The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

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.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Blame It On The Moon

A strange moon came on Sunday night and whispered this strange story to me. I've posted this on Weyward Thoughts, but it's too strange to not be on this blog too!

By The Light of the Moon © Billy London

Orly hurriedly threw overnight things into a bag. Pawel tapped his fingers on the doorframe. “Are you really doing this again?”
“I… I can’t talk to you right now.” The words emerged from her mouth weaker than she had expected. “I’ll just stay at the old folks’ home.”
Pawel held up his hands and left her to it. That he didn’t try to stop her spoke volumes about their relationship. She slung the bag over her shoulder, scooped up her mobile phone and closed the door behind her. Nothing was worth the grief on the other side. Talking had reached its final impasse.
Orly tucked her phone into her pocket, and wrapped her arms around herself. September’s afternoon weather had cooled into a sharp, winter reminder, as she took the familiar path from her flat with Pawel to her second home. That end of terraced building spoke of everything she didn’t have with Pawel. Her grandparents’ love had been the stuff of legend. It had survived a World War, five children, eleven grandchildren and even death. She supposed the house had been left to her as the eldest of the grandchildren. Or rather, she needed the stability more than any of the others…
She wondered why it was so bright on the street until she glanced up and saw the moon, so close, so round and so bright, she could count the craters on the surface, each pit and fall, dark against the blistering white of its surface. Strange things always happened during full moons, Orly felt fully in awe of its magnetic light. It kept drawing her gaze upwards and her mind far from the fight with her boyfriend. Before she realised, she stood outside her grandparents’ home. Her phone buzzed in her pocket, and without looking to see who it was, she answered, “Hello?”
“Pawel called me,” her sister said impatiently. “To find out if you got to Gran’s okay.”
“Yeah, I did. Fine.” She opened the door and closed it carefully behind her, remembering other people lived on one side of the terraced house, and the walls were not particularly forgiving. “He didn’t need to worry.”
“What are you doing to each other?” Anyeta asked. “What are you doing more like?”
Orly put her bag down on the stairs and sat at the kitchen table, turning on the underlights of the cupboards. She drew a finger in the dust that had gathered in the two weeks she hadn’t attended to clean. “Why me? You don’t know what we argued about.”
“Same old, same old, Orly. The conversation won’t change the more times you have it. He’s said what he’s said. It’s up to you to accept it. And if you want to be together, be together. Just stop leaving every other day. It’s not fair on either of you.” Orly felt a lump forming in her throat, and she couldn’t bring herself to answer. “Listen, I’ll call him back and tell him you’re all right. But you have to sort your head out tonight. Either you go forward together or you split.”
“I’ll sort myself out,” Orly promised, her voice thick with hurt. “Thank you. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Okay, Netty. Night. I love you.”
“Love you too.”
She put the phone on the table and pressed her hands to her eyes until the need to start bawling stopped. Under the roof of the home where she had known such love and such comfort, she recognised her failings against her grandmother’s as a partner and as a mother. She missed them both, it weighed on her chest. They’d been perfect people, drifting through their life on love and happiness that everyone fell under the spell of it. What did Orly have? A shell of a home and a boyfriend who couldn’t see a future with her. She drew out her phone and decided to distract herself from the misery. Slowly, the light in the kitchen turned from the muted LEDs, to a hazy rose. Orly turned off the underlights and turned them back on. The red haze filtered through the kitchen, into the hallway and outside. She glanced out of the garden, the same pink tinged the overgrown lawn and the wooden garden furniture her grandfather had been so proud of.
A door slamming close jerked her from the window, knocking over the chair nearest to her. Orly pressed a hand to her rapidly beating heart. A woman stalked into the kitchen and sat down, her veil streaming behind her.
