The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

When Will I See You Again?

It's um been a while. I have got the best of excuses though. First, I started a new job! Yes, it's now four months old, but it's still brand new and it is testing all of my emotional and intellectual limits. I love it to bits and pieces! It also requires me being in bed like I'm back at school, I've finished my English homework and I want my teacher to give it the highest grade possible. I've been dedicated to my job before, and now it's in overdrive. I want to do well for my company, the people I work for and more importantly, I want to do well for myself. Prove I'm worth the salary (and it's a nice one too!).
My family is doing super well (some of us more than others, but I won't jinx it just in case) and I be making plans for 2017 travel destination (Japan is calling to me for real and it has to be quality travel), even my hair is obeying me, thanks to the talented scissor work of a true professional.
This leads to the small matter of me lacking the type of conflict that leads me to writing. I feel a little like Ray Charles without the drugs, and I wonder. Do I need to suffer to write? I mean I can't write when I'm emotional, you know this, but every story has been born out of some sort of drive to channel what I feel into a resolution I'm satisfied with. It's a logical explanation as why else would I write so fervently about people rising from the dead, finding their place in the world, overcoming the worst experiences to succeed, to love, to live. Or maybe, what I need is to not expect so much from myself. In the last five years, I've written a lot. A LOT. And I found the time to dedicate my time and energies to writing. Maybe I need a sabbatical to remind myself what I need about writing to get back there.

Or maybe, I'll just do NaNoWriMo and compete myself back into the rhythm. A little bullying never hurt me. Just ask Hot Must Hank.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Hot In The City

Nah, that's not London. It's Lucca, Italy, but it could have been. It's too hot here to take photos. You just want a Frappucino a bit of shade and your Kindle to chill. It's almost like being on holiday, all this sun and heat and basic breeze. Almost. The problem is finding a moment to get some wordage down. On the other hand, it's so much easier to conjure ideas after an ice cold gin and tonic and some fresh strawberries and cream. I'm still wavering between three stories, and it really is a race to the finish for all of them. Whichever one gets there, I'll have a celebration on here and everywhere for actually getting something done whilst in the most challenging job I've ever had. Loving it, but it's not leaving a lot of room for a tap on the laptop.

Have a peek at story 3 (Beppe's bard and Carole's compilation are both well ahead) and have a punt for yourself as to which one will be done first!

