Martinis & Memories by A. L. Michael blogtour author guest post

 

martini

Martinis & Memories written by A. L. Michael, publisher Canelo, is available NOW in ebook format.

Canelo books can be found on Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Google Books – some books will be limited to UK publication places only.

To buy link (amazon UK):  https://amzn.to/2MHaGRd

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Bel Hailstone has spent the past decade building her dream – Soho’s best burlesque club – from the ground up. But now The Martini Club is under threat and it will take everything in Bel’s power to resist encroaching developers and save her pride and joy.

Amidst the chaos Bel’s past comes knocking with the unexpected arrivals of her still-not-quite-ex-husband, her estranged mother and Brodie Porter – the boy who got away all those years ago.

To keep her beloved club afloat – not to mention her sanity – Bel will have to accept help for the first time in a long time, put the past to rest and claim the happy ever after she once thought was lost for good.

If you loved Martinis and Memories, why not read the first two stories in The Martini Club series? Cocktails and Dreams & Prosecco and Promises are both available now!

The Martini Club
Cocktails and Dreams
Prosecco and Promises
Martinis and Memories

Martinis and Memories Blog Tour (Final)

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting book 3 in The Martini Club series by A. L. Michael.  Today, I have a great post from the author to share with you:

Searching for fathers in The Martini Club

The title is misleading – we’re not looking for parents in a London burlesque club (although as Bel will tell you, all are welcome) but in thinking about what ties my books together, there’s a focus on parental relationships.
Mothers and daughters are complicated, sure, but in these books the fathers each have a role to play too.

In Cocktails and Dreams, Savvy’s dad was a glorious surprise, someone she had never known and who saught her out in her teen years after he found out she existed. Their relationship over the next ten years was about becoming close and finding a bond that was solely theirs, having survived life with her tempestuous (but brilliant) mother. They were a team, and Savvy’s dad is a sweet, kind man who’d do anything for the daughter he’s so grateful to have.

Mia’s relationship with her father is different – a proud man, it pains him to let his daughter witness as he finally loses out to cancer. He’s had a good life, fought for a long time, and even bagged a beautiful young wife in the process, but it’s the fact that his daughter put her life on hold due to his sickness that torments him.
So he sends her away at the end, desperate to remain strong and alive in her memories.
For Mia, it’s a hard thing to love and hate someone at the same time, fearful of losing them, angry at being sent away, scared to be alone. Her father raised her after her mother died, and apart from a young stepmother who drives her crazy, she’s always trusted in his decisions. She honours his choice to send her away and not return until after he’s died, but it’s incredibly difficult and she’s hard to be around. Mia secretly thinks she’s unloveable, and without her father to convince her otherwise, she fears she’ll always be lost and alone.

Bel’s story is different again – she doesn’t have a father. Her mother never mentioned him, and refused to answer any questions. To her, it’s clear the man never wanted her, or was never told. Or perhaps, he was just a bad guy. Her mother is a nightmare, and she couldn’t imagine anyone putting up with that, even for a daughter.
Instead, Bel creates an imaginary father when she’s a kid. She imagines a Johnny Cash character with a guitar coming to take her away to a better life. When she finds Sam, it’s like he’s the father figure she’s always dreamt of, and he helps her get out of the job, relationship and situation that has dragged her down for the last couple of years, and helps her believe in herself enough to chase her dream – a burlesque club. Sam has always been there, supportive and caring, one of the few people she feels she can be herself with. It’s just that when Bel’s mum turns up and meets Sam, she thinks he’s pretty perfect too.

The Martini Club series is about figuring out who you are and what you want to do, especially for women at the end of their twenties or beginning their thirties. You look at what society wants from you and how everyone else defines success and you try to figure out what will make you happy. In each book, looking back to their families, giving people a second chance and allowing for a little vulnerability sets these women on the path they need.

Thank you so much for joining me on my blog today, I look forward to reading Martinis & Memories.

