The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Apply Some Pressure



So there I was, sitting alone, half heartedly picking at a packet of mango pieces, feeling completely tapped out. Like my literary goodness had gone into those fourteen days of madness, and tidying up @Last for my forgiving readers (new and not so new) and I was a husk, the bad guy from The Last Crusade, that dust was my future. And then, I read through one of my WIPs. I perked up, quite egotistically enjoying the banter between the hero and heroine and their merry band of friends. I did indeed say out loud, "I wonder how it's going to end?"
Hot Muse Hank is inconsolable by my ridiculousness. In between "You're insane!" and "You should have finished this in your sleep!" and "He's a fireman, you utter doughnut! You love those like you love apple crumble!" I did come to realise that I do know how it ends and I wonder why I'm avoiding it like the plague. It's all round lovely. When things get difficult, I'm always tempted to throw a bit of paranormal at it. And yet, my day job reminds me that truth is so, so much stranger than anything I could conjure in my depraved little mind. My sudden reticence needs sorting out. I do believe my time in Morocco (two weeks to gooooooooo!) will indelibly release the bonds that chain me to mediocrity and just to get the hell on with it.
So Jack and Taemar? Let's get physical.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Loving Words...




The Season of Love has come to an end, but you can enjoy the stories all in one neat little package. Just head to Weyward Thoughts here: Season of Love Vol. 2 and download your free copy.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

At Last




Happy Valentine's Day!

To celebrate, I've re-released one of my favourite stories featuring Ryan the Deflowerer as he's been named (thanks Nikki Winter...) and Courtney the Deflowered.

And if you haven't read this one before, let me tempt you:

@Last on Amazon
@Last on ARe

From: Billy London
To: My Lovely Readers
Subject: Blurb
Date: 14 February 2015 

Courtney is the good girl waiting for childhood crush Christopher to realise she’s the one for him. Unfortunately for Courtney, her sweetheart is a tosser. Anyone with eyesight could tell her, if only she’d listen. Christopher jaunts off to South Africa to apparently teach English to underprivileged children, but who knows what he's up to? While he’s there, Courtney catches the eye of one Ryan Klark, another teacher who attempts to educate her on the folly of her love. Instead, Courtney is the one who teaches Ryan more than a few things, and the friendship they strike up through cheeky emails, phone calls and letters from Paris is deeper and stronger than anything Courtney has experienced before. Before she knows it, their lighthearted correspondence turns into something romantic, then rather dirty, then more necessary than air. When Ryan comes back to London, Courtney is ready to enjoy all the perks of being with a person who likes you back! Only they both forgot who Ryan was in South Africa with. It doesn't matter, because Ryan's perfect. Right?

From: Billy London
To: My Lovely Readers
Subject: Excerpt
Date: 14 February 2015 


From: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
To: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
Date: 23 February 2010
Re: Little Miss Observant

Thank you for the compliment! Brightened an otherwise pointless day. Ta ta for now.

From: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
To: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
Date: 23 February 2010
Re: Er…

Who are you? Did you mean to send that email to me?

From: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
To: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
Date: 24 February 2010
Re: Sherlock Holmes type explanation

Of course that was for you! I’m Ryan. Chris forwarded that email you sent to him with the picture of all the teachers at my school. I quote: “Who is that seriously gorgeous guy standing next to you? Is he single? Is he from England? Please say he is…” Embarrassed yet? Good. Don’t worry about balancing the tables. I’ve already seen a picture of you from Chris’ collection, and you aren’t too bad yourself. Actually, you’re pretty hot. Did you know Chris has got a picture of you in a bikini floating around?

I wouldn’t get too excited. It’s something to keep Melissa on her toes when she thinks that no one else could possibly be interested in him. Don’t grieve for him, Court. It won’t last. He can’t keep his hands off anything female around here. Sorry. Not helping, am I? But let’s be honest, I live with the guy and I know for a fact that he’s selfish, inconsiderate, tactless and vain. Fuck. Just got told to get out for smoking. I need to smoke when I write to you. I’ll tell you why in—

From: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
To: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
Date: 27 February 2010
Re: You and your weirdness

You’ll tell me... What? I’m guessing you got chucked out before you could finish the rest of that sentence? And wait, you need to smoke when you write to me? Forgive me for not finding that flattering. And if Chris is supposed to be your friend, it’s hardly fair that you’re slagging him off behind his back.

