The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Under the Mistletoe

Day Two and story number two! Feeling festive yet?

Over Egg Nog Lattes © Billy London

There had to be something in here. Reya begged all the possible ghosts of Christmas to help her. Reya’s sister had to be the fussiest cow ever, and having made her case to their parents, bemoaning the lack of birthday gift and Christmas present last year. She had ways to go to ensure she had a peaceful day - and that was all anyone could hope for over Christmas. A little bit of sodding peace.
“What are you looking for?”
Reya whipped around. A slender, beautiful woman looked at her with disinterest, waves of sleek black hair tumbling over her lace blouse. “I don’t know.” Reya offered.
The woman rolled her eyes. “Well, who are you buying for? Do hurry up darling, it’s closing time.”
“My sister.”
“And what does she like?”
“She’s really fussy,” Reya said. “That’s why I’m stuck.”
“Aren’t we all? Here.” The woman handed over a dress. “Silk, lined, classic. Took me a long time to convince the designer to let me stock, but she did. Because I’m persuasive.” The arch of her brow told the story of her success. “I’m assuming your fussy sister is a size eight.”
How she knew that, Reya would never know. “Spot on.”
“Come along, I have to be in Sheen in two hours. My sister in law has well deserved champagne chilling for me.”
Fascinated by the woman’s accuracy, Reya followed her to the ornate cashier desk. Carefully, she folded the dress in scented tissue paper, then inside a glossy box, and finally placed it into a luxurious, glossy bag, the name Sofia swirled across the front in gold lettering. “How long have you been open?”
“Three months,” the woman announced with pride, her green eyes narrowing with amusement. “And we’re magnificently in profit already.”
“Didn’t it used to be some wiccan boutique?”
“Exactly. It’s much better as my boutique.” She rang up the dress and Reya handed over her credit card. “Your sister will be pleased. I was named in Charisma magazine as a destination shop.” She smiled at Reya, and she was convinced no one ever said no to her. “Merry Christmas and all that soppiness.”
“And to you. Thanks Sofia.”
She waved a thin hand through the air, and returned to tidying the racks of beautiful rainbow of clothes. Relieved that her final shopping was complete, Reya stumbled into a coffee shop and collapsed into a chair. She felt something tugging at her coat and looked down. Oh come on. Day away, please! Little Owen from her nursery class gazed up at her with his big brown eyes.
“Hello Miss Reya.”
No one could pronounce her surname. It was a given anyone over four would have the same problem.
“Hello Owen,” she murmured, scooping him from the floor and sitting him on her lap. “Where are your parents?”
“Daddy’s buying you a coffee. He said you look tired.” Reya’s eyes went straight to the counter where tall, dark and strictly off-limits for being a far too good looking father, was busy handing over his card. Doctor Be Good To Me, the mums called him. He and his partner had finally started behaving like normal adults for their son’s sake. Actually, it had been his former partner, Carol who had blazed a trail of hatred through the nursery, trying her best to keep Niven away. Reya truly wished parents wouldn’t bother. Their children wouldn’t appreciate it when they were older.
Niven set the ceramic mug in front of her and sat down opposite. “Someone looks comfortable,” he commented, nodding towards his son, who had snuggled into the crook of Reya’s neck.
“Sorry Daddy,” Owen murmured, lifting a hand to rest against Reya’s collarbone.
“Looks like it.” He replied, lifting an eyebrow. Despite speaking to him up close on several occasions, he didn’t come over as any less intimidating outside the nursery. “Finished your shopping?”
Reya looked over Owen’s head to check on her bags. “All done. Last minute dot com as per usual. What about you? Why aren’t you at home wrapping?”
Niven’s face shifted. “Carol’s picking him up in half an hour. We’ve got about two hours together on Christmas day.”
Oh. How disappointing for him. “At least you’re able to talk and make plans.”
He smiled at her, and she felt as mushy as a marshmallow in hot chocolate. “You’re sweet. What are you doing for the holiday?”
“Spending time with my parents, my sister who happens to be married to my ex boyfriend.” Saying it aloud over time lost its shock value. Except to people who hadn’t heard the story before. Niven looked appalled. Reya glanced down at Owen who was fast asleep. “It sounds worse than it is. We’re all friends now. I’ve even bought her a present.”
He stared at her thoughtfully. “What time’s dinner?”
“Oh, we never eat before four.” She glanced up from brushing Owen’s forehead with the tips of her fingers. “Why?”
“Can I come? To be honest with you, once Owen goes with his mum, the rest of the day’s going to be seriously lacking any entertainment.”
She stared at him. “Why? Seriously, why?”
“I never like unfair fights,” he replied, lifting his coffee cup. “Your parents won’t mind will they?”
“Or you like fighting too much?”
“No,” he said with a laugh. “My GP told me I’m not confrontational.” He laughed again. “It’s true. Don’t make that face. Owen, you awake?”
His son shook his head against Reya’s breast. Niven retrieved his phone from his pocket. His expression darkened briefly, then he shucked on his coat and scooped Owen from Reya’s lap. “Carol’s here. Can you stay for five minutes while I explain the beauty of my plan?”
Reya nodded, dumbfounded. 
“Excellent. Owen sweetheart? Wake up and say bye to Miss Reya.”
Owen lifted his sleepy head and waved a hand weakly in Reya’s direction. “Happy Christmas Miss Reya.”
“And to you Owen.”
“I’ll be back,” Niven mimicked Arnold Schwarzenegger to Reya’s burst of laughter. Once he left, she sent her father a text message. He was more au fait with technology than her mother. 

