THE FINAL COUNT DOWN…

jl-all-books.jpgThis morning I woke up early to  bright sunshine and mist in the river valley. Yes we’re definitely having an Indian Summer at the moment.  We’ve had an exceptionally dry month so far; any rain has been falling during the night leaving the days dry and sunny.  However no doubt we’ll be back to wind and rain by October which will shake the trees and start bringing the leaves down indicating that autumn really has arrived.  I’m a little sad that summer is over. 2014 has been an exceptionally good one especially during June and July. In fact both our weeks away during those two months were perfect weather-wise. It made such a difference to the holiday especially being able to eat outside – something we Brits usually have to fly to the Med to experience.  It’s such a shame UK weather is subject to the whims of the jet stream and we are not able to guarantee a hefty dose of sunshine to make our summers more enjoyable. It’s very much a case of enjoy it while it is here!

Currently we are on count down to a mid week break, our last holiday of 2014. We’re flying out to Guernsey for a few days.  We were there in April as a late celebration for my OH’s birthday.  Now it’s the turn of the wife of one of our friends.  I love Guernsey; less commercialised than its sister island of Jersey it has a much gentler pace of life than mainland UK and the islanders are always friendly and welcoming.  Today once the writing session is over I’m off to sort out clothes to pack.  We have three days, the first of which will be spent browsing around St Peter Port, the capital. What we do on the other two will depend very much on the weather.  There are some amazing coastal walks but, of course, that’s a bit of a no-no if it’s blowing a force seven gale!  As this is our fourth visit we’ve seen most of the attractions there like the Shipwreck Museum.  I’d love to take one of the small ferries out to nearby Herm or Sark but  at this time of year there is always the possibility of sea fog which can have you stranded there overnight or maybe even longer.

Guernsey is a very small island, you can drive around it in a day but hey! we’re on holiday and chilling out so I’m sure we’ll find something to do even if it’s sitting drinking wine and watching the world go by.  This time around we’re not staying at our usual hotel in St Martins but in St Peter Port.  Not sure what The Duke of Normandie will be like – am hoping we’ll like it as much as our usual hotel, La Barbarie.  We’ve grown so used to the great accommodation, food and service there but as we’re not planning to hire a car this time round we opted to stay centrally and use taxis or public transport to get around. Unbelievably this comes out cheaper than short term car hire.  Below I give you a taste of the island…can’t wait!

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An Update on Summer Moved On

As I leave for the holiday in a good place with my current WIP.  Yes, the first draft of Summer Moved On will be completed by the time I leave next week.  It’s never a good idea to get too complacent when writing.  When I first started this novel at the end of 2013 it went like a dream and I held my breath because dream writing is not a long term thing; it’s a case of making the most of it while you can.  Predictably it began to stall during the summer and I hit pockets where for whatever reason the whole thing seemed to drive into a cul-de-sac and stop.  As I had set out the whole thing like a series of connecting boxes – each box being a separate scene – I simply moved on and began on another section of the story.  Walking away from a difficult scene is, I have found, the only imagesIYM730JTway to resolve the problem  There is no point banging your head against a brick wall.  The harder you try the more elusive the solution becomes.  More often than not I’ve found if  things aren’t working then it’s either got to be written in a different way i.e. choosing a new location or taking it from a different character viewpoint or it’s not meant to be and should be scrapped and rethought.  The good news is, however, that everything has now fallen into place and I have only a few more hundred words to go before journey’s end.  This means I’ll be able to start work on edits as soon as I return. Editing is probably the worst but most essential part of writing a book. I don’t think I know anyone who really enjoys it.  It will mean several months of checking, amending and rewriting before the manuscript is ready to be placed in the hands of my editor in January.  I am hoping for publication sometime in Spring 2015 and after that well I’ll be getting down to writing the sequel!

