Grief, Letting Go and A New Novel, of Course.

Putting on a brave front is not the thing to do. I’ve found this out the hard way. Loss is something we all experience. Grief shouldn’t be ignored. However, I just soldiered on, thinking, for some odd reason, that grieving wasn’t for me.

I lost my mum a year ago and a few other things happened around the same time. It taught me that not all people are like me and that others don’t empathise in the same way. I learnt that people are thoughtless at the most difficult times.

I became introspective and withdrew from social media because I felt I was often misunderstood. I found myself over thinking my status updates and suddenly felt inadequate and a failure. I was grieving also but didn’t really realise it.

Then we lost our little Bendy. Yes, he was just a cat but even typing his name has me in floods of tears. My doctor has explained that losing Bendy reawakened the feelings I had buried at not being able to have children. Suddenly my grief was compounded by this sudden loss being felt all over again. Bendy had been the child I could not have and now he was gone. I was devastated. All those thoughts of being alone in my old age resurfaced. Thoughts of no one coming to see me when I needed people the most began to really frighten me. Being childless hit me all over again. So, like I normally do, I tried to put it behind me. ‘These things happen and you have to get on,’ was my motto. It’s so wrong. You must grieve and you must cry. Burying your feelings will only cause them to erupt at a later date. I know because it happened to me.bendywed

On New Year’s Eve my mother in law died and I took this much harder than my husband. I was suddenly overwhelmed. My heart began to race so fast that there wasn’t a single moment in the day when it wasn’t pounding away. I was scared to move. I couldn’t even play in the garden with my two new cats because it would race even more. I was crying at the drop of a hat and felt like life had no meaning.  The smallest thing that normally I would shrug off had me in the depths of despair. I was affected by how people treated me. Facebook updates by others would have me feeling totally useless and I considered giving up writing because it seemed to me that I was an absolute failure at it.

I finally took myself to the doctors for a routine check. He immediately arranged an ECG as my heart was going too fast for his liking. Fortunately it was okay and after a few more tests he diagnosed extreme stress and delayed grief.

I do miss Mum.  I miss her terribly. I missed her when she had dementia. Even though she was never really mentally with us, I could still see her. I can’t do that anymore. Losing both parents has a profound effect on you as I’m sure many people reading this will agree. Losing a pet is no easier, especially when they have been part of your life for 16 years.

So, moving forward, I am looking into bereavement counselling.  I’ve also told myself that as a writer I am okay. I may not be J K Rowling but a lot of people enjoy my books and that’s what it is all about isn’t it?

On February 1st I have a new novel out titled ‘She Saw What he Did’ It’s a fast paced thriller.  Abby Millers’ life changes when she looks through the viewfinder of her camera and witnesses something terrible.

postershesaw

‘Abby Miller thought she had the perfect family; a good looking, loving husband and a beautiful daughter. Her life was complete. The shock discovery that her husband, Jared, had been having an affair rocked her world. So when Jared suggested a short break to the Cannard Islands, to heal their fractured marriage, Abby agreed. An idyllic holiday turns into a nightmare when Abby witnesses something terrible. Suddenly her life and the life of her daughter are in serious danger and no one seems able to help them.

I hope you will read it. You can pre-order today for 99p Here 

Meanwhile my romance ‘When Archie Met Rosie’ is doing well and has wonderful reviews. Thank you to everyone who bought it and reviewed it. Reviews make such a difference. If you want to read a love story with a difference. Then this is the one for you. Go herearchieoriginal

We have two new cats now. They are named Lytton and Schrody. They won’t replace Bendy. He was very special. But I am sure these will become very special in time too.

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Thanks so much for reading.

Much love

Lynda x

 

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Easter, Novels, Stress and Building Work

AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ON 5TH APRIL.

YOU CAN PRE-ORDER TODAY. ONLY 99P/99C

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe how long it has been since I last chatted to you on here. I do mean to post but things have been so hectic with writing that there just hasn’t been the time. I’ve also been contending with building work but more about that later. Not my building work, I hasten to add. I would hire decent builders to do my work. (Note to self. Calm down before blood pressure rises … again.

The exciting news and that most certainly isn’t about the builders but about my new book. It isn’t about me murdering a builder, in case you were wondering. That’s for my next novel. You see, I can’t seem to stop talking about builders. It’s like I’m suffering from builder overload. There must be a medical name for this. BST, I imagine. Builder stress disorder. Anyway enough of this, I digress and that’s no good.

So, my exciting news.

 I have a new book out. It is the third thriller. You may know me for my romantic comedy novels. Then again you may not know me at all,which is fair enough.

I was in the middle of a romance when this thriller came to me and the characters Libby and Ewan just wouldn’t leave my brain so I knew I had to write their story. I’m so pleased I did. I enjoyed writing it so much and I so hope you enjoy it.

I’m giving you a little taste of the novel in with this blog post. I hope you enjoy that.

Here’s the blurb.

Ewan Galbreith is out of prison. Libby Owen is scared. Fifteen years earlier she saw Ewan murder her aunt and uncle with their own shotgun, and now he’s coming for her.’

The novel is currently available for Pre Order at the promotional price of 99p/99c so get yours before the price goes up. The audio book will be out later in the year and the paperback is out on the 20th April. BUT the kindle version is released this coming Thursday 5th April. Hurrah. I can’t wait for you to read it.

There will be a romance out in the summer so keep your eyes peeled for that.

So, it’s been a difficult book to write as the cottage next door ‘has had a few repairs’ Those are the words of my neighbour, not mine. I have a word for those few repairs. it’s Gutting.’ I have a word for the builders too but I won’t use it here.