To learn more about the author A. L. Michael please visit the following pages:

Website:  https://almichael.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/ALMichael_

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/A.L.Michael.writer/

 

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*Price Drop Promo* One Endless Summer by Laurie Ellingham

 

One Endless Summer FINAL_v2

One Endless Summer written by Laurie Ellingham, publisher HQ, is available in ebook, paperback and audiobook format.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2NG7C82

Product Details (as per amazon page)

How long can you keep a secret?
Three best friends are embarking on an all-expenses paid trip of their dreams. The only catch? Every moment will be documented on film.
Lizzie is finally ready to embrace adventure for the very first time. It’s their last three months together, but it is Lizzie’s time to finally start living!
Jaddi is known for her stunning looks, flirtatious attitude and many conquests. But Jaddi has a secret and on this last trip together she needs to decide whether her best friends will ever know the real her.
Samantha has always been the ‘grown up’ of the group, the one with a five year plan. What Lizzie and Jaddi don’t know is that Sam is trapped, and her perfect life isn’t quite what it seems…
As they trek across the globe Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha must come to terms with loss, love and trusting one another. But will it all be too late…

‘Speechless at just how breathtaking this book really is.’ – Rachel Gilbey
’Mind-blowing, enchanting, heart-breaking, moving, spell-binding and emotional.’ – The Writing Garnet

One Endless Summer

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour highlighting the incredible PRICE DROP of this top-rated Contemporary Romance … the ebook is currently at the price of 99 pence until 31st August 2018.  Fill your kindle with a new summer read.

About the Author – Laurie Ellingham

Laurie Small photoWhen I am not running around after my two children, my husband, our cockerpoo Rodney, or just plain running, I love nothing more than disappearing into the fictional world of my characters, preferably with a large coffee and a slab of chocolate cake to hand.

I have a degree in Psychology and a background in Public relations, both of which help me in everything I do.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @LaurieEllingham
Facebook: @LaurieEllinghamAuthor

The Little Cornish Kitchen by Jane Linfoot blogtour book review

 

the little cornish kitchen

The Little Cornish Kitchen written by Jane Linfoot, publisher HarperImpulse, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

The paperback is available from all good book retailers and the ebook is available to download for amazon kindle, kobo, Google Play and Apple iBooks.

To buy link (amazon UK):  https://amzn.to/2LENgP6

Product Details (as per amazon page)

It’s time to come home to Cornwall
With an exiting new life in Paris, Clemmie Hamilton isn’t looking forward to heading home to the picturesque but sleepy village of St Aidan, Cornwall. However, when she discovers that the cosy apartment by the sea, which her grandmother left to her, is under threat from neighbour and property developer, Charlie Hobson, Clemmie realises she can’t abandon her home in its time of need.
With her childhood friends encouraging her, Clemmie decides to turn the apartment into ‘The Little Cornish Kitchen’ – a boutique pop up pudding club raising money for the repairs to the building in an effort to stop Charlie once and for all. But when Charlie and his easy charm won’t seem to go away, everything soon becomes even messier than the state of Clemmie’s Cornish kitchen…

The Little Cornish Kitchen Full Tour Banner

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting Jane Linfoot’s latest romcom; The Little Cornish Kitchen.

This was such a delicious read that I greedily devoured.  I’ve loved Jane Linfoot’s The Little Wedding Shop series and I didn’t think the author could top this series but I think this new nugget of loveliness may be the best part of any dessert stand 🙂

We are back in the idyllic Cornish coastal village of St Aidan’s and have four new friends to discover along with a whole host of sub-characters and especially a handsome, brooding man who comes with a loyal dog and a disloyal cat … and he can also bake!!!

When Clemmie Hamilton returns to her home town of St Aidan’s to visit her late grandmother’s apartment that has been left to her Clemmie is feeling a little apprehensive.  Clemmie’s current life is living and working in the city of Paris so St Aidan has a very different vibe to the very chic and bustling city.  One thing St Aidan’s has that Paris doesn’t is her lifelong friends Sophie, Nell and Plum.  The girls have been friends since childhood and have shared many highs and lows together.  Clemmie doesn’t think she could live full-time in St Aidan’s but when she opens the door to her late Gran’s apartment that has a stunning sea view location nostalgic feelings come flooding back and Clemmie is filled with warmth and joy.  Bit by bit each item of crockery and piece of furniture is giving Clemmie such wonderful memories that she is starting to feel a pull to the place.