Have a friend who wants to come for dinner tomorrow. Is that okay? She sent swiftly.

A little notice would have been courteous. But as we are cooking for Armageddon, one more mouth won’t make a difference. Any dietary requirements for her?

It’s a he, Dad. And not that I know of.

Is this a boyfriend?!!! 

The extra exclamation marks sent another ripple of laughter through her. Niven returned to the cafe and gently touched her arm as he sat back down.

I hope so Dad. We’ll see you tomorrow.

“Are you sure?” Reya asked eventually, when she couldn’t stare at those arched cheekbones of his. 

“You know Owen adores you. And I’d do anything for someone my son loves. So yeah. We’re going together.”

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Noel Noel

I said I wouldn't promise but after listening to Kings College Cambridge singing Christmas Carols, I am finally in the damn mood! So, here, we, go...

Magic Noel© Billy London

“How does anyone get this excited about Midnight Mass?” Aydin asked, struggling to hold back the gigantic yawn that interrupted the pause between verses in O Come All Ye Faithful, while his sister had hit the top C note to piercing acclaim. The only reason he’d gone with her, was because his sister knew blackmail. His sister and blackmail and Christmas happened to be the worst combination of guilt he normally encountered. It was their first Christmas together as a family since their parents’ divorce, and he had been looking forward to a quiet one at his flat. But Kina had sung In the Bleak Midwinter down the phone to him, then Silent Night and much to his eternal shame, Away in a Manger, and tears clogged his throat.
“Are you going to come and be happy with Dad and me?”
“Why Dad’s?” Aydin asked, once he could speak.
“Because Mum’s going off on a cruise with that friend of hers whose blatantly been trying to get mum to switch teams. We’re not as fancy as London, but we’re good fun in t’country,” she faked a farmer’s accent.
Aydin had put Hertfordshire behind him, along with anything else that remained there. Except his sister, of course. But he hadn’t been able to bear the indignity of his life falling apart to an audience, who would comment at each turn. First his relationship, then his job having to move back in with his parents, then finally unable to help feeling he contributed to the last straw of their struggling marriage breaking once and for all.
An old school friend messaged him. Told him he’d be able to help him out with some construction work if he came to London. With the last of his savings, and a loan from Kina, he got a studio flat on the outskirts of the city and worked until he was able to get back to what he was used to, what he felt comfortable with. There he’d stayed for the last two years, until Kina with her voice to make even Scrooge cry, dragged him back.
“Where are we going?” he asked, noting they weren’t on the path back to the house.
“We’re going to the pub,” she announced. “Alfie’s there as well.”
“The Fox and Hound?” Aydin groaned. “No, please, that pub is so tired…”
Kina flickered her eyebrows. “You haven’t been here for a while, have you?”
He curled his lip, unable to hide his disdain for the crusty old house. It always seemed to be furnished with old men who smelled of old beer and wee. When Kina pulled up, he rubbed the condensation from the window, and blinked. A huge tree roped with gold blinking lights and edged with red bows sat outside of what seemed to be a gleaming building. People were spilling outside into the below freezing air, under heated lamps cradling steaming mugs.
“All right Kina?” a hairy looking bloke acknowledged Aydin ’s sister, his hefty arm around the slender neck of a thin man.
“Merry Christmas Aaron! Hi Zlatan!” Kina beamed at both men, opening the door for Aydin to squeeze inside.
The pub had to be different. It couldn’t at all be the same place his dad had dragged him to on his eighteenth birthday to celebrate his manhood. It seemed to glow, and smelled incredible. The scent of mulled, spiced wine, mingled with the wafting delight of baking.
“All right Aydin!” his father called out, a hand of cards waving in his direction. He waved back in confusion. How strangely happy his dad looked. A tall, sleek woman drifted through the tables with bowls full of flaming Christmas puddings.
“Kina!” she called from around her tray. “How are you?”
“Great, thanks Mike. This is my brother, Aydin.” She shoved him in the shoulder. “He’s home for the holidays.”
Mike – how such a woman ended up with such a butch name – handed him a bowl and a spoon. “Find yourself a seat. I’ll bring you some spiced ale.”