This whole episode has been very disappointing to me. I had a wonderful neighbour. She was American, highly intelligent. She had a doctorate and could debate any subject. I miss her terribly. They loved their old cottage which was originally an old pub. The cottage still had the old doors with lounge and saloon printed on them. There was beautiful oak panelling in one of the rooms and there is still the old pub sign outside. I live in a very quintessential English village and it’s in a conservation area which means there is a limit to what you can do so as not to ruin the beautiful aesthetics of the village. My neighbour died and left the house to her American relatives. They love it (they say) they love the history (they say) So with this in mind they proceeded to remove the lovely panelling and knock down walls. They neglected the old pub sign and knocked down an outhouse that was an old urinal from way back when. Heaven knows what else they are doing as the builders are now boarding up the windows so no one can see. Meanwhile my little cottage trembles with the thuds and the drilling as they break up floors, knock down walls, install a modern kitchen and plastic windows The builders are often rude when we ask questions. They block off the road outside our cottages, even though no one owns the road, so no one else can park there. They’ve been working on this cottage for six months. I’ve written a whole novel in that time and am halfway through another. How have I written it with the constant drilling and hammering? By putting in earplugs and then headphones on top of those. Madness!! I think perhaps I work better under stress. I remember I wrote Pink Wellies and Flat Caps when we were having our own extension. Which I have to say was much quieter by comparison. Still, on a positive note, let’s hope we get lovely new neighbours when the house is sold.

Phew … end of building work chat. Except to say it has had a detrimental effect on me and I have had to watch my blood pressure which has a tendency to go up. Onto nicer things. I hope you have a fabulous Easter with lots of chocolate. I’m attending Slimming World so no goodies for me. An Easter goodie for you. ‘Remember Me’ is 99p as a special Easter promotion. So two novels for £1.99 which can’t be bad.

REMEMBER ME https://goo.gl/Y6jSJQ

WATCHING YOU  https://goo.gl/JYytX9

HERE’S YOUR SAMPLE

‘WATCHING YOU’

Prologue

1st January 2000, 1 A.M.

 

Her bare feet pounded the gravel, the sharp stones cutting mercilessly into her skin. The wind whipped cruelly at her hair and played with her new chiffon dress until her legs became entangled within it. She pulled herself free from the material without once slowing her pace, her heart drumming in her chest. She could hear the blood pulsating in her ears like a wild war dance. Her scalp tingled. Something had touched her. She fought back a scream. It was a branch, just a tree in the blackness of the night. Keep going. She couldn’t stop. A firework boomed and lit up the night sky. She tripped, scattering the detestable gravel. A small sob escaped her lips before she dragged herself up and continued on. He’d seen her. He’d seen her. That’s all she knew.  Keep running. Don’t look back. An orchestra of colours exploded in the sky and lit up the tall iron gates of Greystone Hall ahead of her. She thought back to the house and nausea rose up in her gut. Soon she would smell the pungent odour of seaweed. Her heart beat a steady rhythm now. She knew the beach wasn’t far away. Excited voices and the sound of drunken laughter broke through her pulsating eardrums. People were partying on the beach. It was the beginning of something new, something exciting, a new start.

‘Happy Millennium,’ someone shouted.

She tripped in her haste to reach them. Her mouth connected with cold sand, it scratched her skin.

‘Help me,’ she choked. ‘Please.’

‘Had too much?’ said a voice.

There was laughter from a small group huddled around a camp fire.

‘Hold on,’ said another. The voice concerned.

She felt someone touch her.

‘Fuck, she’s bleeding.’

‘Call the police,’ yelled another.

There was scuffling and someone wrapped a coat around her. It was warm and comforting.

‘Christ, what happened?’ he said.

‘Someone shot my Aunt and Uncle,’ she moaned, trying to get up. She couldn’t. She was exhausted.

‘I think they’re dead.’

 

Going All The Way With A Bus Driver

bus

So, I’ve got a bus pass. Let’s not go too much into how I got one, okay? I’d rather not go there. Anyway, a free bus I have. It’s been in my purse for months. I live out in the sticks, where buses run hourly (if that) so the thought of standing around waiting for a bus when I could pop into Oxford quite easily in my car seemed a silly choice to make … until. I met my friend Marie in Oxford for a few hours shop and some lunch and the car parking charge was over ten quid. Now, that’s just taking the Michael right? So, when we arranged to have another jolly (as Marie terms it) around Oxford, I thought why not use my bus pass? It’s free after all.

So, Organised I became. And that’s unusual for me. I checked the bus number, G3. It came to my village at a quarter to the hour, every hour. I then checked the times of the returning buses, emailed them to my phone. I prepared a chicken curry in the slow cooker, turned it onto low, after all I would be back by three so it would be safe enough. Armed with everything I needed for my bus trip, I set off to get the 11.45 bus which would get me into Oxford by 12.30 and all free of course. Marie never said a word but I sensed she was uncertain about the whole thing. It was a lovely sunny spring day. Perfect for my first venture on a bus, after all it must have been all of thirty years since I went on a bus. It was lovely. I travelled through several other local villages before heading onto the main road, and then finally towards Oxford Town itself.

‘Let me know when you arrive?’ Marie had texted.

I don’t know why she was so worried. I arrived on time and we had a great shop and several coffees. In fact we had been enjoying it so much that we lost track of time. It was almost four.

oxford

‘Fancy something to eat?’ asked Marie.

My stomach churned at the thought of the chicken curry. It would be okay wouldn’t it? It was on low anyway. But to be on the safe said. I text my stepson who lived nearby to ask if he could pop in and turn it off, after all, better safe than sorry and then off we trotted to Pizza Express. Halfway through my phone bleeped. It was a text from my stepson.

‘Sorry not at home today, won’t be back until after 5.30.’

My stomach flipped over. Oh no. I’d just presumed he’d popped in around four and turned it off. Visions of my cottage on fire now began to haunt me. Oh no, this is a disaster. Even a free pass isn’t worth my house burning down.

We finished up our food and I glanced again at the time on my phone.

‘I’ll be in time for the 5.30 bus,’ I said confidently.

But I won’t be home until well gone six and by then we’ll either have char-grilled chicken curry or a burnt down cottage. I sent Andrew a message saying I should be home before him but to be aware the slow cooker had been on since 9.

‘You worry too much,’ he replied.

‘Where do you get your bus from?’ asked Marie as we hurried along, both of us conscious of my burning cottage.