BROOK COTTAGE BOOKS BLOG TOUR FOR JULIA IBBOTSON’S DRUMBEATS

Drumbeats Tour Banner

First can I say many thanks to the author for sending me  a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest  review as part of the Drumbeats Book Tour

My Review 

Reading the synopsis for Drumbeats my first thought was that this is not my usual choice of book. However although I have definite preferences when I’m buying, I’m generally pretty eclectic in my taste and can very often be persuaded to step outside my comfort zone and try something completely different. If anything drew me to this novel it had to be the beautiful cover and I do think if I was not doing a professional review it probably would have played a big part in influencing me to buy.

The synopsis for Drumbeats gave all the indications of an interesting read. What I had not anticipated, however, was the wonderful quality of the writing.  It’s a brilliantly crafted book where sights, sounds and even smells of the Ghanaian way of life are conjured up quite vividly.  In some novels details can slow up the story and bog the reader down.  In this book it feels right, woven so well into the fabric of the story it becomes an essential part of the read.

It is 1965. Jess is an 18 year old about to embark on a university career. However she decides first she will take a gap year and work abroad.  Her parents are strict Quakers who cannot understand and don’t really approve of what she wants to do.  Nevertheless she embarks on this year out of the UK to teach in a Ghanaian school.  As well as a chance to experience life in foreign country it’s also an escape from a strict and somewhat oppressive home life. Through the writer we get a wonderful feel for this very different way of life in Africa and how Jess copes with living in a hot country whose culture is so unlike her own.  Back in England is boyfriend Simon, already at university and they correspond regularly. She misses him and has bouts of homesickness but soon gets distracted by her new life as a teacher. When two Americans, Jim and Hank arrive as part of the Peace Corps based in Accra Jess finds herself befriending Jim. Dark and good looking the young intern is here to volunteer his skills after which he plans to return to his medical studies in the US.  Jess and Jim grow closer through their mutual love of music and his assistance at the two villages she regularly visits.  Although she is aware of an attraction developing between them she is determined to stay faithful to Simon.

The story moves steadily through the year; school life, Jess’s friendship with the other young women teachers and her pupils and an eventful Christmas road trip they take to Timbuctoo. As the relationship between Jess and Jim progresses his actions and absences make her suspicious that he might be involved in something far deeper than volunteering.  When they are both caught up a coup which overthrows the President she finds herself in a situation which eventually leads to her betrayal of the faithful Simon. Afterwards Jim asks her to return to the States with him and Jess has to make a difficult decision about the direction she wants her life to take. Should she go with Jim or return to Simon?

 I won’t take the story any further, only to say there are some interesting twists and turns before we finish plus an ending which leaves the door open for the next book. If I have one criticism it’s that book two is not yet available. Personally I can’t wait to continue Jess’s journey.  A brilliant read and a well deserved five stars.

Drumbeats Berni

Published July 2014

Drumbeats: can you ever escape your past?

Drumbeats is the first novel in a trilogy and follows 18 year old English student Jess through her gap year in West Africa. It’s a rite of passage novel set in the mid-1960s when Jess flees her stifling home background for freedom to become a volunteer teacher and nurse in the Ghanaian bush. Apprehensively, she leaves her first real romantic love behind in the UK, but will she be able to sustain the bond while she is away? With the idealism of youth, she hopes to find out who she really is and do some good in the world, but little does she realize what, in reality, she will find that year: joys, horrors, and tragedy. She must find her way on her own and learn what fate has in store for her, as she becomes embroiled in the poverty and turmoil of a small war-torn African nation under a controversial dictatorship. Jess must face the dangers of both civil war and unexpected romance. Can she escape her past? And why do the drumbeats haunt her dreams?

Drumbeats Trilogy:

Drumbeats

Can you ever escape your past?

Walking in the Rain

How do you cope when your worst nightmare comes true?

Before I Die

Can Jess’s bucket list bring resolution to her life?

