My next book is currently being edited so I thought I’d share the opening paragraphs with you. As you can see it’s quite romantic. Don’t worry, it won’t last. Usual caveat about typos etc. I hope you enjoy it…
I never used to believe in love at first sight.
Then I met Leeward. Well, not met, more glimpsed across a crowded, noisy bar on a Friday night when I was my friend’s plus one at her after work end-of-financial-year celebration booze up.
And it was only a glimpse, yet though our eyes met for only the briefest of moments we just connected. It was as though a thousand words had been exchanged between us. He had dark eyes, deep eyes and I don’t just mean deep set, although they were, I mean I felt I was seeing into his soul. A tortured soul. Don’t ask me how I knew that, I just did.
Then he was gone, pulled away by an unseen force and I was back listening to my friend’s inane, drunken rambling about auditors and virements and other nonsensical stuff. I did actually know what a virement was, because she’d told me three times in the taxi on the way to the bar and about twenty times since we’d been here – the transfer of a surplus from one account to cover a deficit in another.
I looked around me and saw everyone having a good time, there was plenty of drink sloshing around, anything you wanted from the free bar; I dread to think how much money her company had spent on this evening – I wondered what the auditors would think of it. Not that I was availing myself of it, I had an early start the next day, one which hadn’t been on the rota when I’d accepted this invitation. I thought I was the only person in the entire place, other than the staff, who wasn’t completely off my face.
‘Hey,’ a voice said from behind me.
I turned, and there he was. Leeward. Not, of course, that I knew his name at that point.
‘Hi.’ I offered a shy smile. It was genuine too; I was just so knocked out by his presence.
‘I feel as though we’ve already met.’ He didn’t smile. His face was serious, intense.
‘Across the bar.’ He nodded over to where he had been when our eyes first met.
‘Would you like a drink?’
‘Um, yeah, but not alcohol.’ I didn’t say I was on an early shift in the morning, in my head it sounded sort of lame.
‘No. I’d love a coke or something soft, though.’ I didn’t want him to think I was turning down his offer, even though we both knew the drinks were free.
‘Cool. I’m having a coffee.’
‘They do coffee? I didn’t know that otherwise…’ My voice trailed away, because he was smiling and it took my breath away. It wasn’t a full on, teeth bared smile, just a little upturn to the corners of his lips, slightly crooked and it had the most profound effect on me. I felt my knees start to buckle and I pulled myself upright. What was wrong with me? I wasn’t even drunk.
‘Would you like a coffee instead?’
‘I would. Oh yes, I would.’
‘Yes, please, err…’
‘I’m Leeward.’ He held out his hand. I was afraid to take it, afraid to touch him. What the hell did I think would happen? Sparks, fireworks, explosions, that’s what. ‘And you’re Lauren.’
‘Yeah. How did you…?’ Over his shoulder I saw my friend grinning, holding up her thumbs, nodding in that stupid way drunk people do, especially in front of the stone cold sober. ‘You asked my friend,’ I said, answering my own question.
‘I did. You sit there.’ He nodded at an empty table for two. ‘I won’t be long.’
I flopped into the seat and watched him as he made his way to the bar. I don’t know why I was so attracted to him; he wasn’t my type at all. I went for tall, fair-haired men, I liked them on the lean side, not quite male model heroin chic, but getting that way. I was twenty-five and my two serious ex-boyfriends had been exactly my type. And neither had worked out well. I was only three weeks out of my latest relationship which had lasted seventeen months. I thought we had a future, it seems he didn’t and he dumped me, rather unceremoniously at my brother Sam’s engagement party. I was still smarting from the rejection and definitely not looking for another relationship.
Leeward was short, not tiny, just not much taller than me, and he was stocky, not fat, but definitely not lean. He had dark hair, cut short, but long enough for me to see a few licks of curl around his collar. Definitely not my type, but I still found him attractive.
I think it was his eyes, deep, dark pools of unfathomable something – I didn’t know what.
‘I gather you don’t work with this lot,’ he said, putting our coffees on the table and sitting opposite me. I was staring straight into those eyes. I read pain and sorrow and a troubled soul but not a loser, not someone who needed fixing.
The complete book will be available in October, in both paperback and ebook.