My brain froze. I had no idea.

‘Presumably outside Debenhams,’ I said.. ‘That’s where I got off.’

‘Probably,’ said Marie, unworried.  ‘My friend used to get that bus and she picked it up around Debenhams.’

We kissed goodbye and she trotted off to her bus stop and me to find mine, except the G3 wasn’t mentioned at the Debenhams bus stop, or at the bus stop further down. I strolled around the corner to the next lot of bus stops. The sun had now gone down and the wind was sharp and cold and I didn’t have a coat. I tried not to panic, after all the G3 had to go back too didn’t it? Finally I found it. G3. I double checked it did go to my village, although I knew G3 was the right one. And then I waited and I waited and I waited. It was getting colder and there seemed to every bus in Oxford but the G3. I checked my phone again. There should have been one at 5.30. Then I saw it, large as life and the most beautiful sight ever, the G3 bus. Except it said it was terminating at Woodstock, which was quite a way from my village. Never the less I jumped on and checked.

‘You want the next one love,’ said the driver. ‘I’m not going the whole way.’

I sighed and clambered off into the cold again. Meanwhile another passenger waiting at the stop asked me about his bus. I simply gave him a blank look. I barely knew which, was my bus, let alone what was his. Plus, I had a lot more on my mind. Like my slow cooker. It seemed my stepson at this point was going to pop in and then he saw my car and presumed I was home. How was he to know I’d taken the stupid bus?

Finally another G3 came along and I jumped on, sighing with relief. Maybe I would be home just in time before the dinner dried up totally. I struggled to relax and focused on the two women chattering away behind me. My ears pricked up when one of them said

‘This is the Enstone bus isn’t it?’

I nearly threw up into my handbag. Enstone, what did she mean Enstone? Enstone is miles from my village. No, she must have it wrong surely. It’s the G3 and it goes to my village via Woodstock. Yes, here we are coming into Woodstock. The bus goes through the village as I hoped and then travels along the road that leads to the turn off for my village. I check the time. It’s now almost six. Andrew will soon be home. Please let him come home to a charred chicken rather than a charred cottage. The turning for my village loomed ahead. I’m ten minutes from home. I may even make it before Andrew. I get my phone out ready to dial 999. Best to be prepared, I always think.slowcook3

But the bus flies pass my turning and continues on into the countryside. Oh no, he is going to Enstone which is miles away. Has he gone insane? I jump from my seat, almost flying into his lap as he brakes sharply.

‘You want this stop?’ he asks.

I stammer out my village and he looks curiously at me.

‘I’m going to Chipping Norton,’ he says.

Oh my God that’s even further away. He may as well have said Dublin.

‘But … I thought …’ I begin.

‘You needed the Charlton G3,’ he said.

How many bloody G3’s are there? Why can’t there one like everyone else has.

‘But …’ I begin, but it’s no good telling him about my charcoal cottage is there

‘You’ll have to go all the way with me now,’ he says, moving off.

I sigh and text Andrew, fighting back my tears.

‘I’m so sorry for burning the house down. I only wanted to save parking fees.’

A quick message back tells me he is home and that home is still there in fact, and that the curry looks great. Meanwhile, I’m travelling through the countryside of Oxfordshire.

bus2

We arrive at Chipping Norton where the driver tells me he has to wait a while before turning back.  We then go all the way back and finally reach the turn off for my village but instead of taking it he stops.

‘This is you,’ he says

‘But aren’t you going to …’

‘You need to cross over, get the next one. It should be five minutes and that will take you to the village.’

Oh for goodness sake.

‘One consolation,’ he says.

Oh really, is there one?

‘You won’t do this again will you?’

He’s quite right of course.   I cross the road, get the oncoming bus and get home at 6.45.

Still it could be argued I got the most out of my free bus pass.

You can buy Lynda’s latest bestselling comedy novel ‘Perfect Weddings’  here

 

You’re Invited to Perfect Weddings

Renham-PerfectWeddings-Invite

Hi everyone,

I thought I would never get over here. Things were manic on my Facebook and Twitter page yesterday because … hurrah it was the launch day for my new novel ‘Perfect Weddings’

I’m so excited about this book as everyone is saying they think it is my best one yet.

Paperback_RGB

I love the cover thanks to Katie Grace Klumpp, who is so talented, you have to agree. Click her name to check out her work.

 

I hope you enjoy ‘Perfect Weddings’ If you like weddings then you are bound to.

Do you remember Amy Perfect who wrote ‘A Christmas Romance?’ Well, my bit of fun was to name the main character in ‘Perfect Weddings’ Amy Perfect too 🙂

A Christmas Romance Design!

 

And by the way, while we are talking about ‘A Christmas Romance’ it is now 99p. It is the first in the Little Perran series and it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy it. So why not treat yourself to both. That’s only £2.98 for two books. What can you buy for that these days? Go here for ‘A Christmas Romance’

So what is ‘Perfect Weddings’ about?

‘Every bride wants a perfect wedding and that includes Georgina Winters. Amy Perfect is the crème de la crème of wedding planners so who best to plan Georgina s wedding… except the man Georgina plans to marry is the same man who jilted Amy three years ago. Will her plan to give Georgina the most imperfect wedding backfire on her? Is this the chance for Amy to win back the love of her life, or will insufferable Ben Garret put a spanner in the works? Arab princes, spoilt brides and wedding catastrophes make Perfect Weddings a page-turning romantic comedy that will keep you guessing until the very last page.’

I do hope you enjoy it. You can get yours here

http://goo.gl/Vp78vS

Much love as always

Lynda

x

Sunday Dinners

Fellow author and friend, Jon Rance, has a new novel out. Such excitement! To celebrate I invited Jon onto the blog for tea and a chat. The novel ‘Sunday Dinners’ was released yesterday and is a fabulous and funny read, as are all of Jon’s books. You can get your copy on Amazon for just 99p! Just go here

‘The Wilde family have always had a roast dinner on Sundays. Greg Wilde made sure of it. Him, his wife, Lizzy, and their three children around the table; for years it was the glue that held them together. But now with the children all grown up and moving out, and Greg and Lizzy’s marriage facing an uncertain future, their lives are becoming increasingly unstuck. Greg soon begins to realise that creating a happy family is one thing, but staying that way is an entirely different story.’