“I’m…” He lost his words in the dark blue pools of her eyes.
“Hello I’m, my name’s Mical. Pleasure to meet you. Merry Christmas”
He wanted to speak, he really did, but he wasn’t quite sure he’d ever seen anyone as naturally beautiful as her.
“Be careful staring at me like that,” She warned, swaying to the bar. “My husband will have your eyes out.”
Aydin blinked again, trying to shake the fog from his brain. Kina shoved him to a small table in the corner that was miraculously free. “What’s happened here?” he hissed to his sister, astounded by the change of the place.
“That bird,” Kina pointed to Mical. “Is magic. Oi, watch out. Paris is here.” Of course, he thought. Why not add to it? 
“I really should find my husband.”
“Kina,” Aydin warned. “Don’t you fucking dare.”
His sister grinned, before calling out, “Hi Paris!”
His ex-fiancée saw them both and seemed to burst with embarrassment. Same, he thought, sighing heavily. Unable to avoid either of them, it seemed, Paris made her way through the throng and sat at the table. 
“Hello.” She sounded so very quiet. Just as quiet as when she’d broken his heart and handed back his engagement ring. It had stayed in his old bedroom at his parents’ home.
Mical leaned over the table, placing a bowl of Christmas pudding in front of Paris, along with two pints of the delicious smelling ale.
“Lovely to see you here tonight Paris,” Mical said with such warmth, the other woman smiled. Mical tapped them both on the hands and commanded, “Talk.”
“Why are you here?” Paris blurted. “I could have coped if you weren’t here.”
“Kina brought me,” Aydin returned, unable to halt the words falling from him. They seemed to gush like a waterfall. “Because whatever you think, this is my home. This has always been my home.”
“You never said that,” she said, in a similar rush. “You were just ready to get out, and get as far away from here as possible.”
“I wanted you to come with me!” he yelled, quieting the pub. “But you didn’t want to support me.”
“I didn’t want to hold you back. You had this look in your eye that everything here meant the end of your life. And I didn’t want to be that bitch. Not me. That’s not me.”
Mical tapped the bell, calling the pub’s attention. “Last orders!”
The scraping of chairs and bustling of feet drowned the rest of Paris and Aydin ’s conversation. Paris rolled her hands as she spoke, talking faster as if she would be in pain if she stopped. “I was really scared that you and I were going to end up like your parents, hating each other because neither of them did what they wanted to do. And to be honest, I think your mum’s a lesbian.”
“Everyone knows she’s been in love with Francine forever,” Aydin dismissed. “Is that really all it was? You were scared?”
“Yes,” Paris admitted, tears filling her eyes. “You’re the only boyfriend I’ve ever had. I didn’t want to regret giving up everything for you and you just finding some London bird to replace me.”
He caught both her hands tightly in his. “Paris, I haven’t dated anyone since I left here. I haven’t even looked at anyone, because I love you, I haven’t stopped…”
She sobbed, reaching across the table to pull him into her. “I still love you,” she cried, her tears soaking into his skin. The relief that swept through him allowed him to only grip her as tightly as she did him. If only the honesty they’d shared in the last five minutes been obvious when they were arguing… Suspicion made him lift his head. That bird is magic. His sister said, without a bit of artifice.
No, he thought, trying to refocus on Paris wiping his cheeks with her thumbs. It can’t be…
“You drinking or kissing?” An accented voice demanded. Aydin looked up into a red bearded face, a huge man hovering over the table.
“Both?” Paris and Aydin suggested, like naughty children stealing Santa’s snacks.
He frowned at them. “Do it quickly. We close in an hour. I’d like five minutes of quiet with my wife before Christmas.” With that he turned to the other tables, collecting glasses and bowls with his gigantic hands.
“The hell?” Aydin whispered.
“That’s Mical’s husband,” Paris confided. “Possessive.”
He could fully understand why but Paris’ sweet smile pulled him back to her. “We’re all coming back here tomorrow night. Will you come?”
Aydin looked for Kina, who was bellowing along to Last Christmas on her husband’s shoulders. His dad crowed with laughter surrounded by his friends. The joy that permeated the very air of the pub caused tears to sting his eyes. How he’d ever left his home…
He turned back to Paris, lifting her hand to his lips. “I’ll be here.”