From: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
To: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
Date: 03 March 2010
Re: You and your touchiness

I spent time writing that email, so I thought you should have what I’d done if you couldn’t have it all. Reward-like. I don’t slag Chris off behind his back. I make sure I do it to his face. He laughs it off because who wouldn’t love worship and adore him? ‘Cept you. Even his girlfriend doesn’t. You must have had a crush on him for years to be still wearing those pink Specsavers. Yeah, I got that from your emails.

Now to the why I smoke when I write to you. No offence, but you take a lot of effort to entertain. A cigarette is a tension reliever to ensure I give you as much of the giggle as possible. Sometimes I have one after, like that post-coital puff. A reward for doing so damn well. Now for the love of God, what is happening in EastEnders? Who are all these new people? Where the hell have they come from? I don’t have time to read through any rubbish on Twitter, I want an honest Londoner’s opinion.

You’ll be mad with me for a while, but when you’ve had enough of the rage, do us a favour, yeah?
Take advice from an honest observer: he’s absolutely not worth your energy, Miss Phillips.

From: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
To: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
Date: 12 March 2010
Re: You

So what, writing to me is like sex? You are really disturbing. Have you had mental help? Although you sound like my best mates. They have been telling me repeatedly to find someone else. All right for them. They have guys softening the path they tread. I just have my mum’s foot spa. So Chris isn’t worth my energy, but why are you? And I still don’t know who you are, when you seem to know an awful lot about me. Again I am very, very, very scared.

From: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
To: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
Date: 13 March 2010
Re: Whatever you want to know

a)     Name: Ryan Edward Klark
b)     Age: 24, birthday 24th September
c)      Hair: brown, curly, my pulling point and hours of wasted time
d)     Eyes: green
e)     Height: six foot one
f)       Current city: Cape Town, South Africa. Home town: London.
g)     Distinguishing features: two tattoos (you want to know where, you’ll have to ask me later) and one scar beneath my eye after walking into the corner of Gran’s new dining table at two years of age.
h)    Place of Birth: rainy day at four in the morning outside the Ivy in the back of a taxi. Mother patently unimpressed by arrival.
i)       Mother’s name: Lydia
j)       Father’s name: Ryan (Yes, I’m junior.)
k)     First girlfriend: at five years old. She was a little brunette called Katie who married Thomas McKenzie the next week. It broke my little heart.
l)       Worst habit: smoking, and biting the skin around my thumb. Both disgusting. Trying to give up the former, latter I have been doing since table trauma. Sorry.
m)  Favourite Author: Bret Easton Ellis
n)    Favourite Music: Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah. If I add Barry Manilow will you judge me?
o)     Favourite TV Shows: South Park, The Inbetweeners, 24, True Blood.
p)     Favourite Film: God knows. Pick anything and I’ve probably enjoyed it.
q)     Favourite thing to do with a free hour: write to you, get mildly pissed and drive absolutely nowhere with good music, and take pictures. I love photography. It’s what I do when I’m not teaching.
r)      What am I missing? What else do you need to know? Are you going to email me ever? Or shall I expect further blanking for days on end?

Kiss kiss darling, bonsie bons, good day. Uh oh. New manager’s going to chuck me out for having a beer in here. You know what? I’m having a new laptop shipped over, so I’ll stop winding this cafĂ© up.

From: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
To: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
Date: 13 March 2010
Re: The Madness

Did your mum drop you as a baby? She must have done, as you are quite insane. Why are you drinking at four in the afternoon? Just because you look like you should be on stage with a bass guitar in skinny jeans doesn’t mean you should act like some rock diva. And that’s not your birthday. That’s mine. Well, two years later anyways.

You’ll be glad to know that I like nutters, as long as they don’t plan long and painful deaths for me.

Look, I’ll tell you what’s going on in EastEnders as long as you don’t do anything weird during my emails. You know exactly what I mean. And we don’t argue about what I feel for Chris. Deal?