Told from each of the family’s perspectives at their monthly Sunday roast dinners, this is a bitter-sweet comedy about parenthood, marriage, love, life and roast dinners.’

SD-COVER-PB-8 Now without further ado, over to you Jon. Tell us all about it …

Hello. Firstly, a big thank you to Lynda for having me over for a cup of tea, a biscuit, and a nice chat about my new novel SUNDAY DINNERS. It’s wonderful to be here.

So my new book SUNDAY DINNERS is out and I’m excited to be here to talk about it. So what’s it about? You’re probably asking. This is my fourth book and like my others it’s firmly about love. It’s not a rom-com in any sense of the word though, but a book about the love between parents and children, brothers and sisters, and a husband and wife.

The book is told from five different first person perspectives. There’s the father, Greg Wilde, his wife, Lizzy, eldest child, Lucy, middle child, Matt, and youngest, Holly. They live in north London and from the outside look like the perfect middle class family. But as the book unfolds at each of their monthly Sunday roast dinners, we discover that none of the family are happy and all are struggling to cope. Greg and Lizzy’s marriage is hanging by a thread. The golden child, Lucy, is dating someone at work she shouldn’t and is facing failure for the first time in her life. Matt is heartbroken and in a rut, but is trying to move on and gets more than he bargained for. Holly is off to university soon and is facing a crisis of sexual identity. And then there’s Joan, Greg’s mum, who’s having a hard time living life without her dead husband.

The biggest influence on the book was the quote, “Life is a delicate balance of holding on and letting go.” I used this to really inspire the central theme of the book. The book takes place at that moment when all the children are leaving home, the parent’s marriage is failing, and so all the characters are facing a tipping point in their lives. They need to let go and move on and yet they’re still holding onto the past through their Sunday roast dinners.

I think the book is about something very British. It’s about the importance of family getting together and eating roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. During the week we’re all too busy to really sit down and spend time together, but for an hour or two on Sunday afternoon, time stops and we have the best meal of the week together. It’s a ritual that means so much to me and I’m sure to you too. It’s uniquely British and I hope that shines through in the book because it’s something I wanted to really celebrate. It’s almost an extra character!

SUNDAY DINNERS is a comedy drama about parenthood, marriage, love, life and roast dinners and it’s out now for just 99p! If you love funny, heart-warming books about love and life and have a passion for properly cooked roast beef, crispy roast potatoes, and homemade thick gravy, you’ll love this!

 

Cheers,

Jon X

Thanks so much Jon. Good luck with the book. Pop over to Amazon to get your copy. See you all again soon and keep reading.

 

 

 

Fudge Berries and Frogs’ Knickers sample

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I thought I would give you a little taster of ‘Fudge Berries and Frog’s Knickers’ after realising I hadn’t done so.

It was a stressful 2014 and my memory isn’t all it used to be. But here it is. Enjoy.

Chapter One

Don’t you just hate surprises? Maybe you don’t and generally I don’t either but when the surprise is your darling Daddy appearing on the tele surrounded by policemen, trust me it’s the kind of surprise you don’t need. I’m used to seeing my father on the tele. I’m just not used to seeing him wearing handcuffs. Armani yes, but handcuffs no. I stare bleary eyed at the silent television screen.

‘That’s your father isn’t it?’ mumbles Chelsea while trying not to crack her face mask. ‘Are those handcuffs?’

I wipe the cucumber juice from my eyes and blink. Yes that’s Daddy all right. That’s his side parting, and his Gucci tie. That’s my Daddy, my knight in shining Armani. The handcuffs aren’t his of course, at least he wasn’t wearing them the last time I saw him. And they don’t look designer. Daddy wouldn’t be seen dead wearing anything but designer, at least not by choice.

‘Can you turn the sound up Bonita?’ I ask, trying to ignore the churning in my stomach and the pounding of my heart. After all, it isn’t every day you see your father in handcuffs is it? Well maybe you do but I certainly don’t. Even the moaning whales in the background are doing nothing to calm my nerves, whale music that is, not real whales. I know this is an exclusive health club but whale singing while you have your toenails done is pushing it a bit isn’t it?  Bonita turns from my Dior Vernis toenails and presses the remote. The voice of the newsreader reaches me and I feel my blood turn cold.

‘This is a shocking blow for the government. Minister for Family, Sir Rupert Wellesley, is seen leaving Westminster police station a few minutes ago and what a shock to his constituency. Sir Rupert Wellesley charged with fraud …’

Fraud? Never mind the shock to his constituency what about the shock to his bloody daughter?

‘Fudge berries,’ Chelsea squeals.

Chelsea, my best friend, who says fudge berries an awful lot and spends a great deal of time stating the bloody obvious.

I try to stand but the toe separators make it almost impossible. I waddle to the tinsel-decorated TV screen like a penguin. My numbed brain thinks that if I get a closer look I may find the Armani belongs to someone else, but no, that’s Daddy all right.   My phone starts to flash and bleep, and Bonita looks at it fearfully as if it will blow up at any moment. I grab it and silence the ringing.

‘It’s me,’ cries my hysterical mother. ‘Will this affect my allowance?’

Never mind her allowance what about my allowance?

‘I’m not surprised,’ she continues without waiting for me to reply. ‘Minister for family that’s a laugh. When was he ever interested in the family? If he’d spent more time with his family and less time helping those on death road we would still be together.’

‘Death row,’ I correct, feeling like I’m on it myself right now.

‘He wouldn’t change your nappy. Do you remember that?’

Considering I was only three months old I’d be amazed if I could.

‘I remember like it was yesterday. He was too busy saving those on the row,’ she continues. ‘He’s always been big on human rights. What about our human rights I used to say. It comes to something when you can’t change your daughter’s nappy.’