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

It's Christmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!! It's a comin'!! I cannot tell you how much I love this time of the year. I get to dress up in something unsuitable (low cut and short for the win), go to fancy parties, kiss people under the mistletoe (girl, boy, I don't discriminate especially if you're buff), I get to field nonsensical questions about my womb from relatives I don't speak to for eleven months of the year with an array of clapbacks that get more stinging the longer they think about it.
But best of all, I get to eat. EAT! Everything I can possibly imagine. Whatever I sodding well like. Bring the pate, bring the mince pies (I have had two today. I could go for three), the salted beef, the brandy cream poured over Christmas pudding, the gammon with crumbly cheese and apricot jam. It works, don't judge me. Stuffing! And all these delights come with a comatose-like rest after.
More importantly, Christmas is romance mecca, second to V-Day. So, it means I should get on with a few Christmas freebies on here. I won't make any Season of Love promises - especially not after NaNo wiped me out, but I will try to do my best to tide you over until the new year. There we are then! Food and sexy fumble spectacular! I'm hungry just thinking about it...

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Good Girl

I spy the end of a 50,000 word journey! And as I'm wrapping up this tale, I'm going to give you a little peek at what I've been working on for the last 24 days (and counting if it's not finished today!) Thank you for the support during. Sometimes it's hard to motivate yourself every day, but wanting to do the best for my readers is always a good prompt. That and the reward of Jessica Jones on the best binge I've done in a while (whole series, eighteen hours. Six of them sleeping).

Surprisingly easy to write, I've been focused on one of my Season of Love tales, the studious Patricia and her cheeky - because he's not quite bad - boy Art. Just to explain: Gwen is Art's mother. Mike is Patricia's uncle. Gwen and Mike had an affair and produced baby Brian, who Patricia was babysitting before Art got his hands on her. So... Step-cousins are go? I promise you, this is nothing stranger than some family dynamics I have witnessed...

Here's the link to the bit before:

And here's your sneak peek:

Nothing about this could be good for her mental health. She had broken up with Bradley for a reason – obviously he proved her right by being an absolute knob – and she had more than enough on her plate with school and preparing for her interviews. And yet… Distraction had the intoxicating scent of Art, the softness of his lips and the persuasion of his feather-light tongue. The Chemical Brothers infiltrated the background. The song was somewhat inappropriate, but her focus was solely on the boy between her thighs. His arms felt rock hard beneath her palms, part holding him back and partly pulling him into her. For a breathless moment, he leaned up away from her and yanked his jumper over his head.
“Are you getting naked?” she asked, pressing her fingertips to her swollen mouth. Art laughed, taking her hand away and placing it over his t-shirt covered chest.
“I’m not that mad,” he said, with a grin. “You must be hot.”
The suggestive words came with a languid stroke over her leggings covered calves. She hadn’t really dressed to be anything but warm. Layering in a long t-shirt, a jumper dress, leggings and woollen socks protected her from the sharp February weather. For Art putting his hands in places he really shouldn’t? Heat exhaustion beckoned...
Without waiting for her to say anything else, Art reached beneath the jumper dress and hooked his thumbs into the waistband of her leggings. Her stomach fizzled at his grazing touch, her breath catching in fear and excitement. Topshop’s finest rolled down her legs, her bare legs, gathered with her socks and dumped on the rug. A sweet smile lifted his features, from devilish into almost loving, as he caught her by the ankle and pulled her down into the cushions.
Patricia didn’t recognise the sound that came from her throat, when Art’s weight pressed her deeper into the cushions, one hand reaching into the pit of her knee to pull her tight to his waist. It was better than any sex she’d had. Kissing like this, the way Art kissed her, as if she were delicious, and his favourite tasting thing in the world, would always be better than sex.
“Can we…” Art murmured into her cheek, and tugged impatiently at her jumper dress. “Do something about this?”
“Oh yeah, definitely,” she agreed, lifting her bottom, allowing him to scoop the jumper from underneath her, over her shoulders and sending her plaits all over her face. Free of the wool, Art gently brushed the hair from her eyes.
She nodded, tilting her head back, to catch his mouth again. “Better.”
Like a bucket of ice water, the sound of the front door opening made them both spring to their feet. Patricia leapt for her clothing and placed them hurriedly in a pile next to the armchair, and she threw herself into the seat. Art sat back on the sofa, hooking his ankle onto his knee, only to look down at his crotch and grab a cushion instead. Patricia clapped a hand over her mouth and he warned her, “Don’t you dare!”
“Coo-eee!” Gwen called, stumbling into the living room. “How’s my baby! BABY!” she crowed when she caught sight of Art.
“Hello, Mother.”
She leaned down and cupped his cheeks, pressing kisses to his forehead. Art struggled to throw her off. “God, woman, how much have you had to drink?”
“A bit too much, Mikey Mike is parting,” she hiccuped, “parking, sorting out the car.”
Finally, Art got up and pushed his mother into the sofa. “Just sit down. I’ll make you some coffee. Actually, I’ll get you some water.”
Patricia leapt to her feet. “I’ll help you.” She grabbed the baby monitor and scarpered off after Art. He reached for a glass, and his t-shirt lifted, exposing some crazy definition over his hips.
“Mike’s clearly re-evaluating his life,” Art said ruefully, using the water dispenser to fill a glass for Gwen. “It doesn’t take that long to park a car.”
Patricia leaned against the fridge, catching the hem of his shirt and pleating it with her fingers. “Maybe we shouldn’t go out.”
He cradled her jaw with a warm palm, his lashes fanning over his cheeks, eyes focused on her mouth. “Why not?”
“Umm,” she began, distracted by the intensity of his focus on her.
“We were okay without an audience of the drunk.” When he’d moved so close, she couldn’t recall, but kissing him again was so easy, with the fridge keeping her partly up right.
Gwen bellowed from the living room. “Where’s my coffee?”
Art rested his head against Patricia’s, eyes closed, briefly. “Mind out.” He opened the fridge and squeezed a half lime into the water. He circled her, trailing a kiss over her cheek and she heard him say, “All right, Mike?”
Patricia jumped. Had he heard something? “I’ve been better,” her uncle replied, sounding severe. He stalked into the kitchen where Patricia hadn’t moved, gripping the monitor like a talisman.
He looked her up and down, somewhat more casually dressed than when he’d left. A t-shirt that just about reached her knees, and nothing else. No socks, no jumper, and had Mike and Gwen turned up a little later, probably no knickers either. “It’s warm in here. I couldn’t figure out how to turn the heating down.”
Mike stared at her as if she’d just said she didn’t realise she was a girl. “Really? That little white box I pointed to before we left?”
Patricia shrugged. “I was thinking about my interview.”
He didn’t look convinced, but changed the subject anyway. “Brian okay?”
Patricia waved the monitor at him, the screen glowing in black and white where Brian snored away in content. “He’s been perfect.”
“I’ll go look in on him, then I can drive you home.”
The protest came thick and fast. “Oh, no don’t worry about that. Um, Arthur said he’d give me a lift, and besides, Gwen is toasted. You can’t leave Brian with her in that state. Yes, he’s sleeping, but what if he wakes up?”

Mike made a huff of irritation and lowered his voice. “That boy has a world full of problems, Patricia. Don’t let him get back at his mother through you.”

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Power Up!

I don't know about you but this weekend has reminded me of the brilliance of escape. Where books and stories have always helped, disappear into a world that isn't your own and takes you far away from all.

I did say that once I reached 25,000 words on NaNo that I'd do a giveaway. So I will do. Five books from my back list. Any one you like. One that you've looked at and thought hmm? One that you missed? One that you've always wanted to read and hesitated. Whatever reason. You just need to do two things. Make sure you've liked my Facebook page (I know you have Facebook, don't swerve on me), and then tell me what book you'd like and why. You can email me or post under the link on the page or post a comment on this blog post. The giveaway will end on Saturday 21 November - midnight my time (GMT) so you've got plenty of time. 

Right! Back to NaNo! If you wanted to know which one I'm working on and will absolutely finish it's this story:

Something to look forward to, right? 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Second Chance

Nearly missed a book-a-versary! Coming Around Again is a year old! Bless. The hero made me cry. So did the heroine. And their kids. And their grandmother. In between the tears, there's fun and romance and the other sex. If you haven't given it a go, and you'd like to skip the paranormal of the season, let me convince you...