Can't Help Falling In Love...




And here we are! Happy Valentine's Day! It's been a bit of a tall order to link all these fourteen stories, but t'has been done! Everyone knows someone who knows someone else and they are all heading for a crazy, beautiful and exciting ride. I'll be posting a link for the collection, packaged together and available to you for reading any time of the year. Romance isn't just for Valentine's Day, it's for all those other tricky days of the year as well!!

Stars and Moon © Billy London

Kamryn accepted the flower delivery with a gracious smile. If only they were for her. Linc was so thoughtful. Making sure Tallie knew she was loved before he even turned up. With a sigh, she put the flowers to the side in the kitchen, hid the key for Linc and decided to make herself some cheese on toast.
Tallie bounded down the stairs. “Afternoon!”
“Same to you,” Kamryn gave her an affectionate hug. “How are you doing today?”
Tallie gave a shrug that Kamryn knew hid a multitude of sadness. She missed the man she loved. “Not too bad. I’m going to take myself off to the bar for the longest shift in the world. Money’s money though, right?” She caught sight of the flowers. “Who are those for?”
“Me,” Kamryn answered swiftly.
“From who?” Tallie squealed.
“None of your beeswax,” Kamryn admonished. “Listen, don’t worry about today. If anything, come back here and we’ll have a meal together, and then maybe go see something happy and silly at the cinema.”
Tallie hugged her again, this time more tightly. “You’re gorgeous. I’ll see you later okay?”
Once Tallie left, Kamryn thought of food again. Once she’d eaten, she really should take herself off to the gym. Before she even turned on the grill, her phone rang. “Yellop?”
“Hi, Kamryn.”
Omg. Him. He called. He had actually called. Kamryn was the good time girl. Never the girlfriend. Certainly not the wife. This was a shock to her that HE called her. The man who knew what he was doing with his body to her own. In the billiards room of a supper party last month (probably the most pretentious she’d ever attended) Iver did something to her. It turned her legs to rubber, her bones to water and her mind to mashed potatoes. One of his friends walked in just as they were getting dressed and Kamryn shifted it. She didn’t hang around for an awkward breakfast, just got the first available cab to the train station. Most likely, he got her number from their mutual friend. 
“Hi.”
“Are you busy?”
“No... I mean I have plans later...” Fuck. Way to make herself unavailable. 
“Would you mind breaking them?”
For potentially passing out from too many orgasms? Er... Yes! “Why?”
“I want to make up for our miscommunication.”
“And what was that?”
“I let you think I only wanted something temporary. That’s not at all true.”
“Well, what do you want?” She could barely talk her heart was in her mouth. 
“You. Alone. For good. Can you meet me?”
She didn’t hesitate. “I can.”
“That’s good. That’s really good to hear. Grab your passport.”
Hold on a minute. “Why...”
“You need one when you cross other countries' borders.”
Her stomach imploded in a combination of fear and excitement. “Do I get to know where I’m going?”
“Of course. As soon as you get your ticket.”
“What am I packing?” 
“Light clothes. But something to cover up in the evening, as it gets a bit chilly. Enough for five nights. Don’t worry I’ve spoken to your boss. She’s more than happy for you to have a break.” He paused a beat before saying. “I’ll make this worth your time. I promise.”
What could she say to that? “I guess I’ll see you.”
They ended the call and Kamryn squealed to herself spinning in a circle, like a puppy chasing its tail. Five nights. Right, let’s go. She picked out her biggest suitcase and threw in her best underwear, silky kaftans she’d bought during sales for holidays she hadn’t taken in years, maxi dresses and strapless bandage ones. Chiffon shirts and broderie shorts went in with sandals and wedges. Her doorbell rang just as she found her passport and tucked it between her teeth. Still in her pyjamas, Kamryn answered the door. 