Why we’re talking about nappies at a time like this I have no idea. I’m thirty two years old and I can assure you I don’t wear them now.

‘I had a nanny?’ I say.

‘I said to him once, let them all die.’

‘The nannies?’

‘Death road inmates, of course.’

Bonita switches channels and there’s Daddy, again, again and again. I swear his side parting moves more to the left with each channel change. He’s looking more like Hitler by the minute. His Faberge watch twinkles under the light of the flashing cameras. Three words come from the broadcaster and I feel sure my heart stops.

Bank account frozen.’

Bonita looks as shell shocked as me. I expect she’s afraid I won’t be able to pay her. I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay her. How long does it take a bank account to freeze over? Quicker than hell I imagine. I pop a Lindt chocolate truffle and relax as the flavour explodes in my mouth. Thank God for truffles. They really do make everything easier to bear.

‘I have to go,’ I tell my Mother. ‘I’m at the salon getting everything gelled.’

‘Enjoy it. It may well be your last gelling. Good God Poppy, just think. You may actually have to get a job,’ she says, and I can almost see her satisfied smug.

Is she insane, I’ve never had a job in my life.

‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ I scoff. ‘I’m getting married in six weeks. Roddy has pots of money.’

‘Ha,’ she laughs mirthlessly. ‘He won’t want you now. He only wants your money darling. He may have pots but the way he spends it he’ll be lucky if he has one left to piss in.’

She sighs.

‘We won’t get any sympathy you know that don’t you? I’ll tell you where you’ll find sympathy, right between shit and syphilis in the dictionary. God knows what I’ll do. I’m fifty six for goodness sake.’

‘You’re fifty seven,’ I correct.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Absolutely.’

‘That makes it even worse then. Trust your father to get found out four weeks before the holidays. He’ll be happy to know his ruined my Christmas. I need a large G and T.’

You and me both but I don’t think Bonita serves booze. Mother begins to cry and now it’s my turn to sigh.

‘I have to go. I’m sure it’s all a big mistake,’ I say.

Please God, let it all be a big mistake.

‘Yes, of course,’ scoffs Mummy. ‘People are always mistakenly arrested for fraud aren’t they? You’ll be saying it’s a case of mistaken identity next.’

If only it was. I hang up and watch my phone vibrate across the table as text after text are received.

‘Fudge berries,’ says a stunned Chelsea for the second time. ‘This is mind-blowingly awful isn’t it Truffles?’

Ah yes, I should mention my nickname is Truffles, the chocolate variety that is, not the mushroom, and if you saw the number of them that I eat, chocolate truffles that is, not mushrooms then you’d understand how I got that name. I’m the truffle queen. I know every single truffle in existence and I also know the best truffle to buy. Right now I could do with a truck load of them. I pick up my ringing phone.

‘Poppy Wellesley speaking,’ I say, wishing for the first time in my life that I wasn’t.

‘Martha Clegg here,’ says a clipped voice.

‘Mrs Clegg, I haven’t forgotten our meeting tomorrow for Help the War Victims.’

‘I’m not one to judge Miss Wellesley, as you know.’

Not much.

‘But there are some that do. I’m sure you’ll agree that until this situation is resolved it would be better if you stepped down from the committee.’

‘But …’

‘We wouldn’t want those poor disabled lads to think they were getting illegal money, would we?’

‘The money has been donated it didn’t come from my father,’ I argue.

Oh God, was that admitting my father’s money is illegal?

‘Yes but it would be tainted, wouldn’t it? I’ll announce your decision to the board this afternoon.’

But I haven’t made a decision.

‘Yes but …’

The phone goes dead. She’s cut me off along with Daddy. I fish my American Express from my Hermes handbag. Bonita tries to behave nonchalantly and reaches for it in slow motion, but her fingers are twitching. She pretends to admire my handbag.

‘I would so love a herpes one day,’ she says passionately.

I somehow think she is alone in that one.

‘There’s always someone willing, I’m sure,’ I say wincing.

‘Hermes,’ corrects Chelsea through tight lips. ‘It’s Hermes, not herpes.’

‘Take the usual tip,’ I say. I cross my newly painted fingernails in the hope that the card isn’t declined. I’ve never had a declined card. I’m not sure I’d know what to do. There is a tense moment as Bonita pushes the card into the machine and a small bead of perspiration forms on my forehead. I scratch at my neck nervously and I hear Chelsea utter fudge berries for the umpteenth time.

‘Your skin is erupting,’ she says with a grimace taking two steps back as if I’ve suddenly become radioactive. I throw myself at a mirror and gasp. I’ve got tiny red spots all over my neck. The ghastly rash is rapidly spreading down my arm.

‘I used the same products,’ stammers Bonita, frantically punching buttons on the card machine.

‘It must be the stress. God knows I’m amazed you didn’t have a heart attack. That was quite a shock,’ says Chelsea, stepping further away from me.

Bugger, I’m dining with Roddy’s family this evening I can’t have him seeing me like this. Okay, don’t panic. Just breathe. I take three gasping breaths and give up.

‘I think you’re hyperventilating,’ says Chelsea. ‘You’re looking a bit blue now.’

‘Do you need a brown paper bag,’ offers Bonita.

If this rash gets much worse I may well do. But right now I just need that buggery transaction to go through.

‘It’s travelling up your neck and into your face,’ Chelsea announces. She’s like Alistair Stewart on breaking news.

‘I need antihistamines,’ I say anxiously, feeling sure my tongue is now swelling. Oh God, I’m going to have anaphylactic shock. I’ll elbow Daddy off the telly with news of my own. Socialite daughter of disgraced MP dies after swallowing tongue. I really had hoped for a more glamourous death. I rub ferociously at my arm.

‘Surely that only happens if you have an allergic reaction to something,’ says a wise Chelsea.

‘I’m allergic to being poor,’ I say miserably. ‘I need a chemist.’

I head for the door grabbing my truffles as I go.

‘Card went through,’ says a relieved Bonita.

‘I’m coming,’ says Chelsea, grabbing her fur coat.