Coming Around Again on Amazon

Excerpt of Strom v Strom 

Will wouldn’t shut up about his brother. Almost as if he was convinced that his mother had done away with him and there was a government conspiracy involved in Danny’s disappearance. He ate dinner, talking through mouthfuls of mashed potato, peas, and grilled fish to explain his theory.
Stella’s mind was on getting her suede shoes professionally cleaned and the wrinkle of disgust on the bank manager’s nose as he barely agreed to the loan for the second salon.
The phone rang and Will leapt to answer it in the dining room. “Strøm!” he announced. “Dad!”
Stella rolled her eyes, then remembered her other child was being watched by the Prick. The very least she could do was make sure her son still breathed.
“Yeah,” Will continued. “Muma’s here. I’m fine. Yeah, he yacked and everything. No school? That’s not fair. Okay, I suppose. Love you too, Dad.” He handed out the phone to Stella, a wide grin on his face. With tar-like discomfort rolling through her, Stella collected the phone.
“How did your meeting go?” he asked, sarcasm rolling through his deep voice.
“Really well, thank you for asking. How’s my son?”
Our son is chucking his little guts up. I have a feeling our other son will be doing the same very soon.”
“Most certainly. Before he passes the same terrible thing onto you, I suggest you bring William over to me. I’ve moved my meetings to next week, everything else I can deal with from home.”
What. The. Fuck? “I don’t think that’s necessary,” Stella said dismissively.
“They were coming over to me for the weekend anyway. No point in putting it off if William’s going to be ill. I don’t want to miss out on my time with them.”
And if she didn’t, she’d be in breach of their stupid contact order. That fucking judge thought Stella had life too easy. If only he knew. Dick stain didn’t have a sodding clue. “Let him be tonight and if he’s dodgy tomorrow, I’ll drop him around. If he’s not, I’m not exposing him to flu just so you get time with him. That’s what Skype is for.”
“It’s not the same, Stella.”
No, it wasn’t. “I’ll call you tomorrow. Let me speak to Danny.”
“All right then. Tomorrow.”
She heard the scrambling of the phone and a croaky-voiced Danny answered. “Hi Muma.”
The weakness of his tone clogged her throat with tears. “Hello, darling. How are you feeling?”
“Like bollocks, Muma.”
“Who taught you that horrible word?” she demanded, tears drying instantly at his language.
“You said it when we had a flat tyre last week before school. I do feel bad. Dad’s given me Lucozade and Ribena and Robinsons and coconut water. I think I’ve stopped throwing up.”
“That’s something. But keep drinking lots of water and juice. Are you hot? Has your dad put a cold flannel on your head?”
“Yes, I’ve got one. You should come, too. We’re watching TV in my bed. Like we used to on Sundays.”
She breathed out slowly until the urge to curse her husband for ruining every aspect of their lives together passed. “That sounds lovely, darling. Listen, get some rest and I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay Muma. Nighty night.”
“Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
He passed the phone back to Niels. “I’ll call tomorrow, make sure Will’s okay.”
“He’s with me.” She threw off his irritating suggestion. “He’ll be fine.”
Ten hours later, on her hands and knees wiping up something unspeakably disgusting, Stella took back every word of her suggestion that her son could simply sidestep a virus, even though she’d spent the better part of the evening spraying the house with an antibacterial aerosol. With pinpricks of pain needling her head, foretelling an undeserved migraine on the way, Stella packed her second sick child into her car and headed for Niels’ home. Her ex-husband lounged in the doorway as she pulled up.
Will weakly lifted his arm to wave to his father as Stella heaved him out of the car and rolled his overnight bag onto her shoulder. Niels took it from her, by her side in two short leaps. “Come in.”
Stella hadn’t stepped foot inside his home and had only seen pictures of the boys playing together within these much-lauded four walls. The interior wasn’t much different from her own, walls a subtle shade of grey that didn’t show scuff marks the same way white walls did. It was spacious, clean, and just like the man, meticulous. Niels placed the bag down in the hall way and lifted Will from Stella.
“Go and make yourself a coffee. I’ll just put him to bed.”
Stella jerked a thumb in the direction of her car. “I really do need to go to the new premises…”
“Stay and have a coffee,” he repeated, taking Will upstairs and out of her sight. She rubbed her forehead. A coffee would only make her migraine worse.
Closing the front door behind her, she trudged to the kitchen and flicked on the kettle. Now where the damn hell is everything, she asked the empty room. Leaning forward, she rested her head on the cold marble of the centre bar and closed her eyes.
She felt the heat of a palm on her lower back. “Stella?” Niels prompted softly. “Are you feeling sick?” Her mouth flooded with saliva and her stomach rolled with irritation. “All right, come on.”
“No, I’m all right. I’ve gone to work on worse…” Oh, talking did not improve that sensation. Gently coaxing her hair from her face, he edged her to the sink and the scent of lemon made her stomach protest violently. Her morning cup of tea went the same way as Will’s Weetabix.
“You’re not going anywhere, either.”
“Can’t stay here,” she groaned.
“Yes, you can. Don’t argue with me, woman.” He swung her easily into his arms and carried her up the stairs to a grand bedroom. A large king-sized bed dominated the room, decorated in simple grey, black, and white.
“I can’t, Niels,” she tried to lift herself out of his hold only for him to grip tighter.
He placed her on the bed and removed her shoes. “Just for once, be quiet and rest. You’re not going to feel any better for at least forty-eight hours. No work, no cleaning, no cooking, and definitely no driving in your state.”
His hands tunnelled under her pearl-studded jumper, lifting it over her head. He discarded her pencil skirt in much the same way and took her tights with the skirt. There was something unnaturally clinical about the way he undressed her. As if she was another sick child. Had she the strength to smack his hands away, she would have done. Smacked him right around his big head.
He tucked her into one of his T-shirts with the direction not to throw up over it and unclipped her bra with the T-shirt on, maintaining her dignity. Not that he hadn’t licked, sucked, or bitten her puppies, only difference being, he wasn’t legally allowed to touch her personage.
As he tucked her beneath his duvet, he said gently, “I’ll bring you a bowl and some painkillers for the headache.”
“Aren’t you going to get this?” she asked.
He smirked. “I don’t get sick. You know that.”
“Twat,” she muttered to his amusement. Before she could say anything else, he’d left the room. Slick bastard. She was in his bed undressed. It was their first date all over again…