“Good afternoon Ms Lenox. I’m here to take you to Gatwick.” He looked her up and down. “I can give you about twenty minutes but I don’t want you to miss your gate.”
“Of course.” She closed the door and had the fastest shower, throwing essentials into a handbag while she tugged on leggings and a jumper dress. Iver was insane. He had to be. More money than sense, which is what her parents always said about him, but since this was all for her to court her she couldn’t really complain. When she opened the door again the driver helped her with her case. The town car gave her the smoothest ride she’d ever taken to an airport. The driver took her case to British Airways Business Class travellers, where her ticket awaited. The assistant handed her an envelope. “Mr. D’Araines has included your hotel details as well.”
“Thank you,” Kamryn gushed. Opening the envelope, she found a credit card inside, stuck to a letter informing her that it had a ten thousand pound limit. And the ticket read, LGW to KGS. Kos. Greek island. Oh. Okay. Hold on. Hold on. Greek Island. Warm. Warner than London in any case. A boat ride from Turkey. A short distance to Istanbul thereafter. The man had GAME!
Armed with a PIN number Kamryn bought other essentials and a ginger beer to settle her nervous stomach. Sense told her to let someone know where she was being whisked to. She sent her mother a long involved text message. Deleted it and sent her an email instead. She sent the same email to her flat mate and to her sister. Bases all covered and a few bottles of Jo Malone in beautifully wrapped packages, Kamryn took another call from Iver. “I’ll see you in about three hours. Okay?”
“I am overwhelmed.”
“You shouldn’t be,” he said softly. “It’s nothing more than you deserve. Have a safe flight.”
On board she was treated to glasses of champagne, dinner on china with heavy cutlery. She tried distracting herself with her iPad and failed miserably. What was she doing? It was three hours and a flight too late for anyone else to talk sense into her. Fairy tales didn’t happen to her. Of course she’d doubt every single bit of it.
“Sorry,” she halted the air hostess. “Can I have another drink, please? Gin and tonic? Double?”
By the time the flight landed, she was a little bit tipsy and full to the brim with Dutch courage. When she collected her suitcase, she saw text messages from her mother and sister. None from her flat mate who was probably in the midst of her long-arse shift. Or doing her boyfriend. One of the two. Tallie’d certainly tell her to shut up and enjoy herself. Kamryn followed the other passengers to the arrivals lounge and saw Iver waiting for her, her name written on a large card.
“You are crazy,” she said, shaking her head in disbelief, as he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her into an embrace that spoke volumes.
“A little,” he admitted. Without another word he beckoned for her case, and he took it from her hand, and caught her other in his own. He led her to another glossy looking town car, and tucked her carefully inside, while the driver put the case in the boot.
The car gently rolled off, the tinted windows shielding the beautiful scenery from her view. She gazed at him, her fingers warmly tangled with his. “You know a phone call would have worked just as well.”
He smiled, looking somewhere over her head. “Yes well. This way neither of us have a ream of excuses.”
“So what’s the plan?”
He leaned across her to lower her window. “Do you see that, in the distance?”
“Yes.”
“That’s Turkey. We can stay here a few nights, and stay over there a few nights as well. We’ll take a boat, eat lots of seafood, I know that’s your thing. And smash plates, if you really want to.”
Kamryn had to take a breath. Was this really happening?
He seemed to sense her hesitation and offered. “You can book a flight back whenever you want. And you have your own room.” 
In the sharp sunlight, and the heat that stilled the air between them, Kamryn tightened her hold on his hand. “That’s very thoughtful, but am I going to need it?”