Excerpt

August 1965, Ghana

It was hotter than Jess had ever imagined in her eighteen years. Flying in from the UK bound for Accra, she had left the late August skies of the dull wet dreariness of an English summer. But as she stepped off the Ghana Airways VC10, she felt the heavy all-encompassing heat which shocked her system. Although it was only six o’clock in the evening, it was already dark and close.

The flight from London Heathrow had been a long and tiresome six hours and she had felt drained as she pulled down her cabin bag from the overhead and shuffled along the aisle behind the other travellers, nodding and swaying to the strains of the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” on the VC10’s tannoy system. Her mother would have a fit: her Rulebook said no pop music; it’s the work of the devil, and no dancing: Jessamy, anyone would think you were a slut. So in the holidays, when she was home from boarding school, she’d listened to Pick of the Pops furtively in her bedroom, ear pressed to the radio.

Now, as she climbed down the steps in the heat-stifling darkness to take her first stride on African soil, she was recharged with excitement.

She was aware of the male flight attendant standing at the foot of the aircraft’s steps, watching her with undisguised admiration as she climbed down. She navigated the steps as gracefully as she could in her tan wedge-heeled sandals. In the heat, she was glad that she had thought to scoop up her auburn-gold hair loosely into a ponytail.  She let go of the rail with her left hand for a moment to smooth her pale pink cotton mini dress over her slim figure. At least she wasn’t irritable and demanding like the other passengers who pushed behind her as if they were in a great hurry.

The flight attendant watched her all the way down the steps and then wiped his palm on his trousers, and held it out courteously to steady her from the last step. She took it in her own cool soft hand for a brief moment.

“Thank you so much, John. Bye now,” she smiled as she passed him and headed for the small wooden shack that served as an airport building.

“No problem, miss. Welcome to Ghana.”

“How did you know his name?” hissed Sandra, from behind her. Jess turned. She noticed that John did not take Sandra’s hand. His eyes and grin were still focussed on her.

“It’s on his name label,” whispered Jess. They walked together across to the arrivals building. “OK?”

“OK. Long flight. Tired,” answered Sandra curtly. She had been unusually quiet during the flight and, it seemed, almost close to tears on occasion. Jess put her free hand on Sandra’s arm.

“It’ll be fine. Honestly. I know you’re missing Colin.” In the short time Jess had with Sandra after they were teamed up to travel to the same school in Ghana for their gap years, she had learned all about the chap Sandra was leaving behind for a year. Sandra showed her a photograph. Oh dear, he looked a lot like Maurie. Not fanciable. AT. ALL! She herself had said little about her own personal life, and the guy she had left behind. She wanted to keep him to herself. Her first real grown-up relationship. Simon. His name still tasted so new on her lips and in her head. Had she done the right thing in dutifully fulfilling the contract to come out here, even though they had only just got together? Would he wait for her? They were an item, weren’t they? She frowned and bit her lip.

To win an e-copy (International) of Drumbeats click and register on the rafflecopter tag below

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4be030177/

About the Author

Julia

Julia Ibbotson lives in a renovated Victorian rectory in the English countryside with her husband (four children, now grown up, having fled the nest), along with lots of apple trees, a kitchen garden and far too many moles. She is an author and academic, and loves choral singing, walking, swimming, gardening and cooking (not necessarily at the same time). She started writing as soon as she could hold a pencil in her tiny fist and has not stopped since, much to the bemusement of her long-suffering husband who brings her endless cups of coffee and sometimes even makes the dinner when she is distracted and frowning at her laptop.

She wrote her first novel when she was 10 years old, sadly never published and long since consigned to the manuscript graveyard. She loves writing novels with a strong sense of time and place and that is the basis of her latest, Drumbeats, the first of a trilogy which follows Jess through the trials and tribulations of her life. It starts with Jess on her gap year in Ghana in the 1960s.

She has also written the story of the restoration of her rectory in The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, which also interweaves recipes from her farmhouse kitchen and which has won a number of international awards.