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

All That Remains...

Hey! It's my second favourite season! And to celebrate, a story of some terrible things that hold lifelong grudges, my Witch Bitch Mical, a Spanish redhead (they exist. I have witnessed the glory!), and the loveliest Romanian I will ever write. Light your candles my dears, it's about to get dark...

Remains on Amazon

Remains on AllRomanceeBooks

What's left of a blurb

Considering her husband would happily strangle her on sight, Mical Wentworth has a battle on her hands to win his trust back. Jamie believes she betrayed him in the worst way possible, when all she had tried to do was to protect him from the horror that has stalked her family for decades. Now all her avenues of escape are fading away, she is desperate to make it up to him. She can accept her fate as long as her husband can forgive her.

Strangulation is far too good a death for Mical, and Jamie Santillan has thought of all the ways he’d kill his estranged wife for what she did. But when she turns up on Jamie’s doorstep almost a year after disappearing, the possibility of murder slowly leaves his mind. She’s running away from something. The Mical he knows isn’t afraid of anything, in any world. And nothing should get to her before he does… 

What's left of an excerpt

Barely dressed in one of Jamie’s shirts that carried the faintest scent of him, worn in the hope that it would lull her to sleep. She wandered into the kitchen in search of coffee, following the scent like a Bisto kid.
“Morning,” she said on a yawn. “Do you mind if I have what’s left?”
Jamie barely looked at her, only started sifting through his mail. “If you want.”
She poured herself a cup and blinked several times to wake up. “Busy day today?” she asked into the silence.
“If that’s you asking, if I’ll be leaving the house empty, the answer is no. I work from home.”
She turned around to spread butter and jam on her toast. “No need to crucify me, it’s just a friendly morning question.”
He looked up, mouth open and ready to start a war, when he clocked the shirt. “What the hell?”
“That’s my shirt!”
“Yes,” she mumbled around her toast. “I borrowed it.”
His jaw worked furiously. “Get it off. Now.”
She couldn’t help it; she gave a tinkle of surprised laughter. “Oh, come on. I haven’t stolen it. You can just wash it if you think I smell that bad…”
“You didn’t have any nightwear in that Titanic of a suitcase?” There was a vein in his temple that looked fit for bursting.
“Jamie,” she said, as if calming a serial killer. “You’re being…”
“Just take it off now!” His voice thundered in the kitchen.
“Fine.” She stripped the shirt off and threw it in his face. “Why do you have to be so petty? It is a lousy shirt.”
He wrestled the shirt from his face, “No, it is you taking the…” He realised that she wasn’t wearing anything, but silk shorts. In the cool air of the kitchen, her nipples began to tighten. Jamie’s eye level dropped.
“Hello!” Kelly burst into the kitchen, and saw Mical standing there topless.
Her lips pursed. “I see you’re settling in.”
“Don’t mind me,” Mical said evenly. “It’s nothing Jamie hasn’t played with before.” She flashed them both a tight smile, and took her tea and toast to her room.
She heard the beginnings of their argument, and perversely noted that it was quite turning her on.


