Firstly, my planned website and domain update will be coming this week, so this website might be down for some people for a short period of time. I'm not going anywhere, though!
Secondly, I want to share a small part of my new book. It's unedited, but I'm really close to finishing!
When I wrote Taking Chances, I took Lauren's issues seriously. I felt her pain as she struggled to control her drinking problem. My heart went out to her as she had to wake up to what she was doing to herself and the people she loved. It was hard and it was heavy. I didn't realise quite how much until a friend of mine told me it was different. I asked how different. She said that she was used to 'light and fluffy' from me, and that this was a lot darker than my previous books.
She was right. It is a serious issue, and I hope I handled it appropriately. I didn't want it to be an issue which was instantly fixed by falling in love, because that's not how real life works. Lauren needed to work out what was important to her and to work on her problems.
This new thing I'm working on was supposed to be a lighter piece, and it is for the most part. There is heartbreak, joy and love with a slightly dark twist. So, here's the first excerpt I want to share with you. :)
There is literally nothing quite like finding out you’ve wasted your whole life on someone who doesn’t love you back. Standing in the middle of the living room, I felt searing pain roll down my face as the tension built inside, my body aching at the realisation that my unrequited love would always be just that.
I’d been on love with Andrew my whole life, and now I stood in front of him and in front of Charlie. She was our other best friend and partner in crime. My mother called us the Three Musketeers.
Where three once stood, there now were two, and I went from being a musketeer to feeling like a third wheel.
Andrew looked at me, rolling his eyes, as if he didn’t care. Charlie was the one who dripped of guilt, her mouth downturned in such a sad expression that if it wasn’t for what had just happened, I would have hugged her tight and told her everything would be all right.
Except it wasn’t.
My life was so regimented, I was a creature of habit who thrived on routine, and my best friends knew it. But this day, this one day, I’d come home earlier than usual, just in time to catch them emerging from Charlie’s room. They were arm in arm and smiling at each other with that intimate look that lovers share. Any earlier and I might have even heard them in the act. My heart ached at the thought of that.
Not that Andrew had ever made a commitment to me, or even told me he loved me. Not in that way. I just always thought we would end up together. He was the first in my life for everything, except for the one thing he now apparently shared with Charlie. They were lovers.
“Rowan, it’s not what it looks like,” Charlie said. I could see the strain on her face as she struggled to hold back the tears. Of all the people in my life, she was the one who knew just how much this would hurt me.
“Of course it is,” Andrew snapped. “I told you we should have told her instead of sneaking around, just in case we hurt her feelings. Now look.”
I just stared at him. Talking about me as if I wasn’t there. He had been my best friend from birth, and he didn’t even have the decency to talk directly to me.
“I’m sorry, Rowan. I knew you wouldn’t like this, so I did ask Andrew to keep it a secret. We never meant to hurt you. I swear. We love you.”
I just shook my head. “No.”
I sat on the couch, flicking on the television as if they weren’t there. They sat either side of me, talking to me as if I was a child. I shut them out, disappearing into my own little world, the world inside my head where no-one can hurt me. There was just noise outside that space, white noise that I couldn't completely get rid of. It was like that sound where the radio is just off the station, the sound of static. When it built to the point that I could no longer ignore it, I stood.
Walking past them, I went into my room and slammed the door. Screw them both.
Taking Chances is shaping up quite nicely. Lauren is an absolute joy to write and I think I've nailed the reason why she can be so cynical at times.
Ethan is a real sweetheart, and Lauren is about to turn him inside out I think!
The cover reveal is booked for the 28th of January, and I can't wait for people to see it. It's beautiful and made by Sarah from Sprinkles On Top who did the cover for Another Chance and also the revamped cover for The Sultan's Bride. She also made the cover for The Accidental Sultan when I finally get to it. :)
Taking Chances is a bit darker with the issues that Lauren has to face, but as with Another Chance the emphasis will be on the love story that develops later in the book. The more I wrote Lauren, the more I wanted to know about her, and her issues that were touched on in Another Chance will be at the forefront in Taking Chances.
I thought I'd share a piece that I've written. It still needs a lot of work so it's really early but...
“How’s the work going on the store renovations?” Lauren asked Mark. He had been on the same job for a few weeks now.
“Great. She’s great.”
Lauren looked puzzled. “Who’s great?”
“Cassie. She’s perfect, Lauren. I think I’m in love.”
“Who’s Cassie? Mark, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
He laughed. “I thought I told you. The store manager is amazing. She’s beautiful, smart and I think she likes me too.”
Lauren shook her head. “Trust you to have a thing for the person you’re working for.”
“She could tell me to do anything and I’d do it. The best thing is that she needs some work done around her house, and she asked me to help out and give her a quote. It’s my chance to get to know her better.”
“Mark, we’ve talked about you getting involved with clients. It’s always a bad idea.”