Like Fire 

“Hot tubs?” Tae queried. “In this country?”
Norah shrugged. “Not my party. Just... maybe deal with your Kent Forest.”
“Your overgrowth down south.”
“You’re such a cow!” Taemar raged. No one’s seen my down south area for months.”
Her sister made a face, muttering, “Maybe that’s why you should do something about it and get it seen.”
“What was that?”
“I said I’m going to get myself clean. Have a shower. But I’ve laid out a bikini for you and a nice sheer cover up and some huge heels and we can do this birthday thing.”
“I’m not up to people seeing me in a bikini.”
Norah paused, her glib sister for once unable to console her. In the six months since the accident, Taemar felt herself curling up like a dying spider but couldn’t stop herself. No one needed to see her scarred and torn skin, as stretched as strands of burnt toffee. She still danced, but covered head to toe, long sleeves and maxi skirts. No flesh on show and it really annoyed her considering before her tumble in her silly car, she was all for freedom of exposure, letting one’s skin breathe. But the thought of being stared at, pointed to, laughed at, by those who were perfect frightened her, which caused her even more irritation. How she missed her old body. The one that was only scarred by stupid accidents with curling tongs and a tussle with a coral reef in the Seychelles. That body never shamed her, made her feel afraid of judgement from pointless females.
She missed the Taemar she used to be, before she bounced around in a car. Before she had to give a statement to the police who arrested those idiots who caused the crash; the Taemar before the one who had to reassure the truck driver that the accident wasn’t his fault at all and not only give him tissues to dry his eyes but a nip of whisky as well. From her hip flask. Which she really needed to find. She hoped the trucker hadn’t stolen it, that hip flask was her pride and joy.
Being sociable also hadn’t been her thing. If it involved cars or generally being around people, she didn’t fancy it. Moreover, she really couldn’t take the pain of hoping she’d run into Jack and then being so bitterly disappointed, she’d go home and listen to Boyz II Men. Those dudes felt her pain. No one else knew like Boyz II Men knew.
“You won’t be in a bikini straight away,” Norah argued after a thought. “We get changed there. And you can wear my Heidi Klein. Everyone that’s going knows you and loves you and won’t care.”
Famous last words. “Alright. But if I want to leave, you get me the fuck out of there.”
Norah then proceeded to strip her sister’s lower half and hot waxed the hell, heaven and purgatory out of her bikini line. In tears, Taemar sat up. Norah snapped off her gloves. “You’ll thank me later. Do you want false eyelashes on?”
“No. I like having vision. I did like being able to walk, but now you’ve done your best to mess that up...”
Norah wrinkled her nose. “All this complaining and no thanking.”
Over the plain black bikini, Taemar pulled on a sheer, bright green shirt and jeggings. The heels were higher than normal, but those Mulberrys were the only thing giving her confidence to leave the house at this time of the night on her sister’s say so. Norah shoved her cover up inside a large beach bag with towels and bottles of champagne and edged Taemar into a waiting taxi. “Couldn’t you drive?” Taemar hissed.
“Nope. I want to party. And so shall you sayeth the Lord.”
Closing her eyes, Taemar tried to ignore the motion of the car, and didn’t open them until they arrived in posho land. “Why are we here?”
“What’s wrong with Parsons Green?”
“Not my type of people.”
“Because shaking your belly isn’t what they’d consider work? Fuck ‘em,” Norah dismissed.
“Wait, I don’t know anyone who lives here.”
Her sister ignored her, marching her into a period building that had been savagely cut into for money making flats. “All the way up.”
Four flights of stairs and they were rooftop, the moon painting a tiki inspired party an eerie silver. Above the fake hut that was marauding as a bar hung the sign Happy Birthday Soren.
Taemar turned to her sister. “You bitch.”
“Tae’s here everyone!”
Her Hitchcock blond surgeon swept towards her, wearing only swimming trunks. “I told her to tell you,” he murmured in her ear, giving her a squeezing hug. Maybe it was the amount of time she hadn’t had a piece of man sausage near her, but that hug sent all the right tingles to her thighs. He felt warm and smelled deliciously of a peppery cologne.
“Have you two...?” She trailed off or was rather cut off by Soren’s withering glance.
“I don’t pick up patients.”
“Norah’s not a patient.” Taemar argued.
“She is for someone somewhere and that’s enough reason for me to stay well away.”
Okay then. “Happy birthday,” she said weakly.
“How are you feeling?” He asked, lifting a lock of her hair to examine the scar on her temple. Lots of argan oil later, it was finally beginning to fade.