Iver lifted her knuckles to his lips. “I really hope not.”




Friday, 13 February 2015

You Can't Hurry Love



I thought I'd squeeze in a little military romance on the penultimate day of this Season of Love. It's always good when someone comes back. And comes back in one piece...

Come Back To Me © Billy London

“Out!” Tallie commanded, pointing the way to the exit. Harris and Jimi guiltily lifted their hands from the other, as if Tallie held a gun. 
“We weren’t doing anything,” Jimi lied. 
“He’s still dressed.”
Tallie raised her eyebrows. “His jeans are around his poor ankles, God only knows how they support the rest of him. Now out!”
“You can’t chuck us out, Tallie!” Harris wailed. “It means I have to go home and deal with my children.”
“No sympathy here. Go. Home. And. Bang.”
With both hands, she hustled them out. She didn’t care who they knew or what they’d done in helping redesign the pub for her boss, they needed to not be having sex in the ladies room. It wasn’t too much to ask. She’d already thrown out three couples for trying to get naked. If they were willing to shag someone in a public toilet, they should wait to go home. Avoid the potential dysentery. 
Part of it was jealousy. Her part time boyfriend, was serving overseas and God only knew when he’d come back. She let it go, because she’d been a military brat herself. Still it’d be nice to have one day with him that didn’t rest on a time limit. Everyone told her she couldn’t run a part time relationship. She said it wasn’t much different for coppers, firefighters or prisoners. There’d be an end to it. Eventually. One way or the other, it had to stop. She loved him, but it wasn’t the life she wanted to live. A life she couldn’t live again.
Making her way back downstairs, she sent one of the glass collectors a smile and took a mental note to get the cabaret singer her preferred bottle of ginger beer. She came to a grinding halt when she saw Linc sitting at the bar in his uniform, a hand around a pint of bitter, the other rested on a huge bunch of flowers. 
He saw her gripping onto the bannister and smiled at her, mouthing. “Come here.”
How? What? The hell? Shaking visibly, she walked over to him and found herself wrapped in the safest and strongest arms in the world. 
“Evening,” he murmured against her skin. “Silly mare, don’t cry!”
She couldn’t help herself. All those thoughts of dumping him. Of ending it and finding someone who knew how to stay in one place and not make themselves a target for sniper practice. Pulling back she examined his face, looking for something to give her a reason, an excuse because God knew she couldn’t take such heartbreak. Not again.
He lifted an eyebrow. “See something you don’t like?”
“When did you get back?”
“Just now,” he said on a laugh. “I ordered these ahead. I just picked them up from your flat mate and here I am.”
She had nothing she could say. Only that Kamryn was a sneaky cow who lied to her and said the flowers were for her! 
“Don’t kill her,” Linc warned, picking up a handful of her hair and drawing his fingers through it. “She kept it quiet because I asked her to.” He braced his hands at the small of her back. “What’s going on? I can see the wheels turning.”
She didn’t know how to phrase it. “Are you going back?”
“Do you mean am I going to get a nice job with a desk and a landline? The short answer is no. The longer answer is, I’m going to find something to do. Where I can keep an eye on you. And other people can shut the fuck up about me.”
Tallie winced uncomfortably. Oh dear. What had given that away? She tried to steer the conversation. “As in a job here?”
That laugh of his tickled an echoing smile on her lips. “As in London? We’ll see. I’ve got friends who need to start paying up. They owe me.”
“Who?”
“One of whom should be thanking me in a speech tomorrow.” His smile grew. “I like how you didn’t even deny that I was right.”
She groaned, resting her head on his shoulder. “We’ve been doing this for so long. I just want you here. Available here.”
He stroked her head. “Done. I promise, Tallie. It’s just you and me now. For good.”
Could she handle it though? Him around all the time? Silly question. She was fed up of missing him. It was exhausting worrying about him. At every moment he haunted her mind. Relief flooded through her and she lifted her head. He was home. And he was still beautifully whole. Clearing her throat, she wiped her eyes. “Let me call, Kamryn. I hope she doesn’t mind you being at home with me.”
“She left the key for me to get in, so I don’t think she’s home.”
With a frown, Tallie retrieved her phone and called. “Babe, listen to that. That’s international isn’t it?”
Linc gave a nod. “Someone’s been keeping secrets.” 
Tallie’s frown deepened. “I didn’t know she was even seeing anyone.”
Her boyfriend looked thoroughly impatient. “I haven’t seen you in eight months. Eight. Months. Can we talk about your flat mate another time?”
Tallie grinned. “Of course.” She hugged him again and over his shoulder she sent Kamryn a text. Where the devil are you?
Linc pulled her back and pointed to her eyes then his own. “Eight months. Bring it back here.”
“Absolutely. You are going to have to wait though. I’ve got another three hours on this shift.”

“I’ll wait,” he said, leaning forward to press a lingering kiss to her lips. She stroked her hands over his face. So he should. She’d waited long enough for him. Three hours was nothing…

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Love That Burns


I love a couple that are far too comfortable with each other to waste time with frivolities and niceties. Harris and her husband Jimi know how to get right to the nitty gritty. If that isn't love and romance, I don't know what is... 