Recently she found an old manuscript gathering dust in her drawer, one she had originally scribbled when she was still at school, many years ago. It was a children’s story about a boy who slips through a tear in the fabric of the universe to find himself in a fantasy medieval world. She is currently blowing off the dust and redrafting it for her publishers to let it loose on the world in the autumn. It’s called S.C.A.R.S.

She loves to hear from readers (it’s a pleasant distraction from her steaming keyboard), so do get in touch via the links.

Author Links

Author page on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Julia-Ibbotson/e/B0095XG11U/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377188346&sr=1-2-ent

Author email:

juliaibbotson@btinternet.com

Author facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julia-Ibbotson-author/163085897119236

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

Author website:

http://www.juliaibbotsonauthor.com

Pinterest page:

http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

Goodreads author page:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6017965.Julia_Ibbotson

Book Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OYlEXhHvsc&list=UUP3hKZjeUBuTMoyvZmBXbow

BROOK COTTAGE BOOKS – BLOG TOUR FOR DRUMBEATS 8th – 19th September, 2014

Drumbeats Tour Banner

First can I say many thanks to the author for sending me  a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest  review as part of the Drumbeats Book Tour

My Review 

Reading the synopsis for Drumbeats my first thought was that this is not my usual choice of book. However although I have definite preferences when I’m buying, I’m generally pretty eclectic in my taste and can very often be persuaded to step outside my comfort zone and try something completely different. If anything drew me to this novel it had to be the beautiful cover and I do think if I was not doing a professional review it probably would have played a big part in influencing me to buy.

The synopsis for Drumbeats gave all the indications of an interesting read. What I had not anticipated, however, was the wonderful quality of the writing.  It’s a brilliantly crafted book where sights, sounds and even smells of the Ghanaian way of life are conjured up quite vividly.  In some novels details can slow up the story and bog the reader down.  In this book it feels right, woven so well into the fabric of the story it becomes an essential part of the read.

It is 1965. Jess is an 18 year old about to embark on a university career. However she decides first she will take a gap year and work abroad.  Her parents are strict Quakers who cannot understand and don’t really approve of what she wants to do.  Nevertheless she embarks on this year out of the UK to teach in a Ghanaian school.  As well as a chance to experience life in foreign country it’s also an escape from a strict and somewhat oppressive home life. Through the writer we get a wonderful feel for this very different way of life in Africa and how Jess copes with living in a hot country whose culture is so unlike her own.  Back in England is boyfriend Simon, already at university and they correspond regularly. She misses him and has bouts of homesickness but soon gets distracted by her new life as a teacher. When two Americans, Jim and Hank arrive as part of the Peace Corps based in Accra Jess finds herself befriending Jim. Dark and good looking the young intern is here to volunteer his skills after which he plans to return to his medical studies in the US.  Jess and Jim grow closer through their mutual love of music and his assistance at the two villages she regularly visits.  Although she is aware of an attraction developing between them she is determined to stay faithful to Simon.

The story moves steadily through the year; school life, Jess’s friendship with the other young women teachers and her pupils and an eventful Christmas road trip they take to Timbuctoo. As the relationship between Jess and Jim progresses his actions and absences make her suspicious that he might be involved in something far deeper than volunteering.  When they are both caught up a coup which overthrows the President she finds herself in a situation which eventually leads to her betrayal of the faithful Simon. Afterwards Jim asks her to return to the States with him and Jess has to make a difficult decision about the direction she wants her life to take. Should she go with Jim or return to Simon?

 I won’t take the story any further, only to say there are some interesting twists and turns before we finish plus an ending which leaves the door open for the next book. If I have one criticism it’s that book two is not yet available. Personally I can’t wait to continue Jess’s journey.  A brilliant read and a well deserved five stars.

Drumbeats Berni

Published July 2014

Drumbeats: can you ever escape your past?