“You stitched me up good,” Taemar offered, pulling his hand away and making sure he was well out of reach of stripping her to examine her other scars. “I only brought booze with me, since I didn’t bother to ask whose birthday it was.”
“Always appreciated. The hot tubs are ready, we’re waiting for everyone else then we can watch a film and play some music. Nothing too heavy.”
It sounded great, but if Soren was here, it meant Jack was nearby. Or at least on the way. Soren curled a hand around her arm and tugged her gently to the tiki bar. In a few minutes she was handed a coconut filled with some lethal concoction and introduced to the swimwear clad friends. No Jack. What an anticlimax! Stupid, selfish man. Getting all her hopes up and then... Oh. He’s here.
Jack’s strange eyed gaze found her, even as she hid beside Soren. He handed his friend a badly wrapped gift, with a distracted, “Happy birthday.”
“What did you get him?” she asked, a grin fighting its way onto her face. She’d never been so pleased to see anyone.  
“A shirt,” Jack picked up her teasing tone immediately. “I’m hoping he’ll put it on any time today.”
“I don’t know why I even invited you,” Soren’s nostrils flared in disapproval. “You don’t look good in a bikini.”
“Not what you said last time. Tae, come with me to get a drink.”
“I’ve got one,” she lifted her coconut in his general direction. Jack plucked it from her hand to press into Soren’s chest.
“Come with me to get another.”
Before she could find another excuse not to, he hooked an arm around her shoulders and led her away, past the tiki bar to the other side of the roof. The general noise of the party drifted in the other direction. “He’s lucky it’s not raining,” Jack offered. “Be a fire hazard otherwise.”
She had to just say it, get it over with so she’d know and could if not belatedly save herself from the hurt, but at least scupper the worst of the damage. “No Beatrice with you?”
“Not likely.”
Taemar looked down at her heels, blue suede with a fearsome arch. “Why not?”
“I broke up with her.”
Her stomach imploded with joy. “Really? When?”
“If you hadn’t been so eager to rush off to the ward and not talk to me, I’d have told you. We broke up after your accident.”
Her mouth parted. As if anyone would do that for her. Why? “What?”
“I didn’t want to be that guy. So I broke up with her. May not have been the most sensitive thing to do, but... You’re you. Not seeing you or talking to you all these months has pretty much defeated me. And still here you are, upright.” She laughed. “Looking like I imagined you all over again. How are you?”
On fire, she wanted to say. “Better. Like you said, I’m upright. On my own two feet. Surviving.”
Jack rested his arms on the roof wall, looking down onto the green. “That doesn’t sound like you.”
“Okay so you remember me from school and from two days when I was on a morphine drip. How do you know?”
“Guaranteed, what everyone from school remembers about you, is your positivity. Never met anyone like you. You don’t survive. You live. What’s holding you back?”
“It’s a bit of PTSD. Bit of self doubt. A lot of self doubt.”
He leaned up from the wall, his hand brushing warmly over her chiffon covered side. The burn of his palm seared her through the material right to her bones. “Come here a minute,” he said gently, taking one of her hands and slipping it under his shirt. “Just feel the back there.”
Under her fingertips, she felt rough, skewered skin. “What the hell?”
“Third degree burn. Had graphs and all sorts. Chemical fire went straight through my uniform and melted the material to my body.” He released her hand, but Taemar continued to stroke the area in languid motions. “Can’t really deal with hot tubs. Or displaying my horribly scarred body to the world. I am completely on your side with that. Enforced nudity is wrong and abusive. So if you’re worried about getting into a bikini, don’t be. Stay with me.”
As awful as the patch of skin must look, having hands on Jack was doing nothing to put her off him. It definitely distracted her from her own disfigurement. He looked down at her, lashes veiling his irises. “You enjoying yourself there?”
“It’s like holding a stress ball. I can’t stop myself.” Truthfully, she wanted to skim her palm lower, under the waistband of his jeans, have a proper feel. “While I’m molesting you, tell me what you’ve been doing with yourself. I haven’t seen you in so long.”
“Been on strike.” He answered, lifting a hand to trace her eyebrow with a finger. Strange how he skimmed past her temple scar and she didn’t even flinch. “Campaigning a bit. Went to see my sister who’s had her baby in Australia. Tried to not pine over you every day, but I did. Don’t laugh, woman, it was truly pathetic.”
She hid her grin behind a free hand. “You could have called me.”
He nodded, glancing away. “I could have. If you’d given me your number. And as half naked as Soren is today, he has a thing about giving his friends patient information. I begged him. I promise you, I did. I tried all sorts of bribery and corruption and wild women for him to give up the information. Nada.”