When Clemmie literally bumps into her neighbour Charlie, Diesel his dog and Pancake the cat, that pull is becoming stronger as new feelings emerge.  As equally handsome that Charlie is he holds a grumpiness to his character and is quite aloof.  However, underneath it all there is a sadness within Charlie that St Aidan’s and his dog and the beautiful, tranquil settings of the apartments can only bring warmth back to his heart.  But meeting his new neighbour Clemmie has startled his heart and has kickstarted it beating again.

The Little Cornish Kitchen is a gorgeous feel-good summery read that will have you salivating over the delicious delights that Clemmie produces and you’ll be swooning over a love story were the pets have no worries or qualms about declaring their true feelings.

The author Jane Linfoot has put together a lovely giveaway.  Win a signed copy of The Little Cornish Kitchen, Mermaid Notebook and Sugar Unicorns (Open Internationally)

Giveaway Prize*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome.

Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494114/

To learn more about the author Jane Linfoot please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.janelinfoot.co.uk/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JaneLinfoot

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JaneLinfoot2

 

 

This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell blogtour book review

 

This Could Change Everything Cover

This Could Change Everything written by Jill Mansell, publisher Headline, is available NOW in ebook, paperback, hardcover, audiobook and audio CD format.

The paperback is available at all good book retailers.

The ebook is available to download via kindle, iBooks, kobo and Google.

To buy link (amazon UK):  https://amzn.to/2uskVlv

Product Details (as per amazon page)

One little mistake and nothing will ever be the same again!
On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…
On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…
And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…

This Could Change Everything Blog Tour Poster

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the release of the paperback version of Jill Mansell’s latest novel; This Could Change Everything.

This Could Change Everything is Jill Mansell’s 29th novel.  When you pick up a Jill Mansell book you know you are in for a glorious treat of a read.

I simply adored this novel and just didn’t want the story to end.  I felt lots of emotions; it was uplifting, very poignant, charming, romantic, beautiful and utterly magical.

This is a wonderful story of life and the journeys and decisions we make that guide us to a whole host of new opportunities, new directions and the chance of new beginnings.  Sometimes fate plays a hand in our lives but in This Could Change Everything a little area in Bath has it’s own Fairy Godmother that is 83 year old Zillah.  Zillah is flamboyantly dressed, can read people and work out what they need, she tirelessly helps many, many people at a time when life has cruelly taken away many choices.  However, Zillah cannot help these people on her own and this is where her new friends Esse and Conor come in.

Lot’s of unfortunate events brought Esse and Conor to Zillah’s door and since Zillah joined their lives both Esse and Conor have found a new outlook in life.

A story filled with so much inspiration, optimism and humanity, I was completely moved by Esse, Conor and Zillah.  I felt like Zillah was more than Queen of the Square, she was like a mystical octogenarian with a vivid past that was full of guilt, regrets but also full of adventure and passion.  You simply can’t help wanting to hear more from Zillah, her past and her life’s work now.  I loved the rapport she had with Esse and Conor.

The romance was beautifully woven within the storyline and it filled my heart with warmth and joy.

It’s a story I believe that you’d want to read again and again.  Glorious, uplifting and so heart warming.

To learn more about the author Jill Mansell please visit the following pages:

Website:  https://jillmansell.co.uk/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JillMansell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJillMansell/

 

The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton book review

 

the things we need to say

The Things We Need to Say written by Rachel Burton, publisher HQ Digital, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook.

To buy link: https://amzn.to/2JsO5Fy

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.
Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.
Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the way things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.
As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

blue swirly lineI voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

The Things We Need to Say is Rachel Burton’s second novel and it’s also my first introduction to her work. Even though this is only the author’s second novel Rachel Burton is already showing signs of a seasoned author.  This was superb storytelling and the writing flowed throughout the story. I was drawn into the characters’ lives instantly and felt their emotions whenever they peaked high or low.  The Things We Need to Say is a story that would resonate to many, it’s a story with real, raw, heart wrenching moments that leave scars permanently etched on your heart but with time these scars would fade.  It’s a story that pulls at the heart strings and leaves you pondering the decisions made that ultimately change the focus and direction of the characters lives.