I stare at her. She looks like a furry cucumber.

‘You’re still wearing your mask.’

‘Oh cripes,’ she groans and rushes back to Bonita.

I scratch my neck and nervously peer in the mirror again. Oh no. It’s spreading up my neck and little red spots are now sprouting on my chin. I look like a strawberry. Losing my money is turning me into Frankenstein’s daughter. Oh God, this is disastrous. How could Daddy do such a thing? We burst out of the beauty salon and onto the cold streets of Belgravia, swinging our Hermes and Chanel handbags. We pass bustling Christmas shoppers trundling along with their packages. I’d forgotten it was Christmas. The awful realisation that I may be spectacularly poor after being spectacularly rich somehow pushed Christmas onto the back burner. Chelsea peeks at my face and makes a huge effort not to look horrified.

‘Is it spreading?’ I ask.

‘No, not really,’ she lies, pulling up the collar on her fake fur. ‘At least you’re not blue anymore.’

That’s comforting. I feel sure I am getting strange looks. Chelsea phones her driver after deciding it might not be a bad idea to see a doctor, which clearly means it is spreading. I dive into Chelsea’s Rolls and we hurry to Harley Street.

‘It’s a nervous reaction,’ says the doctor.

‘I’ve had a shock,’ I say.

‘A terrible shock,’ echoes Chelsea. Specks of avocado champagne face mask evident on her chin.

Well I have haven’t I? Daddy’s been arrested and my allowance will be frozen along with his bank account. I’m Poppy Wellesley, I can’t possibly be frozen. I’m rich, In fact I am very rich, that is I was very rich. I’ve no idea how not to be rich. I have only rich friends, why would I want anything other than rich friends? I live in a penthouse in Belgravia. We have a country estate in Oxfordshire. We’re the privileged. I am the daughter of Sir Rupert Wellesley, multi-millionaire and MP for Belgravia and now a crook if you believe the news. My fiancé is one of the richest men in the country; at least his family are which amounts to the same thing. I’m to be married in a few weeks. Royals will be attending. It will be the socialite wedding of the year. I do my grocery shop at Harrods. Oh buggery. Please let this be a bad dream.

‘I need it to be gone by six,’ I say.

He looks at the clock on his consulting room wall.

‘Can’t be done,’ he says casually.

‘What?’ I cry. ‘But you have to. I can’t let my fiancé see me like this. What if I pay you double?’

What am I saying? I don’t even know if I have enough to pay him single.

‘She has a Valentino wedding dress,’ says Chelsea.

Is she suggesting I use that as part payment?  We both look at her. You’d never think she went to a Swiss finishing school would you?

‘What’s my wedding dress got to do with it?’ I ask.

‘Just saying,’ she mumbles.

‘I’m afraid even a Valentino dress cannot work miracles,’ says the heartless doctor.

‘Can’t you give me an injection or something?’

‘Yes, of course, what kind of injection would you like?’

This is ridiculous.

‘This is Harley Street,’ I huff. ‘Give me an injection that will shift the rash by six.’

‘Unfortunately even Harley Street can’t turn water into wine.’

‘She doesn’t want you to perform miracles, we just want some cream to get rid of it by six,’ grumbles Chelsea.

‘That would be a miracle,’ he says.

‘I’m seeing my fiancé.’

The doctor shakes his head.

‘I’m sorry. I can only suggest you calm down. Try meditation and deep breathing.’

Meditation? Deep breathing? Is the man off his trolley? I haven’t got time for josh sticks and chanting. I’m barely shallow breathing at the moment, forget the deep breathing.

‘Let’s get a second opinion,’ says Chelsea, flinging her faux fur around her shoulders, scattering speculums and specimen bottles in her wake. We sweep out of the consulting room in disgust and visit three more doctors who also tell me there is nothing they can do in time for my dinner with Roddy. I leave the last doctor doped up on Valium, me that is, not the doctor.

‘If you’re calm then it’s bound to disappear,’ says Chelsea comfortingly.

I nod in agreement. I’m already feeling calmer by virtue of the Valium. Then my phone rings and the familiar ringtone sends a chill through my bones. It’s Jeremy, Daddy’s financial adviser.

‘We’re up the creek without a paddle I’m afraid. Are you free for a spot of lunch?’ he asks.

‘Ooh,’ I mumble in my drug induced stupor.

‘I’ve booked a table at The Ivy.’

Can I afford The Ivy?

‘Can you be there for two? That gives you an hour.’

‘I’m meeting Roddy at six,’ I say.

‘Ah yes, Roddy.’

What does that mean?

‘It won’t take long,’ he says.

That’s not a good sign.  I pop another Valium and tell myself things can only get better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

‘Is he guilty?’ Shout the paparazzi.

I don my Alain Mikli sunglasses, pull up the collar of my coat to hide my neck, and wait for my driver, Eddie, to open the door for me.

‘I’ll be back in an hour,’ Eddie says in his Essex accent.

‘I’ll phone if I need you earlier.’

My stomach churns as I climb from the Bentley. There are flashes all around me and security staff from The Ivy rush forward to shelter me from the cameras.

‘Have you seen your father? Did you know he was on the fiddle?’ shouts a photographer, flashing at me for all he’s worth, with his camera obviously, although if he had flashed anything else I doubt I’d have noticed. I’m so doped up. I trip entering the restaurant and picture tomorrow’s headlines: Socialite daughter of disgraced MP arrives stoned at celeb’s favourite restaurant.

I allow the maître d’hôtel to take my coat and then check my reflection in the mirror. God, I look stoned too. The rash, thank heavens, has stopped at my chin and I’d managed to cover it with Touche Éclat. My newly highlighted blonde hair is shiny and I’m wearing it loose to cover my neck. My blue eyes are sparkling, if just a little vacant, and I’d applied the minimum amount of make-up as I didn’t want to aggravate the rash. I look rather good for someone who’s been frozen. Jeremy jumps from his seat knocking over a glass in his nervousness. He pecks me on the cheek and sits back down.

‘Frightful business,’ he mumbles.