“I know. It’s just that there’s something about this one. She’s got balls, Lauren, and I don’t know anything about her but something about her just does it for me. Big time.”
Lauren laughed. “Good for you. I just don’t want to hear about some big heartbreaking story, or go through the drama that was you and Jessica.”
Mark pulled a face. “I don’t think Cassie would be like that. She’s professional at work most of the time, though she does have an amazing sense of humour.”
“Well, whatever happens at least you’re getting some work out of it.”
She watched as he left the room on his way to the shower. Mark hadn’t had a smile on his face that big in so long. Cassie had better be worth the effort he seemed to be going to.
Lauren looked around the room. The old house needed renovations of its own, but Mark was always delaying things until they were so far gone they had to be replaced.
“Wonder if I can get Cassie to ask you to do up this place,” she muttered.
I'm finishing up my Christmas story, but in the meantime here's a little something I wrote. If you've read Another Chance, you'll recognise the scene...
This is unedited and subject to editing but here is part of Lauren's story that I'm working on over Christmas.
The following morning, she saw just how happy Mark was. She made him a coffee, black with no sugar deliberately as she knew that bugged him. Knowing Cassie had recently left, she entered his room with it, to find him lying in bed with that shit eating grin on his face. “Thought you might be needing this,” she said,
“Thanks,” he replied, “I don’t feel too bad all things considered.”
Lauren laughed. “If that’s what screwing someone much younger does to a hangover, I’ll have to keep an eye out for one for me.”
He grinned. “She’s gorgeous, isn’t she? Just perfect.”
“She’s a lovely girl, Mark. Is this going to be one of your fly by night stopovers or are you actually going to stick with this one for a while?”
He took a sip of coffee and pulled a face. “If she’ll have me.”
Lauren sat on the end of the bed. “I don’t believe it. The eternal bachelor Mark Burrows bowled over by a single mum. Are you sure this is a good idea? What if it blows up in your face, and you hurt her and the kid.”
“The kid is pretty amazing too. Hell Lauren, I know I’m not perfect, but I would like to give this a go. Cassie deserves a man who will love her and take care of her and I’m pretty sure that’s something I can do.”
“She’ll need more than pretty sure.”
“Fine. Very sure. I’ve never wanted anything so much my whole life.”
“You’re serious, aren’t you?”
“Lauren, I’ve never felt this way about anyone. Not even when I was in that screwed up relationship with Jess all that time. Cassie makes me feel new, she has this energy for life that’s just so infectious. Working at her place, it just felt like I fit in. She’s normal, Lauren. No crazy drunken bullshit.”
“I never thought you’d be interested in something other than what you always had.”
“When I’m with her, I can see the future. Like everything I ever needed is in her. I probably just sound crazy.” He laughed, his eyes twinkling with excitement.
“You sound like a man in love, big brother.”
“Maybe I am. She’s just awesome, Lauren. Really sweet, and we got off to a bit of a weird start, but I think we’re on track now.”
Lauren closed her eyes. As Cassie left, Lauren had put her foot in it, mentioning Mark’s habit of loving and leaving them. She opted not to tell him that.
“That’s great Mark. I didn’t really get to talk much with her, but she looked nice.”
“Nice doesn’t cover it. Last night was incredible.”
“Too much information.”
He grinned. “I don’t care. I want the world to know I’m crazy about Cassie Warren, and I think she really likes me too.”
“Then I’m happy for you Mark, and I hope everything works out for you.”
“You don’t think it will?”
“Your track record isn’t that great. If you want to turn things around though, I believe in you big brother.”
“Thanks, Lauren, that means a lot.”
For the rest of the day he paced the house, annoying Lauren as she continued to clean up after the party.
“You could help me, you know.”
“Sorry. I’m just trying to stop myself going to see her.”
“Well, go and bloody see her then.”
“I don’t want to crowd her.”
He met Lauren’s eye, and she saw the frustration on his face. “Mark, if she feels the same way, go and bug the shit out of her. She’ll love it. You don’t want her thinking you’re ignoring her.”
Mark pulled a face. “I didn’t think of that. Is that what she’ll think?”
“I don’t know. Either way you are wound so tight, I think you’d explode if I poked you.”
To demonstrate, she poked him with her index finger. “Ouch,” he said, rubbing the side she had touched.
Lauren laughed. “Oh for crying out loud Mark. Go and see the poor girl, put yourself out of your misery. Buy her flowers.”
“Will there be a florist open at this time of day?”
She rolled her eyes. “I don’t know. If you can’t find one, go to the supermarket. Might be a bit crap, but it’s the thought that counts.”
Mark’s face finally cracked into a smile.
“That’s better. Go get her.”
“I expect a full report when I get back too. Leave nothing out.”
He grinned. “I thought you said it was too much information this morning?”
“Not that kind of report. Dick.”
Ariadne Wayne is the pen name of an overworked, often exhausted mother of two who frequently turns to the internet for relaxation. It doesn't always work...