I felt pain and anguish for both Fran and Will who both had so many silent thoughts and fears in their heads but were afraid to let their voices be heard, resulting in a pain that was almost unbearable.

Fran and Will had been through so much turmoil in their lives, their dreams and hopes for the future had been shattered more than once.  Could they continue with this one goal?

With Fran’s pre-arranged yoga retreat looming it was an opportune moment to take stock of where she is now, make acceptance of what has been before and free her mind to the fear of what may lay ahead.  With another scar forcing it’s way onto Fran’s heart teaching yoga at the retreat in Spain couldn’t have come at a better time.  Teaching students to relax and free their minds helps Fran refocus and regroup her own feelings.

Back home in Sussex Will is fighting his own demons and is struggling with so much.

The Things We Need to Say is a story about grief, about loss, about love and about acceptance.  It’s so beautifully told and I felt that the author truly wrote from the heart and the research she undertook for certain scenes was well accomplished.  Rachel Burton is an author to watch; she tugs at your heart and captures you into the lives of the characters so well drawn out amongst the pages.  I loved how the chapters were short and from different POV, I felt myself finishing one chapter and eager to read on to the next.  Stunning story.

To learn more about Rachel Burton please visit the following pages:

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2L3ESt2

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/bookish_yogi

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Rachel-Burton-353151308524664/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/bookish_yogi/

How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan book review

how to keep a secret

How to Keep a Secret written by Sarah Morgan, publisher HQ, is available NOW in ebook, paperback, audiobook and audio CD format.

The paperback is available from all good book retailers and the ebook is available for kindle, kobo and ibooks.

To buy link (amazon UK):  https://amzn.to/2JT7aBL

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Three generations of Stewart women, all with secrets to keep…
Matriarch Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother but how can she ever tell her daughters the reason why? Lauren and Jenna are as close as two sisters can be and they made a pact years ago to keep a devastating secret from their mother – but is it time to come clean? Lauren’s teenage daughter Mackenzie masks her own pain by keeping her mother at a distance. Her mother, aunt and grandmother keep trying to reach her but will it take a stranger to show her the true meaning of family?
When life changes in an instant, the Stewart women are thrown together for a summer and suddenly they must relearn how to be a family. And whilst unravelling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, it could also be their finest moment . . .

Beach houses Martha's Vineyard

Whilst reading this novel I was drawn to the descriptions of the houses in Martha’s Vineyard especially those on the beach. This image is taken from a google search.

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

This was a wonderful, descriptive story of life, love, letting go of the past and new beginnings. A story of three generations of women from one family all holding back secrets until one night when one of the Stewart women’s lives is turned completely upside down. She turns to her family for support and the past they all thought they’d left locked away starts opening up bit by bit.

A mother, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter all facing different junctions in their lives. What they thought they knew of each other from the past wasn’t always the true picture and once the ladies start opening up and revealing their secrets that were kept hidden in dark places they start to see a different picture of how their attitudes and feelings to each other were like as a child and now as an adult.

Lauren with her teenage daughter, Mack, have to face drastic changes to their lives after a tragic event. When further revelations are revealed can this teenager and mum ever have the closeness they once had? Lots of questions need to be asked and the answers rake up many emotions that have been safely secured.

Jenna the younger sister of Lauren has been holding back on her own emotions from her mother and sister in particular. Emotions at home with her husband are becoming strained and the couple are struggling with how to help each other.

Nancy the mother and grandmother has for so long been the strong independent figure of the family but for the last few years she’s struggled. Her secrets can no longer be hidden as they’ve reached a point of no return. Secrets she knows that will upset and shake the family.

Mack has always struggled to fit in with the ‘cool’ crowd. Reinventing herself to be liked but not really letting herself be the truer version. It takes strength and courage for her to overcome her feelings of loss, grief, desperation and isolation.

I loved how the author Sarah Morgan wove this story of relationships between one family. It was interesting to see that once the secrets came tumbling out that the bond between them all was becoming stronger.

A truly gorgeous story that at times were emotive however, the general feeling was of warmth and uplifting, life affirming and full of unexpected romances at a time when you weren’t looking.