Drumbeats is the first novel in a trilogy and follows 18 year old English student Jess through her gap year in West Africa. It’s a rite of passage novel set in the mid-1960s when Jess flees her stifling home background for freedom to become a volunteer teacher and nurse in the Ghanaian bush. Apprehensively, she leaves her first real romantic love behind in the UK, but will she be able to sustain the bond while she is away? With the idealism of youth, she hopes to find out who she really is and do some good in the world, but little does she realize what, in reality, she will find that year: joys, horrors, and tragedy. She must find her way on her own and learn what fate has in store for her, as she becomes embroiled in the poverty and turmoil of a small war-torn African nation under a controversial dictatorship. Jess must face the dangers of both civil war and unexpected romance. Can she escape her past? And why do the drumbeats haunt her dreams?

Drumbeats Trilogy:

Drumbeats

Can you ever escape your past?

Walking in the Rain

How do you cope when your worst nightmare comes true?

Before I Die

Can Jess’s bucket list bring resolution to her life?

Excerpt

August 1965, Ghana

It was hotter than Jess had ever imagined in her eighteen years. Flying in from the UK bound for Accra, she had left the late August skies of the dull wet dreariness of an English summer. But as she stepped off the Ghana Airways VC10, she felt the heavy all-encompassing heat which shocked her system. Although it was only six o’clock in the evening, it was already dark and close.

The flight from London Heathrow had been a long and tiresome six hours and she had felt drained as she pulled down her cabin bag from the overhead and shuffled along the aisle behind the other travellers, nodding and swaying to the strains of the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” on the VC10’s tannoy system. Her mother would have a fit: her Rulebook said no pop music; it’s the work of the devil, and no dancing: Jessamy, anyone would think you were a slut. So in the holidays, when she was home from boarding school, she’d listened to Pick of the Pops furtively in her bedroom, ear pressed to the radio.

Now, as she climbed down the steps in the heat-stifling darkness to take her first stride on African soil, she was recharged with excitement.

She was aware of the male flight attendant standing at the foot of the aircraft’s steps, watching her with undisguised admiration as she climbed down. She navigated the steps as gracefully as she could in her tan wedge-heeled sandals. In the heat, she was glad that she had thought to scoop up her auburn-gold hair loosely into a ponytail.  She let go of the rail with her left hand for a moment to smooth her pale pink cotton mini dress over her slim figure. At least she wasn’t irritable and demanding like the other passengers who pushed behind her as if they were in a great hurry.

The flight attendant watched her all the way down the steps and then wiped his palm on his trousers, and held it out courteously to steady her from the last step. She took it in her own cool soft hand for a brief moment.

“Thank you so much, John. Bye now,” she smiled as she passed him and headed for the small wooden shack that served as an airport building.

“No problem, miss. Welcome to Ghana.”

“How did you know his name?” hissed Sandra, from behind her. Jess turned. She noticed that John did not take Sandra’s hand. His eyes and grin were still focussed on her.

“It’s on his name label,” whispered Jess. They walked together across to the arrivals building. “OK?”

“OK. Long flight. Tired,” answered Sandra curtly. She had been unusually quiet during the flight and, it seemed, almost close to tears on occasion. Jess put her free hand on Sandra’s arm.

“It’ll be fine. Honestly. I know you’re missing Colin.” In the short time Jess had with Sandra after they were teamed up to travel to the same school in Ghana for their gap years, she had learned all about the chap Sandra was leaving behind for a year. Sandra showed her a photograph. Oh dear, he looked a lot like Maurie. Not fanciable. AT. ALL! She herself had said little about her own personal life, and the guy she had left behind. She wanted to keep him to herself. Her first real grown-up relationship. Simon. His name still tasted so new on her lips and in her head. Had she done the right thing in dutifully fulfilling the contract to come out here, even though they had only just got together? Would he wait for her? They were an item, weren’t they? She frowned and bit her lip.