Orly had only ever seen that woman in photographs. Before age softened her angular face. “Gran?” she whispered. A moment later, the door opened and closed again.
“Uma, don’t walk away from me!”
What’s happening right now? Orly gripped the dusty kitchen counter for help. For some semblance of reality. She’d never seen that wedding dress in her grandparents photos. Which could only mean…
“I cannot believe you ruined my wedding!” she blustered.
Orly had always been told she looked like the female version of her grandfather, and she’d pooh-poohed it. But with Nadav Sarkis standing right in front of her, she could see it as clear as day. In the arch of his brows, the height of his cheekbones and the shape of his mouth.
“I don’t believe for one minute you thought you were going to tie yourself to that fucking puddle of a man!”
Orly gasped. She’d never heard her grandfather swear. Ever. He braced his hands on the table, his face so close to her grandmother’s, Orly couldn’t see her any more. “As if you’d replace me with him. After everything, everything we’ve been through.”
“I could have, but since you decided to show up and declare a lawful, bloody impediment, I can’t now, can I!” Uma raged, thrusting him away. “I can’t have a baby without being married, you know that!”
And that was her cue to leave. Orly reached for the kitchen door and found it locked. Come on! They had no locks in the house anywhere! God, I promise, I never noticed how close Uncle Reyan’s birthday is to Gran and Granddad’s wedding, I never. Let me out!
Nadav flipped the table over, to Uma and Orly’s shriek of surprise. “Are you mad, woman?” He bellowed. “You were going to pass off my child as that fool’s?”
“He said it didn’t matter! He understood!”
Nadav snorted in disgust. “Does he bollocks! He wouldn’t know what to do with you in a bedroom. The pillock doesn’t even know you don’t need a bedroom at all”.
Oh, God get me out of here. I do not want to know this about them. Absolute debauchery. Orly tried the door again, and met with brute resistance. This was a far cry from the grandparents who left flowers in books for the other and wrote each other love letters. Her grandfather flipped a table! Like a madman!
“I can rely on him,” Uma blazed, her veil streaming behind her as she stood toe to toe with Nadav. “You don’t want kids! Why you were shagging me, without those fancy things, God only knows.”
Okay, now she knew why Uncle Reyan was born so soon after her grandparents’ wedding. He had never been “early”. No wonder they didn’t wag the proverbial finger when she moved in with Pawel to ‘live in sin’.
Nadav caught Uma by the face, bracing her cheeks between his palms. “Because I love you! You daft bat, I want everything with you.”
Uma pulled his hands from her, bending to right the table. “You’ve shamed the devil out of both of us. How will we walk around here after the show you made?”
With a gentle nudge for her to move out of the way, Nadav righted the table. “I don’t give a flying monkeys what people think. I’ve been shot at by Nazis. People giving me dirty looks is a walk in the park after that shite.”
“But you left,” Uma said, her voice shaky with tears. “You left me. Again.”
“I had to,” Nadav sounded almost defeated. “I’ve still got commitments to the Air Force. God save me, Uma. My head is… What I saw…” He struggled to continue and burst out, “I look at you and you’re so perfect. And all I see is blood and death and bodies.”
“For God’s sake, man.” Uma said with a sigh. “I’m not perfect. Something that’s very clear now, isn’t it? You don’t think I saw bodies? Or death? I thought about you. And us together in this house, being happy. That’s everything I held on to. Because we’ve suffered too much to not deserve it.” She glared at him, folding her arms under her breasts. “You didn’t want it so I went for a second option.”
Nadav’s eyes narrowed. “You’re not marrying him.”
“Not after you said you’d had me on my hands and knees out the back of Miner’s club, of course he won’t marry me now!”
Orly pressed her fingertips to her temple. Whatever she had done to deserve this, she had to have paid for it now.
“I wasn’t lying,” Nadav said glibly. “Reverend Moss won’t let you back in that church, I’ll bet.”
Uma threw him a look that would have competed with any Sergeant Major. “It was a bastard thing to do.”
“What I did, or what we did?”