With her hand still underneath his shirt, she pressed herself against him and closed her eyes. “Don’t go away again,” she told him, her voice muffled against his shirt. Lifting her head, she slowly became aware that Jack’s hands weren’t still. One cradled her elbow and the other palmed the small of her back. Underneath her shirt. Ooh, sly! She hadn’t even felt him do that. His thumb stroked over the base of her spine in languid circles and not for a second did his eyes leave hers.
Desperately trying to control the overwhelming need to rub herself against him, to bring relief to her burning body, Taemar thought about stepping away, going back to the party. Millimetre by millimetre, Jack closed the gap between them. The sound of her heart drowned out everything else. Her shallow breathing, the trickling of water in the pipes and even the low bass from the speakers. Jack’s hands tightened on her waist before he touched lush lips to hers. A jolt shot through her, heat splitting her chest to groin in a huge wave of desire. Expectation had never met with reality before. All her previous experiences with being patient and waiting had always fizzled, like a wet firework. But this? Maybe this is what Erica Jong had been banging on about all these years...

Monday, 11 July 2016

Power To The People

What's any of it got to do with you?

London, the scene of so many demonstrations and protests from the dawn of time, has begun a series for Black Lives Matter. London protesters have been called all sorts. Stupid. Time wasters. Ridiculous. Oh and asked about knife crime in the city and why weren't they protesting that. They missed those protests and those charitable events because they didn't care about knife crime then or now. They take place regularly because we live in a country where the right to protest is protected and exercised. 

It hasn't occurred to those people to be on the right side of justice - ie silence is acceptance even approval of human rights violations. It hasn't occurred to them that black Londoners look at pictures of the late Alton Sterling or Eric Garner and see their own fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, sons. It hasn't occurred to them that the same injustices happen in the UK but "they don't see colour" so how would they know?

It's such a luxury. To not see colour. To not have people clutch their bags tighter when you walk past, even though their bags were in the discount bin in Primark. To not have people say to your face "you sound white". To not be stopped in a car that's "too expensive for you". It's a luxury to know if your family member is arrested, they'll be alive in the morning. The U.K. has done its share of racist policing. Ask Stephen Lawrence's family. Read the MacPherson report. Ask any person of colour who lived in London during the 60s and 70s. Ask any black man now. Ask any black boy now. People who put a uniform on for Britain who were told they were as wanted as dogs. Those things do not disappear. It hasn't disappeared. They do not divide when you talk about them, they are a release. Why should we have to protect the ignorance of others for fear of "causing division". We are already divided. There is a disparity between how you are treated as a person of colour and how you are treated if you are white. And in an age where people talk incessantly about what they have for dinner, shouldn't we talk about what is going on in the world? Shouldn't we cry out when we see injustice? Shouldn't we tell our leaders to intervene like we do with other countries with a quickness that should have our heads spinning? Look how quickly Facebook wants us to mourn with Western Countries that suffer terrorist attacks? Change your profile! Show your support! When police officers kill with impunity that is a simple breach of human rights of the citizen killed. What is keeping us silent?

London sees. We know. We understand. And stand aside from those who would prefer us to be quiet. Those same people will bellow for a gorilla. Become a lion and proudly tweet #jesuitCecile but the death of a black man; the mysterious death of a black woman; the unconscionable murder of a black child? We should mind our own business. "Martin Luther King Jr said..."

Nah. Nope. No. Not today Satan. Martin Luther King was assassinated. He was arrested more times than I have years. He marched. He blocked. He was civilly disobedient. Don't try to shame us with Martin Luther King Jr. Don't with Ghandi either. Or Rosa Parks. Or Nelson Mandela (he violently protested - read about him, don't trot him out like an old horse. He wasn't just a sweet old man with a sweet voice. HE FOUGHT!) So again, no. 

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter because those lives matter just as much as any other life and that needs to be reflected in the way black lives are treated. Those are our cousins our brothers our sisters. Family. Those magical black friends you have. Have you spoken to them about why they should be quiet? Didn't think so. Would you dare? So why do it from your phone or laptop or keyboard? 

When South Africa faced reparations for the apartheid, there were people like David Cameron, who called for Nelson Mandela's hanging. We know because the one thing this country does without fail, is record. We know what side of history our Prime Minister was on when one of the worst racial abuses in the world took place. When they write the history books, and they list the tweets and Facebook posts of people who all wanted protesters to shut up and let things be, they will be judged. Being a decent human being takes very little effort. Pointing out a wrong is everyone's business. Standing up for the rights of citizens in a first world country is your duty. If your grandfather or great grandfather put on a uniform, it's because they saw wrong and wanted to do what they could to make it right. 

Speaking out against state assisted murder is the right thing to do. Don't silence us because we are an ocean away. Let our voices join until the governments are shaken into action. Let not one more person lose their life from your silence. 

Speak. Stand. March. Protest. It is your right. 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Talk To Me

We're having some sterling conversations on Twitter, which it regularly tops my social media list.#ownyourown is a fantastic hashtag for marginalised writers to tweet why they write. It was started by @gildedspine

In the midst of the tag, I saw @aromancechica 's tweet:

When I first decided to pursue publication, I didn't think I'd ONLY write Latina heroines. Then I thought: Why not?

