Saturday, April 3, 2021

Excerpt: Ruthless Women by Melanie Blake

Ambition can be deadly... A sizzling thriller set behind the scenes of a glamorous TV soap, from a Sunday Times bestselling author. Falcon Bay is the UK's favorite TV soap, beamed to millions three days a week from its beautiful location in the Channel Islands. But the show has a new owner, and ratings are falling. The cast and crew used to be 'one big family,' but now they've turned against each other in the battle to impress their new boss and survive the downturn. Writer Farrah, lead actor Catherine, and producer Amanda are the driven, ambitious women who keep the show on the road. But Farrah is losing episodes to her less experienced male rival, Catherine is terrified of the public falling out of love with her, and Amanda's evil husband Jake, vice president of the network, is plotting to get his wife kicked off the show. Can these women team up to bring down their rivals? Only if they are prepared for a battle of the sexes—where they'll need to be as ruthless as the men to come out on top...

The door swung open and all eyes were on Jake Monroe as he strode into the room, ignored the packed table and silently walked towards the storyboard, which was on the wall just by the entrance. He stood frozen, staring at the scant words written there. With his muscular legs clad in tight jeans and his broad shoulders encased in a black leather jacket, he looked much younger than his sixty years. Jake’s presence had always been formidable, but having recently been promoted to controller of drama by the network’s new owners, whom nobody else in the room had yet met, he’d acquired an air of even greater untouchability and arrogance. He was at the very top of the food chain and he made sure everyone knew it.

After what felt like hours but was actually less than two minutes, he half turned towards the others. ‘Is this it?’ he asked, pointing at the board and meeting every person’s eyes one by one, sending shivers down their backs as his gravelly voice echoed around the pin-droppingly quiet space.

The last face his gaze rested on was a mousey woman – hair in a bun, thick glasses and a figure that unkind people would say was dumpy. Her chair was directly under the air conditioner and she was feeling the chill. Or maybe it was the ice emanating from her boss. Whatever the reason, she pulled a beige wrap around her shoulders. The sight of its tassels jiggling infuriated Jake.

‘What’s the matter with you?’ he growled.

The woman’s face went pale as she shuffled in her seat, causing the tassels to jiggle even faster. ‘I... I was cold... so I—’

Before she could finish stuttering her reply, he closed in on her and was now right next to her chair.

‘Damn right you are,’ he snarled, then looked over at the rest of the table. ‘And you’re not the only one.’

Earlier that day, Jake had sent a ‘Drop everything – emergency meeting’ summons to all writers, producers and casting execs, ordering them to gather in Room 6, and signing it off with the word ‘pronto’. Three hours later, here he was, surveying what were supposedly the country’s finest creative minds. But all Jake could see were blank stares and a shivering mouse in cashmere. He glanced out at the angry sea. Waves were thrashing the shoreline boulders. A flash storm was approaching, both outside in the real world and right here in the world of make-believe. Someone was going to drown.

Excerpted from Ruthless Women, by Melanie Blake. Entangled Publishing, 2021. Reprinted with permission.

You can purchase Ruthless Women at the following Retailers:

Photo Credit: Nicky Johnston

At fifteen years old Melanie Blake was told by her high school career advisors that her decision to do work experience at a local record shop was an ‘embarrassment to the school and a clear example that she wouldn’t go far in life or her career’.

They were wrong.

By twenty-one she was working at the BBC’s iconic Top of the Pops show and by twenty-seven she had built a reputation as one of the UK’s leading music and entertainment managers, with her own agency and roster of award-winning artists who had sold more than 100 million records. During this time she also built up an acting agency from scratch which quickly became the most successful independent boutique agency in the UK where she manages clients from some of the biggest internationally syndicated shows in the world including the world’s longest-running soap opera, Coronation Street. Melanie also represents leading actresses from all of the long-running British continuing dramas including EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks as well as titans of 80’s legacy shows Dynasty and Dallas. Her roster have won Baftas, Emmys and pretty much every best actress award going and Melanie is one of the most successful female agents in the world.

In the UK alone – over 25 million people a week currently tune in to watch the very stars Melanie represents in their globally syndicated shows.

In 2018 after two decades at the top of her game, Melanie decided to manage a smaller client list and concentrate on her other passion, writing – first as a columnist for a national newspaper, then as a playwright and now as a best-selling novelist.

She still represents a high profile stable of some of the best known faces on British television but is also now enjoying success in her own right as a producer, author and playwright.

Melanie had a difficult start in life, from an underprivileged, lower working class and extremely religious background and certainly wasn’t destined for success….she made her way to the top without any formal education due to sheer determination and dedication to succeed. Melanie is proof if you want to change your life badly enough and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve success, then you can achieve anything – and she’s just warming up…



  1. "What would I find in your refrigerator right now?" A last misshapen lump of melted chocolate bunny.

  2. A chocolate cream pie from Easter that I plan to have a piece of tonight.

  3. eggs, juice, Easter dinner leftovers

  4. Pastrami, cheese, mayo, mustard- hum, I think I’ll go make a sandwich!

  5. Milk, Eggs, Bologna, Juice, Soda.