Uma picked up a mug and threw it at him. Nadav ducked and it smashed right by Orly’s shoulder. “You! You three piece cock! My mother warned me, back and forth, be careful about who you give your virtue to. And all this shows is I make terrible decisions.”
“Flaming Nora!” Nadav heaved. “That nearly hit us!”
Orly frowned. Her grandfather was brought up in the East End of London. Us was a Northern indicator. What on earth did he mean?
“Listen to me, and don’t throw anything else.” He took a hesitant step towards her, and Uma looked as if she were about to pounce on him and slit his throat. “You’ll never want for anything Uma, I swear to you. You and this baby. You’ll have everything you want. I’ll work my arse off, I promise you.”
“Now you’ve made anything else impossible, I suppose I should be grateful,” Uma answered, brushing down the dress and relaxing her fighting stance.
“No, not grateful,” Nadav took another step forward until he could reach Uma. Gently, he tugged her forward until they pressed into one another, fitting like puzzle pieces. “We’ll go up to Gretna, get married and just get on with our lives. There’s no need for secrets or lies any more. We can be together… ” The moment Nadav’s head lowered to kiss Uma, Orly looked away. She really had heard and seen enough. The message had been received loud and clear. I will never watch porn again. I will pray for forgiveness more often. I will love and appreciate my boyfriend. Whatever we have, however long we have it for, that will be enough for me. I promise.
“Take the dress off,” Nadav growled into Uma’s neck. “And you’ll have to get rid of it. I don’t want anything of another man on you.”
Uma’s mouth curved in triumph. “Help me then. It took both bridesmaids to put it on.”
Without waiting for another prompt, Nadav circled his wife, and began unbuttoning the bodice of her wedding dress. 
Jesus, Granddad! Orly thought as his hands slipped inside the dress to cup Uma’s chest. “You feel bigger Uma. I’d know every change in you.”
“Hurry. Wait, wait.” Uma looked directly at her, pointing to the mobile still sat on the laminated flooring. “Orly, answer your phone and talk to your boyfriend. Your grandfather and I are going to give each other a good seeing to, but I can’t concentrate when your phone’s ringing.”
No need to add a telling off to the weirdness happening in the room. “Yes, Gran.”
“Good girl.” She turned back to Nadav, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Take me upstairs.”
Orly scooped up her flashing phone and when she straightened, her grandparents had gone. The red haze from the moonlight remained and so did the sense of judgement from Uma. Talk to your boyfriend. Her phone buzzed incessantly in her palm. “Sorry, hello?”
“Hi, Pav.” She’d never been so relieved to hear his voice.
“Can you open the door?”
Eh? “What? Where are you?”
Orly ended the call and threw open the front door. Pawel stood under the glare of the moon, his eyes red from tears. “I’m sorry, Orly.”
“What on earth for?” She asked, pulling him inside.
“Everything…” Distracted, he looked over his shoulder, along the corridor. “Is something going on in the kitchen?”
Oh god, I truly hope not! “Never mind that. What are you sorry for?”
He took a breath and caught her biceps in his hands. “I know it’s my fault that we can’t…” The words faltered and he looked at the ground for a moment, only to find her gaze once more. “But we’ll try. I want to try. I want a family with you. I want everything you say your grandparents had. We can move in here. Sell the flat, do up this place and pay for IVF.”
“Just like that?” Orly whispered. After months and months of tears and rows, he’d laid everything she wanted at her feet. On the strangest night of her life.
“For us to stay together? Of course!” He brushed his mouth over her cheeks, and dotted a brief kiss on her lips. “I’d move mountains for you.”
Orly embraced him until she could feel his ribs against her own. She’d learned her lesson. A bit too well. “Oh Pav. As long as we’re together.”
Halfway up the stairs, her grandfather threw the failed wedding dress out of his way. Orly mouthed at him, “Stop it, Granddad!”
“Tell that young man we’re watching him,” Nadav said over Uma’s bare shoulder. “You deserve everything more than we had.”
Orly nodded. “Yes.”
“Yes to all of that?” Pawel asked softly. Orly couldn’t bring herself to speak. The thought of her grandparents doing quite unspeakable things to one another really had stolen her voice.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Happy birthday to me!