A waiter rushes forward and pulls out a chair for me.

‘Good afternoon Miss Wellesley,’ he says with a smile. ‘How are you today?’

As poor as a church mouse it seems.

‘I’m fine thank you,’ I lie.

‘I’ve ordered your favourite. I hope that’s okay,’ says Jeremy, fiddling with his cutlery.

I struggle to recall my favourite.

‘Roasted Devonshire Chicken,’ he reminds me and gestures to the waiter.

‘A bottle of Quincy, Sauvignon Blanc,’ he orders.

‘Just water for me,’ I say, feeling certain my head will flop onto the table any second. If I have the wine on top of the Valium there is a good chance the whole of me will flop to the floor in a heap.  Jeremy peers at my neck and frowns.

‘What’s going on there,’ he says pointing.

I push his hand down.

‘Don’t point,’ I hiss. ‘I’ve erupted. I think it’s the stress.’

‘Nasty business,’ he says, studying my neck.

‘I know. It’s spreading everywhere.’

‘I was talking about your father.’

Oh yes, that’s a nasty business too. I nod miserably.

‘Up the creek without a paddle,’ he repeats.

‘Yes quite,’ I say, taking a gulp from his wine glass.

‘Up the creek without a paddle and facing a pack of sharks,’ he continues.

Never mind the paddle, what about my money?

The waiter places the chicken in front of us and I feel myself gag.

‘Frightful business indeed,’ Jeremy repeats. ‘They’ve frozen the bank accounts I’m afraid. I’m not going to sugar coat it Poppy. There’s no money. I won’t be making any transfers to your account for the foreseeable future.’

He knows how to break the news gently does Jeremy. I swallow and scratch my thigh. God, don’t tell me the rash has gone to my legs. I throw back the rest of his wine and glance at the chicken.

‘Don’t worry, it’s on your father’s account, the last of the expenses. Think of it as your last supper so to speak,’ he laughs.

I’m glad someone’s laughing.

‘You’ll have to make some cut backs,’ he says, slicing through his broccoli.

‘Cut backs?’ I repeat dumbly.

He leans towards me across the table.

‘Sir Rupert’s pleading not guilty. It could drag on for months.’

I stare at him.

‘Of course,’ I say, ‘It’s clearly a mistake.’

The waiter tops up his glass and I take another gulp.

‘Of course,’ he agrees.

I push the chicken around my plate. We are silent for a time and all that can be heard is the chatter of other diners and the irritating sound of Christmas music playing in the background.

‘What am I going to do?’ I say finally. ‘I’ve got to pay my driver and there are the staff salaries…’

He holds his hand up.

‘I don’t know Poppy. I only know that there’ll be nothing going into your account. Your American Express will be stopped. As for the apartment, well …’

He gestures to the wine waiter to top up his glass.

‘Are you sure you don’t want one?’ he asks.

I shake my head.

‘I’m taking Valium,’ I mumble.

‘I thought you looked a bit out of it.’

He points at my chicken.

‘Aren’t you going to eat that?’

I shake my head and push the plate towards him.

‘The flat belongs to your father. He has it down as a second home, on expenses. You will have to get out as soon as you can Poppy.’

I fight back the urge to cry. He looks at me uncomfortably and takes my hand.

‘They’re some shares I can trade. That should tide you over for a bit and maybe …’ he hesitates.  ‘Maybe you can sell some things?’

I stare at him appalled.

‘You expect me to go to a pawn shop?’ I say.

‘Of course not, obviously I’ll get someone to go for you.’

Obviously. I’m not handing over my jewels to just anyone if that’s what he’s thinking. I wouldn’t even trust them with my Mother. Anyway, many of them were given to me by Roddy. Remembering Roddy and I feel calmer. I pick at a piece of bread.

‘I’m getting married in a few weeks, so everything will be okay. Daddy’s already paid for the dress and…’

‘What does Roddy say about all this?’ he asks, beckoning for the dessert menu. God, he can certainly eat. It’s good to know that my calamity hasn’t affected his appetite.

‘I haven’t spoken to him,’ I say. ‘But I know he’ll be supportive.’

He nods and I look down at my sapphire and diamond engagement ring and feel a warmth of security.

‘Nice piece you did for that glossy,’ says Jeremy.

I smile. Roddy and I have been together for nine months. We are the socialite couple. Only last month we did a special spread for Hello Magazine on our forthcoming wedding. I’ve known Roddy since I was a child; I always knew I’d marry him. We have the same circle of friends and share the same interests. Fortunately for me Roddy has pots of money so he won’t care if I don’t have any for a while. After all, I can’t be poor forever. Let’s face it I don’t know how to be poor. I fiddle with my napkin and ask the inevitable question.

‘Did he do it?’

Jeremy orders a caramel chocolate pot and raises his eyebrows.

‘Don’t you want dessert?’ he asks.

I shake my head. I can’t eat a thing, I really can’t.

‘Truffles?’ he asks.

‘No, I couldn’t.’

‘Blimey you are taking it badly. Well, the claims are outrageous, clearly ridiculous. That’s the line we’re taking and if you’re asked that’s all you need to say,’ he grabs his wine glass before I can reach it.

I debate whether to take another Valium and decide my veins have enough drugs and alcohol pumping through them. This is the rich life all right, drugs booze and fraud, not forgetting Hello Magazine. Hells bells, I hope they still cover the wedding. I’d really look the poor relation if I don’t have my wedding photos in Hello Magazine.

‘Your father is at his Oxfordshire estate, but I wouldn’t recommend going there. The press are having a heyday.’

‘He’s not in prison?’ I say relieved.

Jeremy looks at me and laughs.

‘Good Lord no. Sir Rupert in prison, don’t be silly. He’s on remand. Do you want a coffee? You look like you need one.’

I shake my head.

‘I need to go home. I’m seeing Roddy at six.’

I go to stand up and a waiter rushes to pull my chair back.

‘Right,’ says Jeremy.’  ‘Lovely lunch, ghastly subject but good to see you and I’m sure all will be fine. You’ll keep your glad rags and all that.’