To learn more about the Author Sarah Morgan please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://sarahmorgan.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SarahMorgan_

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahMorgan

When Archie Met Rosie by Lynda Renham excerpt

archie_bright

When Archie Met Rosie written by Lynda Renham, publisher Raucous Publishing, is available NOW in ebook format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2Jh1NjW

Product Details (as per amazon page)

*An Unexpected Love Story*
Rosie Foster has two dreams. The first is to get off the Tradmore Estate and the second is to go to Paris. When she wins at the Gala bingo it looks like her dreams may come true. But is money the root of all evil?
Archie wants for nothing. He has his five bedroom house but no one to share it with now his beloved wife Cathy has died.
And then … Holly has a disastrous night out and Archie meets Rosie against all odds.
A funny, sad and poignant tale of how love can be found in the strangest places.

heart balloon clipart

I am so pleased to be able to share with you all today Chapter One to Lynda Renham’s latest romcom, When Archie Met Rosie.  Lynda Renham’s writing style is very witty with great character descriptions, you can’t help but have a smile on your face when you read her romcoms.  If you find yourself enjoying chapter one do check out the ‘to buy’ link above; the story sounds like the perfect summer read.

Chapter One
Rosie

Don’t you just hate those people who win at everything without even trying? A flutter on the horses or a scratch card at the newsagent and they’re laughing all the way to the bank. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed all the way to the bank. I’ve cried maybe, but that’s usually on the way back from the bank. I once considered robbing our local Barclays. I did seriously. That’s what desperation does to you. I don’t often think about robbing banks, just in case you think I do. It was only the once. Times can be hard sometimes, especially when Frank blows all our money on Millwall. The football club, that is, not the town. Not that anyone in their right mind would spend their money on Millwall, the town or the football club, but then I do sometimes wonder if Frank is in his right mind. Anyway, I digress. There’s a lot of expense involved in robbing a bank, I discovered. I’m telling you this now, just in case you were thinking of robbing a bank yourself. You need a pair of tights for a start. Not just any old pair either. A decent pair costs you a fiver. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can think of better things to spend a fiver on than a pair of nylons, that I’m just going to pull over my face. I did try an old laddered pair, but you could see my features. Not as good as you normally would, admittedly. It resembled a balaclava with one too many holes. Frank said I ought to wear it all the time.
‘It’s a great improvement,’ he’d laughed.
Cheeky bugger.
And then there’s the rucksack. You’ll need one of those. All the best bank robbers have rucksacks. We have one, but the zip is broken. It would be just my kind of luck to have the newly stolen banknotes scattered through the streets of Essex. The expense of a new rucksack was a bit daunting too, especially as Frank only uses it when he trudges down to the off-licence. It nicely holds a six-pack, he’s fond of telling me. It takes a lot of planning, does this bank robbery business. After all, you don’t want to be bursting into Barclays brandishing your P’tit Clown 74560 automatic plastic gun at the wrong time of day, do you? Midday would be a perfect time for me because it’s when I have my lunch break, but have you seen the queues? There’s bound to be one pissed off customer wanting to be a hero, who’d think nothing of wrestling me and my P’tit Clown 74560 plastic gun to the ground, while I’d be yelling, ‘Get your hands off my P’tit, you moron.’