To win an e-copy (International) of Drumbeats click and register on the rafflecopter tag below

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4be030177/

About the Author

Julia

Julia Ibbotson lives in a renovated Victorian rectory in the English countryside with her husband (four children, now grown up, having fled the nest), along with lots of apple trees, a kitchen garden and far too many moles. She is an author and academic, and loves choral singing, walking, swimming, gardening and cooking (not necessarily at the same time). She started writing as soon as she could hold a pencil in her tiny fist and has not stopped since, much to the bemusement of her long-suffering husband who brings her endless cups of coffee and sometimes even makes the dinner when she is distracted and frowning at her laptop.

She wrote her first novel when she was 10 years old, sadly never published and long since consigned to the manuscript graveyard. She loves writing novels with a strong sense of time and place and that is the basis of her latest, Drumbeats, the first of a trilogy which follows Jess through the trials and tribulations of her life. It starts with Jess on her gap year in Ghana in the 1960s.

She has also written the story of the restoration of her rectory in The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, which also interweaves recipes from her farmhouse kitchen and which has won a number of international awards.

Recently she found an old manuscript gathering dust in her drawer, one she had originally scribbled when she was still at school, many years ago. It was a children’s story about a boy who slips through a tear in the fabric of the universe to find himself in a fantasy medieval world. She is currently blowing off the dust and redrafting it for her publishers to let it loose on the world in the autumn. It’s called S.C.A.R.S.

She loves to hear from readers (it’s a pleasant distraction from her steaming keyboard), so do get in touch via the links.

Author Links

Author page on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Julia-Ibbotson/e/B0095XG11U/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377188346&sr=1-2-ent

Author email:

juliaibbotson@btinternet.com

Author facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julia-Ibbotson-author/163085897119236

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

Author website:

http://www.juliaibbotsonauthor.com

Pinterest page:

http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

Goodreads author page:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6017965.Julia_Ibbotson

Book Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OYlEXhHvsc&list=UUP3hKZjeUBuTMoyvZmBXbow

BROOK COTTAGE BOOKS BLOG TOUR FOR REKINDLING CONNECTIONS

Rekindling Connections Tour Banner

Rekindling Connections
by Nicky Abell-Francis
Published by Self-published on 14th April 2014
Pages: 369  
GoodreadsAmazon UKAmazon US

Many thanks to the author for sending me  a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the Rekindling Connections Book Tour

 

high res kindle cover jpeg reduced size

MY REVIEW

When I post a review it’s normally for something I have either downloaded on Kindle or pulled from the shelves of Waterstones.  It’s my choice.  With blog tours I get to chose a category but know nothing about the book I shall be reading and reviewing until all the relevant information comes through.  I have to say though that so far I have not been disappointed and Rekindling  Connections has  further reinforced that opinion.  In fact I  loved everything about this book.  A wonderful cover, a great story and a teaser at the finish to alert us to the fact we have by no means reached the end of the journey.

I loved the relationship  between Zara and her three friends, Bella, Amber and Gina.  All three became an integral part of the story as it progressed.  And then of course there were the men. Zara’s husband-to-be Bruce Loxley – good looking, rich and  dependable but with a definite feel he was not quite all he seemed.  Then there was Tyler Montgomery – well at least you knew what you were getting here.  Handsome,  egotistical  and heartless Zara still seemed unable to resist this incredibly handsome polo player. And last but not least Brett McNeil.  Now Brett is the one with my vote.  He may disappear and reappear in Zara’s life as he chases his dream but he’s an honest all round good guy and there’s that indefinable something  that surfaces between them every time they meet.  However what will happen now Zara has decided her future lies with Bruce?