Kelly exploded. “What the fuck was she doing? Have you just shagged her?”
“Kel,” Jamie sighed, rubbing his face in brisk strokes, trying to banish the image of Mical’s breasts from his sight.
“Just say it!” She folded her arms, tapping a beat of annoyance with a trainered foot. “I knew it. I knew it was a bad idea you letting her stay here.”
“Kel, she is winding you up.”
“Then why are you letting her walk around naked?” she screamed, picking up a side plate and smashing it onto the floor. Jamie let her rage on, glancing at the cheque he received for his article in Criminal Law Weekly. There was also a cheque from a crime writer whom he had met through Twitter, funnily enough, and was helping with his research. Maybe if he took Kelly for a shopping spree, she would stop her god-awful racket.
“Kelly,” he said finally, as she started on his dinner set. “There is nothing going on. I told her off. She is trying to play me. I am not having it. You yelling at me will make her happier, so please stop it.”
She abruptly closed her mouth. “I’m sorry, babes.” She sat next to him and dotted kisses over his cheek. “She’s just really pissing me off, acting like she owns this place.”
Jamie gave her a reassuring kiss to her temple. “It’s okay.”
She rubbed a hand over his back. “Do you even know where Madam disappears to all day?”
“As long as she’s not here, I don’t care. Here, look. I just got paid.” Kelly’s eyes widened. “Oh my God! How much dough is that?”
“Enough to go shopping. Come on, we’ll go up to London and get you a bag and shoes. Whatever you fancy.”
“Dinner, too?”
“Of course.” He gave another smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “We haven’t spent much time together. Let me have a shower and we’ll go.”
Kelly kissed him and gave a little squeal of joy. “I’ll sweep up this mess and we’ll be on our way to Harrods!”
Jamie stood up and winced. His leg was hurting again. He’d have to take his painkillers and drive. It’d be quicker. The less time he spent on his feet, the better.


As Jamie disappeared into the bathroom, Kelly quickly dispatched the broken crockery, then hovered outside of Mical’s room. Even in the corridor, she could smell that rose perfume of her expensive designer candles.
Resolved, Kelly put her hand out towards the door handle, only for it to be pulled away. Wearing a slash neck knit jumper in a vivid blue with sleek-looking leggings and thigh high boots, Mical stared down at her.
“Going to work?” Kelly smirked.
“Can I help you?” Mical asked mildly.
“Just checking you’ve found clothing.”
Mical flashed a grin that made Kelly uncomfortably aware that she was still her boyfriend’s wife. “That’s so sweet of you to be concerned about me. Mind out, I need to shut the door.”
“Got somewhere to be?” Kelly demanded as Mical hooked her coat over her arm, along with her Birkin bag.
“If Jamie wants to know where I’m going or what I’m doing, he can ask me. I have no problem telling him directly.”
“What if he doesn’t see it your way?”
“Then,” Mical closed her door firmly, “he will have to stay in the dark.” Her mobile began to ring and she answered it. “I’m on my way. No, don’t worry. It’s all under control.” She gave Kelly a look of appreciation. “Enjoy your shopping trip.”
Kelly returned the smile with as much muster as she could find and waited for the front door to close. She went back to Mical’s room and opened the door. There was a familiar chocolaty smell along with the rose and underneath… Something slightly rotten. Like an abandoned, moulded tea cup.
On the bedside table sat an array of potions. Crème de la Mer, Elemis, Chanel, Philosophy…that bitch had money falling out of her ears. Just as she edged towards Mical’s hefty suitcase, she heard Jamie call her. She tried to open it, but realised there was a combination on the case. She told herself that she would figure it out on the way to London. Bitch features wasn’t going anywhere.