Today's my birthday! Woo hoo! I'm old!! Actually, I'm going to share this day with Beppe ^^^^ (ta very much Stuart Bellamy <3). Why not? JK Rowling shares her birthday with Harry Potter. I'm selfish that way. It means I get to keep him all to myself. Mostly. So, to celebrate us both, I'm giving you all a sneak peek of Beppe in one of his little moments that makes Mimi fall for him. It is without doubt one of the kindest things a man could do for his woman.

Mimi dragged her pillow over her head, cutting off Beppe mid-conversation and rather unfairly, mid-seduction. “They’re such selfish bastards!”
“Who?” What just happened? Why wasn’t any loving happening right now?
She lifted the pillow, face puffed with anger. “The fuckers across the road who are having yet another party! It’s Wednesday night! I’m working tomorrow for your bloody best friend!”
“Ah.” That made him feel somewhat better. His prowess remained intact. “Okay, let me deal with this.”
“And what are you going to do?” she asked, curling her top lip in sarcasm. “Execute them all?”
“Wendy Darling,” he caught her hand and pressed it to his chest. “I’m offended that you’d think I’d stoop to the lowest common denominator. I’ll be back.”
He threw back the sheets and pulled on his jeans and chucked a t-shirt over his head. No need for too many clothes. Mimi watched him, and he could feel the concern burning holes into the back of his skull.
“Seriously, don’t kill anyone.”
“I heard you the first time.” He flashed her a grin and loped down the stairs to where his bag remained, abandoned in the corridor of Mimi’s home. Just when he thought they were getting somewhere, yet again someone else interfered.
Beppe scrambled around in the canvas, on the hunt for ah, just where he left it. He lifted a gas mask from the bag and fitted it over his face, then snapped on latex gloves. Whistling, he stalked out of the house, and removed exactly what he needed to get Amelia to focus for longer than five minutes on one thing. As a woman, she could multi-task to glory, but as a girlfriend, she was failing on basic concentration.
With two cans of tear gas in each hand, and one in each pocket, Beppe walked across the road to the neighbour’s rowdy party. A loping, intoxicated man slurred at him, “Oi, where the fuck are you going?”
Beppe just nudged him gently and he toppled like a toy car. He broke off one of the cans of tear gas and threw it into the living room, repeating the same in the kitchen and watched streams of people trying to leave the house. He lobbed a can up the stairs and then stopped to locate the electricity box.
Singing Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know to himself as people screamed and yelled, he reached into the back pocket of his jeans, withdrawing a miniature toolbox. With a pair of pliers, he nipped through the electricity mains. The music and lights died instantaneously. Easy. Why people refused to be considerate of their neighbours, he had no idea. They would be the same people who would look out for their property if they disappeared on holiday; alert them if something strange happened in their living room, and more than likely allow them to share the Wi-Fi password. Neighbourly-ness went far. And Beppe knew all his neighbours, so well that each and every single one of them would vouch for him, if worst came to the worst. Maybe he should introduce them to Mimi... 
He gave it another five minutes for the gas to take effect and then left the house, closing the door behind him. Beppe retreated to Mimi’s back garden, loping himself over the fence. Behind her azalea bush, her actual plant and not the body part she was trying to keep him from; he removed his gas mask and clothing. He doused his naked self with water from the garden hose, and re-entered the house. A good, chivalrous night’s work.
Mimi stood on the stairs, staring at him. He blinked at her, dripping water on her bare floorboards. The minute she got the place carpeted, would be the minute she would stop looking for problems between them, he had a really good feeling about that. An uncarpeted house just caused problems for any relationship. Budding or otherwise.
“Did you just tear gas my neighbours?” she asked, a hand on her throat.
Beppe shook water from his ear. “Yeah, I did. But to be fair, they’re quiet now. And perhaps, you and I can have a bit of a chat. Because, and I’ll be honest with you Amelia, it’d be nice if we could talk without you finding everything else in the world more interesting than us…”
She cut him off, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing her lips to his. The warmth of Amelia drizzled through him, seizing the cold shivers from his hose pipe shower. She lifted her mouth and whispered, “That’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”
Wary, Beppe eased back to look at her face. Nothing but sincerity and gratitude blazed from her. “Really?”
“I’d take this over a bunch of flowers any day.” She traced a hand over his collarbone. “Do you want a hot shower? You feel cold.”
He lifted a brow. “Are you coming with?”
Her lips curved into a devious smile. “I’ve got surprises for you that are waterproof.”

At that moment, Beppe realised that he would owe Rocky and Anna for life. They’d found the perfect woman for him. Those bollocking bastards…

Monday, 21 September 2015


I love this soundtrack. Because I struggled to listen to anything new, I went to my roots and sought out my oldies and my goodies - Portishead, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Skunk Anansie, Trevor Morris (sexiest classical soundtrack ever. No arguments), The Cranberries - I mean that song takes me back to teenage Billy, and her Sony Walkman and Now 20 something? God only knows what we're up to now. Has it hit 100 yet? Anyway. no one does dark like Vaults, and Premonitions - the song that kicked this whole story off. It took a while to put the songs in the right order (there is a method to the madness) because I got distracted. Easily done.

Anyway, finally! Here's the soundtrack to Remains. The ashes will rise...

Remains on Spotify

1.     From The Beginning Premonitions Vaults
2.     Goodbye To Grace Moments of Pleasure Kate Bush 
3.     A Fresh Pub Linger The Cranberries 
4.     Talking It Out Diamonds Josef Salvat
5.     Morning Foolishness Mend this Love Vaults
6.     Strangulation Is Key Nothing But Trouble Lil Wayne 
7.     Date Night Another Language Lamb
8.     Marriage and Its Ilk Give Me Something Jarryd James 
9.     A Lost Cause Perfect Ruin Kwabs 
10. Propositions Face The Sun Miguel 
11. I Know You Powerful Major Lazer ft Ellie Goulding & Tarrus Riley
12. Needs Must Numb Portishead
13. Nan Knows Best I Gave It All Aquilo 
14. Aaron Meet Zlatan Spark Tori Amos 
15. Wolf calling Under the Shadows Rae Morris 
16. Alone With My Thoughts Eye of the Needle Sia 
17. What You Did To Me Infidelity Skunk Anansie 
18. Kelly’s Crusade Love the way you lie Eminem 
19. Partial Reunion Chamakay Blood Orange 
20. The Past Haunts Breath of Life Florence + the Machine
21. I See Solomon Guts Over Fear Eminem
22. Telling The Truth Holocene Bon Iver 
23. Wrong Side Of The Table Devil's Whisper Raury 
24. Morgue Break A Perfect Day Elise P J Harvey
25. Pull Yourself Together Stop Crying Your Heart Out Oasis 
26. A New Moon Something Like Happiness The Maccabees 
27. Realignment Rituals The Kiss Trevor Jones
28. Moroi Brennisteinn Sigur Ros 
29. End It 503 Hans Zimmer 

30. By The Gravestones I Lived Here Martin Phipps