So where does this leave the reader at the end of the book? Well waiting for the sequel of course!  A brilliant and entertaining read and worthy of all five stars I’m awarding it when I post my  reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

SYNOPSIS

The high octane world of sports therapy fast tracks Zara from middle class suburbia to the bright lights of Los Angeles. Approaching marriage to Bruce Loxley, dependable, seriously rich & with an impeccable pedigree, allows her entrance to the private world of high society.

But is Bruce as honest as appearances portray? Returning to Zara’s hedonistic past, we career into lust & temptation head on in the form of Tyler Montgomery. The devilishly good looking, though arrogant Polo player, causing sexual havoc in his wake. But a when a new younger competitor enters the love arena, has Zara met her match? Brett McNeil with his wild sense of adventure & mischievous streak that so attracts Zara’s eye lingers seductively in the shadows of her fast paced life.

Is fate in control or do we really have a choice? Which player will ultimately win? Or does life have its own game plan?

A BITTERSWEET JOURNEY OF LUST, LOVE & CHOICES.

 

POWER, PASSION OR PRESTIGE. WHICH LOVE IS THE RIGHT LOVE?

book cover

 

A muffled groaning sound came from the far end of the hotel suite. Busy street life outside seeped through into the dimly lit interior. Across the queen sized bed lay two figures forming soft undulating mounds beneath the bed sheets. A shrill siren broke the quietness of the bedroom.

‘Gee, what did I do last night?’ murmured the fragile voice of Zara, the sound causing the body beside her to stir. Leaning back on the feather pillows her brain tried hard to recollect the last twenty four hours. For one awful moment she froze registering that she wasn’t alone. Hesitatingly, she glanced sideways at the slumbering form. Deep and heavy breathing could be heard from beneath the covers. Turning, rather cautiously Zara peeked over the top of the white bed linen.

‘Oh, my god,’ there she was naked and in bed with a complete stranger. No tiny recollection of how they’d met, or what the hell she’d done with him for that matter. What would the girls think of her? It wasn’t worth imagining what Bruce would think if he found out. Zara noticed her strewn clothing on the floor nearby. How to retrieve them was going to be some feat in itself without disturbing her unknown visitor.

The bedtime occupant grunted and turned. Stretching out a limb, he slammed a heavy thigh across Zara’s body. Gritting her teeth and sucking air through them she now laid pinned to the bed. How was she supposed to move now? First disentanglement without waking the stranger and; second allow herself to get suitably clothed before he came round.

Surveying the room, her head throbbed with the effort. A vague recognition flashed through her brain cells of some heavy alcohol consumption the previous night. Zara detected the faint sound of running water from the en-suite.  Her throat was now feeling parched. The joys of a large glass of cold liquid were enticing her to attempt moving pretty quickly.

Looking back over the young male who lay sprawled across her bed, she viewed his athletic body. He lay perfectly still and quiet in the hazy light of the hotel room, chest moving rhythmically, the gentle arch of his back just visible above the covers. He appeared young, mid- twenties maybe. A shadow of morning stubble enhanced his dishevelled appearance. Trying hard to recharge her memory of where they’d met, Zara rubbed her temples gently in the hope this would miraculously help. No, it wasn’t there. What in hell had she drunk last night?

Glancing around the dimly lit room Zara noticed discarded items randomly littering the floor, accompanied by two half-drunk bottles of Champagne. Hawaiian garlands decorated the table lamps either side of the bed.

From the bedside table she picked up a tumbler containing what looked like a cocktail. She sniffed gingerly. The strong smell of mixed spirits confirmed her opinion and a nauseating wave came over her. Once it passed, she noticed there were four tumblers, not just two.

Uneasiness crept over her as the possibility she may have got up close and personal with more than one member of the opposite sex flashed in front of her. No, Gina wouldn’t have allowed her to stoop that low. She had more decorum than that, even if this was possibly her last major weekend of freedom. Gently tried to manoeuvre her body round and slide free from under the comatose individual. The movement started to arouse the stranger once again as the gentle touch of his hand brushed past her shoulder. Turning back to look, she met the glazed eyes of her finally semi-awake neighbour. Bleary eyed, he ran a hand through his dishevelled hair.