And it rings so true. A while ago, I thought maybe I'd tell a different woman, rather than a British born or British raised West African all the time. But nah. I like those birds. They are me. They are my aunties, my mum, my grandmothers, my godmothers, my friends, my cousins, my friends. They deserve to see versions of themselves in my stories. Letting their boyfriend tease them about the sexiness of a night headscarf, buy their hair products for them or give them a half head of cornrows (Giuseppe's about that life). They deserve to be the doctors, nurses, chefs, lawyers, businesswomen, that they are - to be educated, exactly as they are, to have family just like the ones I'm surrounded by. They deserve to be centre stage in romances, finding (losing - looking at you Stella) and keeping love.

In view of that, I need the prompt to get back on Mature Carole, my glamorous grandma and her glorious gentleman, which is where @rebekahwsm came in and gave me a jolly good jolt:

i would also like to see more creators embrace older characters too so EVERYONE can see that life doesnt end at 30.

True dat. Sneak peek right down there...

She reached over and grabbed his hand. “Thank you. Jackie would have been devastated if the kids hadn’t been there. Did you see the pictures? They looked adorable. Jackie looked beautiful.” Carole put the tray on the floor and scrambled for her bag. She had several photos on her phone as well as all the professional ones in her email. Her screensaver happened to be Carole with her three children at Jackie’s wedding. “Here, that’s Jackie outside of the Mayfair Library.” Wearing stark bright white, a traditional wedding dress that mimicked the one Carole wore on her own wedding day. She just didn’t want the marital jinx from Carole’s marriage.
“I’d never recognise her.”
“She said it was for one day, and she wanted to be a Disney princess.” Carole had to get her to talk about what had gone wrong with her apple-pie-sweet daughter-in-law, Karisa. Jackie was spending far too much time with Carole and Greg, which didn’t at all bode well for their brand new marriage.
“What was that like?” Aneurin asked, scrolling through the photos. “When she told you she liked girls.”
“She came to me and she was crying her eyes out. I thought she was going to tell me she was on drugs. Then she bursts out mum, I’m a lesbian. So I said, what makes you think I didn’t know that?
“You knew?”
“That’s my child. Of course, I did! But then, again Jackie was very sick when she was a baby. I didn’t care as long as she was healthy. There are worse things in the world for your child to be. Dead being one.” Carole had known from when Jackie was very small. A fact that irritated her ex-husband, as he hadn’t caught on, and was more than insulted by Jackie’s what he called ‘life choices’. Idiot. She exhaled heavily, bending down to pick up her wine glass. “Old news.”
Aneurin looked away down to her phone. “This is a good picture of you.”
She leaned in to see what he had chosen. For some reason, Greg wanted some pictures of her, and grabbed her phone while Carole was mid giggle with some family members across the top table. It probably helped that she was practically falling out of her dress. “So I’ve been told.”
He reached around her to rest his arm on the back of the chaise longue and Carole leapt into the air, throwing half her wine over herself and into her lap. Silly cow! “I’m so sorry.”
Aneurin got to his feet and disappeared into his en-suite, returning with a hand towel. “Sorry, your pretty dress with spoil.”
“It’s fine,” she said, her voice shaky. “It’s my fault, not yours.”
Brisk strokes of the towelling penetrated through the fine silk and the camisole she wore beneath. He dabbed into the vee of her dress, and her breathing turned shallow. There was thorough, and then there was this. Whatever this was. She placed her hand on top of his, halting further movement.
“It’s fine,” she whispered.
His blue eyes bored into hers. “Have I got this wrong?” He asked into the thick silence between them. “There’s something... I haven’t even looked at another woman in years.”
“Me either. Man, I mean,” she stuttered a correction. “I... Yeah...”
Sod it. She leaned forward and kissed him. The muffled sound of surprise that broke from him almost pulled her back. She hadn’t done anything of the sort in such a long time, she almost forgot how to do it. Aneurin reminded her pretty quickly. Without lifting his mouth from hers, he threw the hand towel to the side and sat next to her. His hands encircled her biceps and he pulled her forward, hard, right into him. The sensation of his beard rubbing into her skin took her breath away, she tried to take what little oxygen she had from him. To feel, to feel like this... So good. Her hands trailed into his hair, the nape covered in fine, soft strands that fell over her fingertips like water. His kisses were drugging, delicious, a hint of forbidden which only made her crave more. Rough palms gathered her dress, and skated over her thighs. Where was he...? Oh. Oh my.