He forces a laugh which doesn’t fill me with any confidence. The maître d’hôtel checks the front of the restaurant and beckons to the doorman.

‘Good day Miss Wellesley. We look forward to seeing you again soon.’

I glance back into the Ivy. An awful premonition that I will not step over the threshold again washes over me. How stupid is that? I’m marrying Roddy aren’t I? Everything will be all right.

To read more, purchase your copy now for £1.99 here

Scones and Sherry with Natalie Love (and Anouska)

 

Today I’m welcoming the lovely Natalie Love to my blog. You will know of her, of course. Natalie runs the fabulous Raven Street Theatre in Soho.

I love this place and have seen some really cool plays there.  My favourite has been the comedy musicals.  And I’m thrilled, in fact I’m that excited I could pee my pants. Of course I didn’t. That may have put Natalie off me forever. I’m delighted because Natalie Love has expressed an interest in staging ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ at The Raven Street Theater, how cool is that?

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Natalie has just arrived. Ooh, my excitement overflows. Although I am rather worried that the title may offend her. Ooh it looks like she has brought a friend or associate. This bodes well.

Lynda: Hello Natalie, what an absolute thrill to have you here and your friend also, of course.

Natalie: Hello Lynda, its lovely to meet you (lowering voice) I’m sorry, this is very unprofessional but I had to bring my Gran, Anouska, with me… She’s a big fan of The Dog’s Bollocks and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Anouska: Lynda. My darlink!

Lynda: Welcome Anouska.

Natalie: I promise she’ll be no trouble…

Lynda: Of course, come in, the more the merrier. What can I offer you to drink? I’ve herbal teas, coffee, fruit juice and I’ve made some scones, which we can have with jam and clotted cream. I hope you’re not watching your weight? I’m always on a diet. I have to say I wish I looked as glamorous as you two.

Anouska: Lynda, men like somethink to hold on to! I share the same diet philosophy as Miss Piggy: never eat more than you can lift. I vill take a scone piled high vith jam, and have you any sherry?

Natalie: I think tea, for me…

Lynda: *Thinks frantically* Oh dear, what did we do with that sherry from Christmas?

Lynda: Coming right up! So Natalie, what do you have in mind for The Dog’s Bollocks?

Natalie: We’d love to produce it as a musical, for our autumn season so that…

Anouska: (interrupting) Lynda darlink, vill you sign my copy of The Doggies Bollocks, before we get too drunk…

Lynda: Certainly. I have to say Anouska , I love your Jewellery. Where did you get it?

Anouska: Ah, this vas the jewellery my mother vore when she escaped the Nazis…

Lynda: Oh dear, that must have been a harrowing experience.

Natalie: She says they escaped. They actually got a lift with an SS Officer on his way to the shops to buy bratwurst.

Anouska: Say vat you like about the Nazis, but they knew how to dress…

Natalie: Look, Gran, I need to talk to Lynda about her book. Why don’t you…

Lynda: You could go and look at my garden Anouska?

Anouska: Ah yes, that vould be nice. I vill take my sherry… can I take the bottle too?

Lynda: Yes, of course… careful on those heels Anouska…

Natalie: Thank goodness she’s gone. Sorry again, Lynda.

Lynda: That’s okay. Tell us Natalie, how are things at The Raven Street Theatre? I’m excited you want to feature ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ You must meet some interesting people?

Natalie: Yes, and we’re getting a lot of press interest in our plays. I think we might be able to get some big names for The Dog’s Bollocks: The Musical. Now for the lead character of Harriet, there’s a chance we could get Lindsay Lohan? We have to just check if she’s still tagged and on house arrest… and if she can sing…

Lynda: She would need to time a comic line too… Harriet is a very funny character.

Natalie: Yes, she is. Okay maybe not Lohan. We could go the more traditional route, someone British with good acting chops. We’d love you to write the script… Can you write music? I see there’s a piano in the corner of the room!

Anouska: (comes back inside) Bloody vooman!

Natalie: What is it Gran?

Anouska: Your vindow cleaner is very rude, he said I vas too old for him!

Natalie: what are you doing with the window cleaner?

Anouska: Nothing – yet. But I am single and, how do you say, free to mingle. There is nothing wrong with dating a vindow cleaner.

Lynda: That’s not the vindow, I mean window cleaner, that’s my husband!

Anouska:  Ah. My darlink Lynda, you hev a nice husband if he cleans the vindows for you… I may hev tried to climb his ladder and kiss him… If I knew he vas your husband I vould never have done that… Although must say he is very handsome, and he has a very nice chamois leather…

Natalie: I’m so sorry… Look Lynda, maybe you could come up to London? I could take you to a lovely restaurant and we could talk more about The Dog’s Bollocks: The Musical?

Lynda: Yes, of course…

To experience more of Natalie’s world and of course Anouska’s, pop to Amazon to purchase a copy of Robert Bryndza’a brilliant new novel ‘Miss Wrong and Mr Right’ here at Amazon.co.uk and at Amazon.com And even better you’re in time to enter the ‘Miss Wrong and Mr Right’ giveaway here

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Miss Wrong and Mr Right

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Natalie Love has worked hard to have it all: she runs a successful theatre in Soho that’s about to host one of Hollywood’s leading stars. Her biggest supporter is her eccentric Hungarian Gran, and she even has the ‘perfect’ yoga teacher boyfriend – Namaste!

Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie’s escape from her chaotic country family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar 15 years ago. And then he turns up at her theatre door…

With rivalry clouding old feelings, events in Soho bring Jamie and Natalie together in hilarious ways. Gran is loose in the city once more, it seems to be raining sandwiches and records are broken for Burlesque flash mobs. If she can keep her world together, will Natalie discover who is really Mr Right, and that perhaps she isn’t Miss Wrong?

A delightful new romantic comedy, from the author of the best-selling Coco Pinchard series.

You can make contact with Robert by following any of the links below

www.robertbryndza.comhttps://

www.facebook.com/bryndzarobert

Goodreads