‘Urrg, what time is it? That was one great party last night; you girls know how to have a wild time. Thanks for letting me crash. I certainly won’t forget you two in a hurry.’ Zara flushed and gulped.

‘Err!’ Slightly stunned and unable to say much, she felt even more anxious. Blinking hard, she tried to obtain a little distance. By shifting furtively towards the edge of the bed, now that his weight was no longer pinning her down.

The cascading sound of water stopped and shortly after, the en-suite door opened. Swivelling round like an electric bolt had hit her, Zara stared at the emerging figure in the half light, unsure of who to expect. It was Crystal!

‘Hello gorgeous, glad you’re awake.’ Zara looked indignantly at her, trying hard to indicate discreetly her concern without letting the dozy Prince Charming next to her notice what she was doing. Raising her eyebrows and gesturing towards him, she mouthed to Crystal silently.

‘Who is he?’

Crystal giggled coyly as she sat down on the bed, her towel barely covering her vital statistics.

‘This is Christian.’

Zara noticed that Christian suddenly looked rather perkier when he saw Crystal’s body perched rather provocatively at his feet.

‘We had rather a wild night and all of us ended up back here.’

‘All of us! But I was sharing with Gina. You were with Amber and Bella. What happened to them? How many more party goers were there?’

Crystal smiled, ‘Just Christian and Lance. Our group couldn’t take the pace. You, me and Christian carried on till later, hence the pounding headache you’re probably enduring? Lance escorted the others back to their room. Gina must have decided to join them. Not sure what happened to him, but we had a hell of a time back here.’

Zara shot a very worrying look at Crystal. Whispering as quietly as she could she felt the urge to ask the dreaded question?

‘Tell me we didn’t? Tell me I didn’t at least?’ Crystal leant forward her towel revealing more than just a cleavage. Distracting the worse for wear bed fellow from listening too closely, she whispered in Zara’s ear.

‘No honey, you didn’t. Christian had the desire in him and tried his best to seduce you, but the poor sweetie had drunk way too much rum punch. Besides you weren’t having any of it. He didn’t stand a chance.’

Zara fell back against the pillows unsure whether to be relieved or concerned. ‘Oh great, thanks Crystal.’

Christian now had sufficiently woken enough and after viewing the delights of Crystal at such a close up range, he now had experienced a shot of adrenaline to allow him to carry on where apparently they’d left off the night before.

‘Ladies, what do you say, recuperation is always better with the hair of the dog. Fancy joining me for one more bevy?’ He lusted longingly in Crystal’s direction. Christian was now recuperating from the punch a tad too quickly for Zara’s preference.

‘No! You can count me out. Fresh air and a strong shot of New York caffeine is in order now I fear. Don’t let me stop you two,’ replied Zara sharply. Sliding swiftly from beneath the covers she backed out of harm’s way. Grabbing a garment from the floor, she walked as discreetly as she could towards the en-suite door.

‘I’ll just freshen up and be out of your way.’ This parting shot was directed at Christian his face looking a little disappointed at her retreating exit.

 

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author photo

 

Working in the sports therapy field for some fifteen years the opportunity to work in some diverse areas came about and led to the meeting of some very competitive, challenging individuals, who make up the sporting world. Current affairs of the heart of many women today allowed me to see that we all search for the perfect soul partner. Both male and female clients produced this result, from many a conversation and gossip on the bench, (massage work relaxes the body as well as the mind). Clients worldwide found choosing their ideal partner a lottery.

This inspired me to look more closely at how marriage choices are made through the heart or the mind. Having travelled round the world my research led me to be inspired by the excitement of each country visited and how my heroine could become incorporated within these settings combining the sporting calendar and outdoor pursuits of each destination I found exciting and that created a passion within.

 

AUTHOR LINKS

 

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