He hooked a finger beneath the lace edge of her knickers and tugged them. She lifted her bottom to allow the material to be drawn along her legs and yanked from her heels. Briefly, she opened her eyes to see them thrown over his shoulder, somewhere on the other side of the room.
“Leave it,” he ordered, before she got up to find them. And because he told her to, she obeyed, even when he caught one thigh in a huge palm, urging her to straddle him. The denim of his jeans grazed her inner thigh sent a shiver right to her sex. The unmistakable sound of ripping made her gasp. Aneurin lifted her with a single arm wrapped around her waist, flinging the skirts of her dress up and placing her bare bottom on his lap. Her wanton position made her realise that it wasn’t the dress that had been the problem, it was her lack of flexibility, combined with the sheer width of the man.
Bien?” He asked, his mouth brushing back and forth across hers.
Tres bien,” she whispered. And while those massive hands of his palmed her bottom, he spoke to her in her language. Her beautiful French. People thought she’d forgotten. Ridiculous, she was Ivorian to her depths. The words ran through her blood. The same words Aneurin used to seduce her, to whisper over her silk covered breasts. Her fingers curled over his broad shoulders, rocking into him, searching for more than what he’d already given her. A cry emerged from her throat at the graze of a single finger between her thighs, right over the soft lips of her sex. Another stroke saw her swell against his touch, and part with the barest resistance.
Danger Will Robinson, she thought. Danger had never felt so good. Do anything to me.
Jackie’s shrill voice was as welcome as a television crew. Carole nearly fell off Aneurin’s lap, her whole body throbbing at a single pulse.
“We’re going. Now, Mother!” Jackie heaved.
Carole twenty years ago, would have told her child to shut up, go away and close the door behind her. Carole post-divorce and a hysterectomy for which she was taking medication, knew it was an interruption of sense. What on earth was she doing? She barely stopped herself from doing something not only stupid but enormously out of character.
Scattered, Carole went to find her knickers and collided into Aneurin. “Leave it,” he suggested, knowing exactly what she was on the hunt for.
“Okay,” she said breathlessly. “Okay, bye. Enjoy the cake. I mean... Sorry. Bye.”
She rushed out of the room, past her daughter and down the stairs. Shame heated her face while she stood outside. Oh god, she’d left her bag and phone. Jackie finally emerged from the house with both.
“Here. Do you know what he said to me? The fucking cheek!”
“He called me little girl and said that’s the first and last time I get in between the two of you.”
Carole started, clutching her bag to her chest. What did he mean by that? “Then he said he’s not my dad to be frightened of me. I mean... How fucking rude.”
Carole, twenty years from the sexual fire that used to burn in her, unfulfilled by her husband with his high blood pressure, took a step back towards the house, to that man, to that bedroom, to beg for the weight and feel of every part of that man inside her, only to be blocked by her daughter.
“What?” Carole raged, infuriated.
“Don’t you remember what he did to your son? To your family?”
“For goodness sake, he was supporting his daughter. Just like I supported Greg. Like I support you!”
Jackie looked utterly appalled. “You were about to shag a man who nearly ruined Greg’s life.”
“So?” Carole asked, and Jackie’s mouth opened and closed like a guppy fish. “So what? What’s happened? Nothing.”
Jackie stared at her as if she’d never met her. “Why do you want to get in that hornet’s nest? It’s disgust...”
Carole held up a hand, and Jackie was quiet. “Who the hell do you think you are? I’m your mother. You don’t get to tell me what to do. I’m perfectly able to make my own decisions about my body and what the hell I do with it. Under no circumstances do you ever speak to me like that. Do you understand?”
“I said, do you understand?”
“Yes, Mum.”
Carole breathed out and started walking to her car.
“Mum, I’m sorry, I was just worried... Let me drive you.”
“Go home Jackie.”
“But I can...”
“Jacqueline, stop fussing!” She snapped, her irritation most likely all focused on being unfulfilled, so close to release she hadn’t known she’d craved until... Until now. “I have been making decisions without your input for thirty-three years. Stop. All right?”
Jackie turned to her own vehicle. “Fine. Do what you want.”