I know what you’re thinking. I have no idea why it’s called P’tit. I imagine, because most of the people who buy it are tits, like me. Let’s be honest, how many bank robbers buy their plastic guns from Amazon? Bank robbers like me, that’s who. Anyway, last but not least, you need a getaway car. If you saw our old Fiesta you’d understand why it wouldn’t have worked. For a start, there’s no door on the driver’s side. Actually, that’s not strictly true. Obviously, there is a door. It would be a touch chilly without one and clearly illegal. It just doesn’t open. No one is sure why. Sam offered to replace it with a spare yellow door he had lying around the garage. Our Fiesta’s black and I didn’t fancy driving around in a lookalike stripy tiger, so I said no and anyway, everyone would have recognised it on the Crimewatch reconstruction. It also takes forever to climb over onto the passenger seat. It’s okay climbing over when you’ve got plenty of time. If your pantyhose got caught on the gearstick, you’ve got time to sort yourself out, haven’t you? But when you’ve got a fleet of police cars after you it’s a whole other ball game. I’m okay getting one leg over the gearstick but it’s my dodgy hip in the other leg that’s the problem. I’ve been known to get stuck in the Lidl car park before now, my crotch nestling nicely on the gears while some kind passer-by hoists my gammy leg over it. Frank says I only do it to pull the blokes. Huh, like I need another one. Although, I have to admit, it is often men who come to my rescue. I guess women are suspicious of a woman sitting on a gearstick. It’s not something you see every day is it? They probably think I’m doing something sordid. I think the men just want a gander up my skirt. They certainly get that. Anyway, the point is, I don’t imagine a kind passer-by is going to give me a leg over after I’ve just robbed Barclays bank, and quite right too.
Anyway, I never did rob the bank. I’m Rose Foster by the way, but everyone calls me Rosie. I like that. It makes me feel young. I live on the Tradmore Estate in Dagenham, Essex. It’s quite well known. Ask anyone where it is, and they’ll be able to tell you. They’ll no doubt look at you with fear in their eyes and advise you to stay away. Tradmore Estate is a regular feature in our local paper. We’re quite famous, although I suppose infamous is the correct word. We’re well known for our raves and raids, usually in that order. We’ve been on Jeremy Kyle too. That is, a few of my neighbours have, not us. I really don’t have the time to go on Jeremy Kyle. I’d love to live somewhere else, but Frank doesn’t believe in mortgages, says they’re a noose around your neck. We can’t afford to rent a house, so I guess I’ll stay on Tradmore Estate until they bring me out feet first. Although, knowing Frank, he’ll bury me on the allotment if it means saving some money. It is expensive dying, isn’t it? More expensive than living if you ask me. Frank works at the greyhound track in Walthamstow and I work three half days at Waitrose and two evenings at Cineworld in Romford. I like that job. They give us free popcorn on Saturdays. It’s rare to get something for nothing these days isn’t it?
Anyway, I’ve seriously digressed. Frank says I can talk the hind legs off a donkey. The reason I began talking about people who easily win things is because, I actually think, any minute now, I’m going to win something. Yes me, Rosie Foster, who never wins anything. I’m desperately wishing I’d had that glass of white wine that Shirl had offered earlier. It would calm my shaking hands. I’m at the Gala Bingo. That’s a joke isn’t it? After I’ve just rabbited on about how I don’t bet. I only come once a fortnight. It’s our girly night out. It’s cheap, cheerful and a bit of a laugh. I’ve never won so much as a quid, until now … right now. All I need is two fat ladies and number one. I can barely breathe. If I win this … Oh God, if I win this, it will be five thousand quid. My head spins at the thought. What would I do with five thousand pounds? Apart from pay the back rent of course.
‘Twenty-two,’ shouts the caller. ‘Two little ducks …’
‘Quackety quack,’ yells Shirl beside me.
I feel sick. This is all I need. It would be just like me to throw up just as I’m about to shout house and win five thousand quid.
‘On its own, number one,’ shouts the caller.
That’s me. Oh bejesus, I’m starting to think robbing the bank might have been easier. I’m likely to have a heart attack if this isn’t over soon. I’ll be carried out feet first from the Gala Bingo Hall instead of our flat. Oh well, at least the funeral directors will be pleased. There’s no stairs at the Gala Bingo. I hold my breath. I just know that someone is going to call ‘house’ any minute, and I feel sure it isn’t going to be me. I’m Rosie Foster, from the Tradmore Estate. I don’t win the bingo. I never win anything, not even a goldfish at the funfair, and everyone wins a goldfish, don’t they?
‘Eighty-eight …’
