she and two friends run their own law firm, she gets paid for solving other people’s problems. And as a businesswoman, she can always smell a great opportunity. So when her biggest client, Parker Drayton, organizes a networking ski trip to Salzburg, Austria, she is the first to board the plane. There's only one drawback: Parker is bringing along his two notoriously difficult, grown-up sons, Justin and Hugh.

Even before take-off the tension between Parker and his sons is palpable. But when Hugh causes their small jet to crash, plunging them all into unforgiving back country, the networking trip goes from tension-filled journey to living nightmare.

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Excerpt #1

Nina slipped her passport into her tan leather cross-body bag and zipped up her roller bag. The sharp slide of the bag’s zip punctuated the tense silence of the living room. After a moment’s hesitation, she flicked a glance at the man sprawled on the long cream sofa three feet from her.

In ripped blue jeans and a too-tight white polo shirt, his gray-socked feet hanging over the arm of the sofa, Alex Riley raised his light brown eyes from his latest issue of Classic Cars, his eyes clashing with her blue ones.

They eyed each other for several seconds. Alex eventually broke the stare, his eyes dropping resentfully to her luggage. “All ready then?”

Though her lips thinned at his tone, Nina nodded and buttoned her sky blue ski jacket over her red wool jumper. “Yes, but, Alex–” She broke off. No, she would not succumb to another argument about this trip.

“It doesn't bother you at all, does it?”

She tightened her dark brown ponytail. “I can't let it bother me, Alex. Like I’ve said, this is a business networking trip. How could I ask to bring my boyfriend along?”

“You could have asked Neil." Bitterness laced his words.

Her teeth ground together. “This isn’t Neil’s trip; it’s Parker Drayton’s. You know he’s our biggest client. Besides, you don't even like him or his two sons that he’s bringing along.” In all honesty, she wasn't crazy about Justin and Hugh Drayton either, but Parker himself was fine. At ages twenty-nine and twenty-seven respectively, Justin and Hugh Drayton held senior positions within their father’s chain of hotels. As a solicitor and partner with the law practice she had set up with her two friends Angela Akura and Neil Vaska, Nina was proud that their firm gave legal expertise to well-known clients in the leisure industry such as Drayton Hotels. They had a good working relationship with Parker Drayton himself, but his sons Justin ad Hugh? Not so much. For some reason both Justin and Hugh communicated poorly with their father. Whether there was a power struggle going on or a private family conflict she didn’t know, but Justin ad Hugh often failed to return her messages, failed to get contracts and affidavits signed by Parker on time, and Hugh, whose struggle with alcohol was well known, was the worst. It often made for uncomfortable conversations with their father.

“Why must I like them?” Alex asked as he flipped a magazine page with a flick of his wrist. “While you network, I could be on the slopes. You said Parker’s rented a ten-bedroom chalet. Good enough for me. I don’t have to talk to him or his idiot sons.”

Author Bio

D. U. (Davina Uchenna) Okonkwo is the author of the novel, RISE, and the Salzburg Saga. She was born and raised in London, United Kingdom. An avid reader from a young age, she cites her favourite childhood books as Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume, Hacker by Marjorie Blackman, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, and The Twits by Roald Dahl.

Davina began to write her own stories at age ten and would give them to her schoolteachers to read. Not limiting herself to any one genre, she wrote stories about children’s fiction, romances, and mysteries. She fondly remembers enjoying her mock GCSE English exam at age 15 because she was required to write a story:  “I wrote about a teenage girl who finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her,” she recalls. “I remember my teacher giving me an A grade and writing at the end of the paper, 'What a creep!'

She didn’t think about writing again for several years and instead pursued higher education and graduated with honours in European Business with Spanish from the University of Salford. The course had included an ERASMUS placement in La Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.

It was when, upon graduating and working full time, that the idea of writing once again occurred to her. While in a bookstore she suddenly had the thought, ‘I wonder what it would be like to write a book one day.” She says that as soon as she had the thought, a powerful jolt seemed to go through her, actually pushing her back a step. Dismissing the strange sensation she left the bookstore but it was later that very same day that the idea for RISE surfaced.

She wrote and revised RISE around her full time day job. While she did so, digital changes began shaking up the publishing industry. It was seeing how these digital changes were empowering authors that made Davina decide to publish RISE independently. In the summer of 2014 she launched her own publishing company, A Few Words Press Limited. RISE was the first book published under AFWP in January 2015.

 In her spare time she enjoys salsa dancing, spa breaks, swimming and watching tennis.

Excerpt  #2

Desperate, Nina grasped Justin’s arm and shook it hard. “He’s your brother,” she screamed. “Do something.”

“I don’t know what to do,” he snapped in resentment, and jerked his arm free. His face was so devoid of color that his dark eyes stood out against his pale face. “What the hell can I do?”

They stood outside the cockpit door now. Only Rita remained seated with the baby, a horrified expression on her face.

“Hugh,” Parker shouted at the unyielding door. “Open this door now. What in the hell are you doing? You’ll get us all killed.”

Justin wet his lips. “What’s gotten into him?” His eyes held disbelief. “What's he thinking?”

“He’s not thinking.” Neil clenched his fists at his side. “We’ll kick the door down. Stand back,” he warned, but before he’d even finished saying the last word, a heavy thud ensued from inside the cockpit.

“Ben must have forgotten to lock the cockpit door again,” Emily babbled from behind them. The stewardess stood several feet back, her long fingers wringing together and her throat working convulsively. “He does that sometimes.” She tugged at her earlobe in a nervous gesture. “But it’s rare for us to lock the door on a private jet with such a small group of people such as yours. I think he–”

The jet suddenly dipped at a sharp angle, the force of it sending Nina sailing to the right. Her hip struck a nearby seat with a force that had her hissing in pain, and a moment later, the full weight of Angela’s body hit her back, rendering her momentarily breathless. Emily had been sent to her knees, and Justin lost his balance as he stumbled against Parker and ended up sliding down beside Neil who had landed hard on his backside, swearing.

Further back in the cabin, Angela and Rita’s seatbelts had kept them and little Luke in place. “We have to stay calm and not let fear take over,” Angela kept saying, though her voice fractured with anxiety.

Nina tried to catch her breath. The ice bucket near their seats had tipped, and as she met Angela’s blank eyes, Nina's heart constricted. Angela's biggest fear was being realized, and she had promised her that they'd be fine. She’d promised. Unable to speak, Nina struggled back to her friend, gripping Angela’s clammy hand in comfort when she reached her.

Suddenly the captain’s voice sounded over the intercom, rushed and strained. “This is your captain speaking. Please prepare….I’m sorry….please brace for impact.”

Nina froze. “Oh my God,” she breathed.

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