She hadn’t even said goodbye to Greg or the children. But Jackie hovered. Instead she got in her car and drove home, the hour’s journey across London long enough for disappointment to set in. Discomfort mingled with need. Did she have Aneurin’s number? Could she call him? No, the children were coming home with Greg. What was she supposed to do with all her pent up energy? And she stank of stale wine! Goddammit. She yelled in the confines of her car, pausing at a red light. To her left, she saw a car full of people staring at her. She flipped the finger at them all and sped away as soon as the lights changed.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Wild Horses

This year has been a series of trials, and I am just making the calendar by good days I have to look forward to. One of my favourites, and I mean Christmas just pips this to the post, is Royal Ascot. I know, I'm black and a royalist. I don't care. I love it. I never feel as British or as beautiful on my way to those historical grounds, in all my polished finery.

When I was younger, I used to watch ladies on their way home. Hats in hand, or more likely barefooted on the Clapham Junction platform looking a little worse for wear, but content with their choices. Eventually, I discovered where they were all off to, looking so dapper. Outside of weddings, you never saw men in tops and tails or ladies with a veratible peacock of feathers on their heads, colours complimenting their dress, coat and bag. I love dressing up! Who doesn't? I'm desperately looking for excuses to wear hats at the moment. My poor friend has a christening this month and I've already warned her I'm wearing one of my collection.

This is my fifth year at Ascot and I am ready. My dress if from Phase Eight, my hat is from Marks and Spencer and my shoes are a little outside the British Isles - Miu Miu, but as green as my country. "IN ENGLAND'S GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND!" I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, the day starts with the most preening I ever do. False eyelashes, CC cream, foundation, blusher, highlighter, eyeliner, lip liner, lipstick and topping gloss, perfume layered, nails gelled, feet buffed - because I will wear heels and they will make me cry and if I'm going to be near Daily Mail, eagle eyed, frankly evil photographers, I ain't bringing the side down with rough feet.

I pick up my friends, and we start the day early - champagne and a toast to our gambling fortunes. We all squeeze onto the train to the racetrack, and it blooms before us!

It's glorious. All the women keep checking each other out, and forthrightly will tell anyone they admire that they are looking gooooood! It's the time to go all out - there will be cameras. There are cameras everywhere. There are the set that comes every year in unison; the girls that arrange the whole year what they will wear - the Phillip Treacy crowd of extravagant millinery - and the vintage crowd. I happily seat myself in the High Street lot. Although if I won the lottery, guaranteed I'd be in Alexander McQueen head to toe. 

Then it's food time:

Traditionalist as ever, and there's nothing quite like sitting in a spot of sun, with a bottle of Moet and the scent of fat, crispy soft chips in the air. Last year I saw cheese on toast doing roaring trade. No kebabs though. It's not the right place for a kebab. After? Of course! Inside the hallowed grounds of Ascot. Not today, Jeffrey! 

We have a gander around, read through the Racing Post - honestly, it is genuinely like being in the middle of a Jilly Cooper novel - and pick our favourites. The one who will fund our after party drinks and meal if we win. By 1pm, we gather to greet the Queen in the procession. Her Majesty has won me a few bob by wearing the colour I've guessed she'd be wearing. Until last year when she came out of left field with bright pink. 

She's sitting opposite the Ginger Winner - Prince Harry who was beaming ear to ear when she lost me a tenner. -_-

Once all the beautiful horses, their coats brushed into intricate patterns, have allowed us a peak to see if their worth our money, the racing begins. And all propriety goes right out the window. You haven't lived until you've seen a man well into his seventies, screaming, "COME ON YOU FACKING WANKER!" as his horse storms to victory. You haven't seen anything until you see a woman probably related to the queen, kick off her heels and throw her loosing tickets onto the ground and stamp on them, enraged by her loss. Girls using their scarves to sit down on the grass, men struggling with their cravats, bookies yelling the odds, the crowd clapping for the winners.  