The Tease © Billy London

Harris rapped her fork over her husband’s tattooed knuckles. “Stop staring you gimp!” She commanded even as he howled in outrage. “Oh did that hurt?”
He glared at her. “You know that hurts!”
“More than the tattoos?” She barely held back her derision. “Baby.”
Rubbing his hand, he muttered, “Abuser…”
“Then keep your eyes in your head!” Harris visibly bristled with irritation. That poor girl had been sitting at her table alone on a trumped up day. She didn’t want to make it any worse for her.
“I was just checking to see if her date’s turned up.”
She shook her head at him. “Why are you such an arse?”
Jimi sent her a humourless grin. “I get it from you. Don’t you feel bad? Stuffing your cake hole when she’s hungry and abandoned?”
Harris curled her top lip. “I doubt food’s the last thing on her mind.” She casually looked in the girl’s direction and poked her husband with the fork when Brogan sat down opposite her.
“I swear, woman. If I’m not going to ejaculate at the end of this, you need to stop with the pain play.”
Ignoring him, she watched in fascination as Brogan offered the girl a drink and food arrived at their table. Seriously? Smooth. Harris could have applauded. How could she not give him credit for abusing his position to get himself laid? A girl would have a hard time not swooning infinitely at such a knight in shining armour type gesture.
“Oi,” her husband laid a thick finger on her jaw and brought her attention back to his face. Craggy bastard.
“Yes?”
“Right here, or else why did we leave the house and why are we paying for someone to watch our progeny?”
She leaned back in her chair and exhaled. “Because everyone looks at us and sees perfection. A union birthed in the stars. We want people to feel jealous of our love.”
“You haven’t tugged my love in a while,” he mused.
“Jimi, don’t lie,” Harris fumed. “Just think back to the last time we had sex, and I remember when that was because we had to get up and change the sheets…”
“You’re welcome…” he offered, tilting his head.
“And it was me who convinced you. I tugged your love, my friend. I tugged, sucked and fucked that thing until it was limp. Last night, when I reached around you were all… Don’t touch it, I’m tired. I’ve got stamina. Those children, our business, our house and I still fancy it when you don’t.”
He framed his fingers over his mouth, his gaze thoughtful. “I disagree.”
“Of course you do.”
“Because you only fancy it after I’ve already suggested that you put your underwear in your mouth and bend over. You’re all I smell really weird today. Smell me. I smell weird. Do you know what that does to my balls? Shrivels them.”
Harris pouted. “I’m sorry that my delicate biological balance puts me off. In the same vein, you should be grateful.”
“That I get to throw my sausage down your Blackwall tunnel?”
She burst out laughing, and flipped her finger at him. “Fuck you, this thing is still tighter than a virgin’s. I just accommodate better after three natural births.”
Jimi raised his glass to her. “Maybe you’re right. And probably I shouldn’t have fisted you that one time…”
“You need to stop telling that story. It wasn’t a fist. It was three and a half fingers.”
An elderly man tapped Jimi on his bulky shoulder. “Excuse me, would you mind toning down your language?”
Jimi lowered his voice to say, “My wife and I are having serious talks about our sex life. If we don’t set boundaries now, it’s going to be really difficult later on when she pulls out the strap-on.” Harris stifled a squeal of laughter. “We’ll try to keep it quiet, but we both should be pretty clear. That way, no one gets hurt.”
The old man, flamed in the face, turned back to his dinner. Harris groaned, “He’s going to complain to Brogan.”
“Brogan’ll do fuck all,” Jimi dismissed. “We designed this place, top to fucking bottom, and it’s not his restaurant, it’s Greg’s. And as Greg prays for our lost souls, so we can do what the fuck we like.”
Harris scratched her ear. “Are all those fucks to make up for last night?”
He blinked very slowly and Harris squirmed in her seat. She liked winding him up. They’d been irritating each other into bed for over a decade. It worked for her. “Listen, yeah?”
“I’m all ears.”
“You want something, you ask me.”
Fair enough. “Husband? Are we going to bang tonight?”
His eyes darkened and he folded his arms on the table. Given the size of the man, she was rather glad they’d selected heavy, oak tables. “I will do you in this restaurant.”
“You wouldn’t,” she retorted immediately.
“I would, I made sure those toilets are big enough.”
“I know you wouldn’t. That’s why we don’t do orgies. We both get performance anxiety and I’m not wearing any underwear.”
His mouth parted in shock. “Pardon?”
“True.”
“You’re lying.”
She threw her hands up in the air. “Goodness sake! Why would I lie about having my gonads bared to the elements?”
Eyes narrowed with suspicion, he caught her chair and pulled it forward. Reaching underneath the table, he tapped her on the knee, ordering, “Open.”
She did as she was told and let his fingers drift over her, enjoying the sudden glow to his cheeks. Briefly, she closed her legs, trapping his hand.
“Changing your mind?” he said, his tone low and rough.
Harris slid down in her chair, sending his hand more firmly against her. “Performance anxiety,” she reminded him. “But if we go to that pub across the road. What’s it called?”
The Bee’s Knees.”
She gently stroked his inner wrist. “Dark. Candlelight. Those martinis that are like Viagra to you… No one’s going to look.”
“Brogan!” he yelled. “Bill, now, thank you.”
Brogan tore his gaze away from the girl opposite him to snap, “Will you two just do one?”
“Such a lack of customer service,” Jimi tutted, and gently removed his hand. “And before you say, no you don’t smell weird. Try and put me off for no reason.”
Harris grinned. “Not today.”
He paused briefly, then counted out the cash for the meal. “Get up, let’s go.”
Easy victory. Honestly, the minute he gave up coffee for green tea…






Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Love Story

Sometimes disappointment is inevitable on Valentine's Day. And it takes a special kind of person to make that evaporate in the heat of possibility. Brogan is just that person.. 

Chocolate Offers 
© Billy London

Brogan’s gaze kept flicking between the booking system and the girl sitting tensely alone at her table for two. That table needed to be turned for their nine pm and God help him if his boss walked in and saw someone who hadn’t had a single meal taking up what should be a hundred quid cover. 
Tina passed him, a tray of empty glasses and followed his gaze. “Greg is going to go spare.”
Brogan sent her a dismissive look. “Greg’s not coming in. He swore.”
“Greg swears about a lot of things. It’s what makes him a fixture,” Tina deposited the glasses in the back and started making some more of the complimentary Valentine’s Day cocktails. “That girl’s been here an hour. She’s been stood up.”
He looked over again. The girl seemed hunched over, her bottom lip bitten to hell and her eyes reddened. This fucking day. Utterly designed to make people feel like shit, build up their expectations and drop them from a fantastic height, all to remind them of how no one loves them at any other time of the year, let alone on this one, commercialised, bullshit day.
The phone rang and Brogan answered it, distractedly. “Lounge Restaurant, Brogan speaking, how may I help you?”
“Bro, it’s Greg. Just a heads up so you can arrange yourself appropriately. The missus and I are popping in.”
“Jesus,” Brogan rolled his eyes. “The place is still standing you know?”
“I’m a concerned owner. We’ll be there in about half an hour or so.”
With a growl, Brogan slammed down the phone. Tina singsoned, “I told you so!”
One of the waitresses approached the lonely girl’s table and said, “Sorry, we do need your table...”
Brogan swiped a glass of the lurid pink cocktail and placed it in front of the girl. “No, we don’t.” He edged the waitress away and sat down opposite the girl. She stared at him, a mix of horror and embarrassment in her dark eyes.
“I’m really...”
“Whoever he is, he’s a dick. But you’re not leaving here until you’ve eaten something.”
The girl looked down at her body. “Plenty of people who say I’ve eaten enough.”
“And those people can go fuck themselves. I’d recommend the baba ganoush to start, with the homemade pitta, we do all our own baking here. Then have the grilled chicken, it comes with a crisp salad, and have some halloumi on the side. And to finish, we have chocolate fondue for two.”
The girl looked awkward. “I can’t eat that all by myself.”
“You’re not going to, I’m going to have something as well.”
He turned and smiled at Tina who quickly composed herself to approach their table. “And sir will be having...?”
He gave the order and asked for some still water. Eating to piss Greg off or not, he wasn’t going to compound a threat of sacking by drinking as well. Turning back to the table, he rested his arms on the wood, closing the gap between himself and the girl.
“Since we’re having dinner together, I should at least introduce myself. I’m Brogan. Shortly, you’ll see a big, ginger bloke storm in and try to rip my head off. That would be my boss. Tina is the one who took our order and the girl who was trying to kick you off your table is Sandra.”
She held out her hand. “I’m Elodie. Nice to meet you.”
Tina placed the basket of pitta in front of them and the large bowl of baba ganoush, drizzled with olive oil and studded with pomegranate seeds. “Enjoy. Twenty five minutes to doomsday.”