‘Two fat lad …’ Shirl begins but she doesn’t get to finish because I almost knock her off her stool as I jump up.
‘House,’ I yell. ‘House.’
‘I’ve only gone and won,’ I say turning to Shirl.
‘You haven’t,’ she says, straightening up.
I’m shaking so much, I can barely speak.
‘Let’s see your card darling,’ says the caller.
What if I got a number wrong? I wasn’t concentrating properly at the start. What if …?
‘Congratulations darling, you’ve won five thousand pounds.’
‘I have?’ I stammer.
‘Lucky cow,’ says Shirl, squeezing my arm.
‘Well done,’ says Doris, draining her wine glass and struggling not to look jealous.
‘I can’t believe it,’ I say finally. ‘I never win anything.’
‘Well, you have now.’
‘Shall we quit while we’re ahead,’ suggests Doris.
I nod. I want to go home and tell Frank. Maybe we’ll open that bottle of Prosecco that Waitrose gave me last Christmas. After all, five grand is something to celebrate isn’t it? Not that I have any intention of telling Frank exactly how much I’ve won. I’m soft but I’m not that soft. Money burns a hole in Frank’s trousers quicker than a firelighter. I’d like it to last us a bit longer than twenty-four hours.
‘Shall we go up west on Saturday?’ asks Shirl, ‘Now that you’re flush and all that.’
‘I’m saving it,’ I say.
Shirl and Doris look at me.
‘Saving it for what?’
‘I’d like to go to Paris,’ I say without thinking.
The fact is, I’ve always wanted to go to Paris. I fancy climbing up the Eiffel Tower. The view from there must be amazing, I imagine.
‘What do ya want to go there for? It stinks by all accounts.’
‘That’s Venice, you dopey mare,’ laughs Doris, zipping up her fake Mulberry. ‘Paris is romantic.’
‘So, you won’t be taking Frank then,’ giggles Shirl.
I try Frank’s mobile, but it goes to voicemail. He’s probably got the tele up loud. You have to in our flat to cover the noise of the neighbour’s shouting. If you like Jeremy Kyle, you should come to ours for the day. You’d love it.
We walk home arm in arm. We feel safer like that. I’ve got my five thousand quid tucked into the corner of my old Top Shop tote. The man at the Gala Bingo was reluctant to give me the cash at first.
‘It’s normally a cheque,’ he’d said.
I didn’t want a cheque. It would go straight into our bank account and straight out again to pay the overdraft. It was Frank’s fault we had that. He’d wanted part ownership in a greyhound. So now, not only do we have an overdraft but also part of a dog. I don’t know which part, the useless part probably, knowing our luck.
‘We’ll get our money back,’ Frank had assured me.
But, of course, we hadn’t and instead had accumulated interest on our overdraft. I’ve had this tote bag for donkey’s years and I keep checking that there are no rips in it. That’s sods law isn’t it? You put five thousand quid in your bag thinking it’s perfectly safe and don’t realise you’re dribbling tenners along Romford High Street. I’m not though. I know that, because I keep checking behind me. We arrive at the Tradmore Estate and I try to ignore the used condoms that litter the grass verge outside our block. A policeman hovers outside the main doors but I don’t think anything of it. There are always police around the estate. It makes me feel safe to tell you the truth.
He straightens as we approach the doors.
‘Mrs Foster?’ he asks.
Doris and Shirl look at me anxiously.
‘I’m Mrs Foster,’ I say.
‘What’s ‘appened?’ asks Doris worriedly.
‘I’ve got bad news I’m afraid,’ he says removing his hat.
It’s got to be bad hasn’t it, if they take off their hat? I must have had a tear in my bag after all. They’ve no doubt been collecting ten-pound notes all over Romford.
‘Oh,’ I say, glancing into my bag.
‘Your husband, Frank Foster, is dead I’m afraid.’
‘Dead?’ I repeat.
I sway, and Shirl supports me by the arm.
‘You could ‘ave waited until she was sitting down,’ says Doris crossly.
How can Frank be dead? He was watching the tele.
‘Sometimes it’s best just to say it,’ says the policeman.
‘Are you sure?’ I ask.
Oh dear, that didn’t sound good, did it? It’s as though I want to be sure he’s well and truly brown bread.
‘He fell into the road I’m afraid. He’d had a bit too much to drink and the Domino’s Pizza van …’
Frank was killed by a Domino’s Pizza van?
‘Domino’s Pizza?’ I repeat.
‘He liked pizza,’ says Doris.
That’s wonderful isn’t it? I win five thousand on the bingo and Frank decides to walk in front of a pizza delivery van. Now I’m most likely going to have to spend my winnings on Frank’s funeral.

 

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