It is brilliant. Mix it up with cake and more booze and star spotting near the Royal Enclosure (where all the celebs go and you're not allowed to because you haven't been invited since Prince Harry won't acknowledge you yet...), seeing which Royal gets to give certain prizes. Actually winning on a horse that had odds of 42 - 1? Best day ever.

After the last race, we all congregate around the bandstand and sing the most British songs you could ever imagine. My Old Man, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia... all the while waving Union Jacks and tipping pints over your neighbour because you can't sing and not hug the nearest person next to you.

It's set to rain next week as well, but I am holding out hope - mostly because I'm not sure that my hat will survive a downpour. And yet, I am supremely confident that nothing will defeat the joy that accompanies a June racing day.

It's posh, it's messy, it's fantastic. I can't wait!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

My Bonnie

Wynne's Surprise on Amazon
Wynne's Surprise on ARe

I was about to write something in Arabic, then I remembered how much er naughty time is in this book and thought the better. Instead... Bonsoir! Wynne's Surprise has arrived! You've got Scots, and Morocco and Scotland and LA and London and all round good clean fun! I know that last bit was a lie, but Hot Muse Hank said I should give it a go, and see if... Yes, he's rolling around laughing. Brute.

Anyways, give my lovers are very and rather proudly Scottish. I've done a brief glossary to help:

Boaby - male member (look at me being all demure!)
Box - head
Canny - cannot Modern Scots (18th Century/ Robert Burns gen is 'canna')
Get tae fuck - (I lasted half a page, well done me!) get out of it!
Maw - mother
Nae - not
Nip - a sip, or knowing a Scot, half a glass...
Tatties - potatoes
Weegie - a person hailing from Glasgow - the maddest of the bunch.

And if that's not enough to get you going, have a wee nip of this:

Let This Moose Loose Aboot This Hoose!

She woke up with a jolt, tucked between the velvet softness of her sofa and the dense muscles of Bren’s chest. He stirred above her head.
“Are you okay?”
“I had the weirdest dream.”
“About?” he asked on a yawn.
“I had three tits and you were fondling all of them.”
Bren burst out laughing. “Why on earth would you dream about that?”
“I don’t even know.” She lifted her head and squinted at the clock. Midnight.
“Some nap,” Bren yawned again, untangling his arms from her body to stand up. He looked adorably rumpled. “Shall I get us some tea?”
“Aye, and maybe a snack or something.”
“Yes, madam,” he sarked in a Queen’s English tone, strolling into the kitchen and leaving Wynne to sit up. The sensation of oddness hadn’t abated with the nap, and the strange dream only compounded matters. Who needed three breasts? The overwhelming emotion that came from the dream was how much she’d enjoyed Bren’s manipulations.
She noticed her phone on the table by the lamp. Masochism forced her to her feet and to pick up the mobile. While Bren made tea in the background, Wynne stared at the screen. Okay, maybe she’d crossed a few lines, perhaps a page or a notebook of lines, or rather they both had, but at least they hadn’t crossed it all the way. Six missed calls from Robert, seared her with guilt.
Discomfort forced her to read the text messages he’d sent:
I’m sorry about today. Can you call me?
Wynne, it’s Valentine’s Day. Why won’t you answer?
Have you gone out?
You’re being really disrespectful.
“Tea,” Bren said and Wynne jumped in fright. She whipped around and saw him holding two mugs, an eyebrow curled. “I did tell you I was making it.”
“Of course you did. Sorry. I’m sorry.” She repeated the apology before taking the mug into her hands. Bren glanced down at her phone.
She hesitated. Bren took the tea and nodded her in the direction of her bedroom. “Go and call him.”
Wynne blinked, leaning away from him. “What?”
“Call him and tell him you’re going on a break. You’ll be back in a week, and you can talk then. If you want to.”
Word for word exactly what she wanted to say to Robert. Clearly, Bren was a better friend to her than to Robert. “Okay. I’ll be a few minutes.”
She scampered to her bedroom and gently closed the door behind her, resting against the wood for some semblance of reality to lock her to the ground.

That line she’d crossed with Bren a few hours ago seemed more and more blurred. Technically, not calling your girlfriend on Valentine’s Day until after she agreed to a holiday with her male friend she had intense sexual feelings for, could be considered as a breakup. Right?

So are we ready, steady, Eddie? Let's get surprising!