“Go away,” Brogan ordered. He nudged the bread towards his date. “Bon appetit.”
He dug in, enjoying the perks of the job of having traditional Lebanese food available to him. “Was it a first date?”
Elodie twisted her mouth in thought. “Second actually. I thought he liked me. I really did...” She showed him her phone. “I mean look at all these messages from him. And tonight? Poof. Gone.”
You’re the type of girl I want to be with... You’re so beautiful, I feel lucky you’ve given me a chance... I’d be so proud to call myself your boyfriend... 
“The fuck is this shit?” Brogan demanded.
She shrugged. “I think he was trying to get me to sleep with him. This must be the punishment for saying can we wait?”
“You’ve got good instincts, clearly.”
Elodie sighed. “Only when someone’s going overboard with the compliments. Don’t give me that look, I know I’m a good looking girl. And I know I’m a good looking girl with a few pounds on. But this... Humiliation is unnecessary.”
“Good for you,” he said, admiration in his tone. Without a second thought, he dialled the number of the dickstain. Elodie’s mouth fell open and she reached for it.
“Don’t you dare!”
Surprisingly, the idiot answered. “Er... Elodie. Hi.”
“It’s not Elodie, you piece of shit.”
She sucked her lips into her mouth, her eyebrows hovering at the stratosphere and her hands on her cheeks.
“Who are you?”
“I’m the man who’s going to make Elodie feel good, all night long. And if you ever contact her again with your bullshit, I’ll rip your tiny little dick off and fuck you in the arse with it.”
The man hastily dropped the call and Brogan handed it over. She took it from him warily. “You’re not right.”
He stretched. “It’s been a trying day. He just got the brunt of it.” He picked up his glass of water and touched it to her cocktail glass. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
A smile hovered over her face, making her eyes sparkle. “There’s a couple to your right, my left who keep looking over at us.”
Brogan followed her direction and made a face. “I know them. Nosy parkers. They’re scrambling for something to talk about after nine years together.”
“Nine years is a nice goal.”
He closed one eye and examined her carefully. He envisioned kissing her, undressing her, embracing her response to him as he buried himself inside her. He thought about sharing living space, how she’d insist on his inordinate amount of trainers go to the attic, and he would chuck out all her expensive and unnecessary beauty products. He saw them eloping, running off to Sandals resort and returning to train their two pit bull pups.
“Doable.” He said. “With the right person.”
She looked sceptical, eyes narrowed. “No such thing. No one person is right, you have to make the situation... better.”
A huge hand slapped on his shoulder. “What are you doing sitting down?”
Brogan picked up his boss’s hand and removed it from his person. “Having my first break in a thirteen hour shift.”
Greg’s eyes moved to Elodie and widened in appreciation. Of course he would. He liked a bit of curve on a bird, hence the Reverend March. “Don’t let him make out that I’m a slave driver.”
“You are.” Brogan made a face to say, Will you do one? Showing more foresight than he usually did,
Greg straightened. “I’ll leave you to it. I hope you enjoy your meal.”
“Thank you,” Elodie said with a delighted beam. She looked much happier. And he was glad to have done that for her.
“Elodie,” he said softly, and she met his gaze full on, such light in her face it made him smile. “How’s your situation?”
Elodie grinned at him over her glass. “Better. A lot better.”