The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

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…