Hello and welcome to the first part of our Easter Round Robin! Every day over the Easter break we will be posting an extract of a story written by a Choc Lit author, with the first part being today and the last part on Easter Monday. Make sure you come back to the blog daily to see what happens next.
Kicking us off today is Jane Lovering with a very seasonal extract … which also involves cockroaches!
Grace had never liked Spring. There was something about all the birds tweeting in the hedges, advertising their availability for a mate, that made her think about those internet dating sites she’d signed up to and totally failed to get anywhere with. She wondered if the sparrows ever had to suffer the birdie-equivalent of men who took you to dinner twice and then expected to move in, or vanished, never to be heard from again. Watching a particularly persistent blackbird, she had to conclude that, yes, they probably did.
Her friends were all terribly encouraging, of course. “Give it another go,” they all said, from their cosy, settled places on the sofas next to their comfortable other halves. “There’s someone for everyone out there.” Grace pulled a wry face every time she heard that. Maybe, then, she wasn’t “everyone”. Or maybe men didn’t find a woman who ran a pest-extermination business and spent most of her working days in waist-high waders carrying metal traps and enough lethal pharmaceuticals to eradicate a small country, to be possible dating material?
Grace started her van and began the long drive out to her latest call; a farm twenty miles away, which had apparently had an influx of cockroaches.
The farmer wasn’t in. This wasn’t completely unheard of, Grace had been to many call-outs in rural areas where she’d been left to get on with whatever the job in hand required without any input at all from anyone else, and no sign of another human being, apart from occasional glimpses of someone in overalls doing something determined with a grain silo on the other side of a yard. So today was no different. She pulled on her protective clothing, pushed open the unlocked farmhouse door, and began her usual assessment of the pest situation on her hands and knees around the kitchen. She’d just got herself wedged into a promising corner between an Aga and a double-sized fridge, where several slower-moving than average cockroaches had become subjected to her Spring-fuelled wrath, when a door opened in another corner of the room and she heard several men come in.
‘I dunno, Mac,’ one was saying as booted feet walked past her. ‘I’m not convinced.’
‘I’ve got to do something.’ Another voice, this one belonging to the full-length Wellingtons, lightly splattered with mud, that were standing just in front of Grace’s corner. When she raised her eyes from the floor, she could see that these boots led to beige trousers and then on up to a jacket. She couldn’t see higher up, but there was something about the voice that was horribly familiar.
Grace drew herself further back into her corner, barricading herself almost subconsciously from the speaker, with two bags of cockroach bait. Surely it couldn’t be. No.
‘The farm isn’t making any money.’ The voice spoke again, and this time … Grace felt herself going red and hot … there couldn’t be any doubt. It was him. HIM. And here she was, crouched in a corner wearing neck to ankle rubber, and gloves that wouldn’t have been out of place on an episode of a vet programme, her blonde hair under a baseball cap and her hands full of chemicals. The world could, at least, have been kind and allowed her to meet HIM again when she was wearing a designer dress, Louboutins and knock ‘em dead perfume.
But no. The world, it appeared, was going to force Grace to confront the lost love of her life, whilst looking like an advert for kinky sex.
How is Grace going to manoeuvre herself out from this tight spot? Find out tomorrow when it will be Janet Gover taking over for the second part of our Round Robin
Jane’s latest book, How I Wonder What You Are, is available in Kindle, Kobo, Google Play & iBook format. It will be published in paperback on May 7th. Click HERE for buying options.
You can follow Jane on Twitter HERE.