“Yes, but not you – you don’t have it and you can’t provide it. And I’m afraid our conversation is suffering the effects of my inability
to pretend to be interested in your proposal for the evening”
“You could have just said ‘No’.”
The first creaky sign I come across is that of a small pub, and I barge inside, pulling off my soaking trench coat with about as much grace as King Kong.
Slamming the door behind me, I go over to the bar at the back and dump my dripping coat on a stool.
I’m in a foul mood.
What I need is a camomile, my smartphone and a bathroom. Not necessarily in that order. What I get, however, is the bemused smile of a barman who seems to have come straight from a rock concert. As soon as he sees me enter, he abandons the customer he was chatting to, rests both elbows on the bar and gives me both barrels of his most successful ‘look at these dimples’ pulling face.
“Forget your umbrella?” he asks, dazzling me with the headlights that he has instead of eyes.
I give him a quick look over, purely for data collection purposes, and find myself facing a guy in his thirties, clearly obsessed with weight training and suffering from an inexcusable fondness for faded t-shirts and low-waisted jeans.
Almost rudely, I pull my phone out of my bag and reply sarcastically, “No, I was just checking how the material held up to low temperatures.”
Meanwhile, I notice that the clock on the display is telling me that it’s already past nine and I realize that I’m terribly late and have forgotten to notify the agency that I’m here. Having quickly put the dampers on this pathetic attempt at socialising, I rapidly scroll down the address book in search of the estate agent’s number and the number of the person there that I’ve been dealing with up until now.
“Looks like it held up pretty well,” says the bartender to annoy me, looking at my clothes with a mischievous look.
“Your dress,” he says, his face cracking into a smile. “Looks like it held up pretty well.”
I lose my temper.
“Okay… Look, I’m sure that you have a reputation as a playboy to maintain and I can assure you that I very much liked that thing you did with your eyebrow. Very George Clooney. Really. But let’s be reasonable; it’s late, I’m wet and I’ve got at least three good reasons for contemplating suicide and I can’t imagine any significant improvements in the near future. So do you think there’s any chance that you could skip a couple of bits of your Sunday Casanova routine and get straight to the part where you pour me some of that wonderful coffee I can see behind you?” I ask, giving him a hopeful smile.
He stands there in astonishment.
“I would be really grateful,” I add, batting my Maybelline Rocket Volume Express eyelashes.
Behind my back I hear a giggle, which turns into a cough as soon as he turns to give the culprit a murderous glare.
“Sure,” is all he says to me, a sulky expression on his face, as he fills a cup, his pride clearly hurt. When he finishes, he passes it to me, and I, glad that we have finally reached the end of the little scene, thank him cordially and choose a table, taking my bag, case and coat with me.
“Morgan? Can you hear me?”
After the phone has rung a dozen times, he finally manages to answer. He sounds sleepy. “Yes, I’ve arrived. Yes, I know,” I reply briskly to his many questions. I glance out of the window next to me and see that it’s still raining. The streets are deserted and the pavements are covered in puddles – and I’m on foot. The car is being repaired and will not be ready tonight. I’m afraid that he’ll have to get into a pair of wellies and come and save me.
“At the moment I’m in a pub. I’ve just arrived. No, they’ve guaranteed that the car will be ready some time tomorrow. No, I haven’t contacted him yet,” I say, running my fingers through my hair. Morgan pauses for a few seconds while I explain the dynamics of the accident and realizes pretty quickly that he’s going to be forced to do a couple of hours of overtime. Luckily, he doesn’t seem too bothered. Quite the contrary, he turns out to be extremely friendly, informing me that he’ll be there in fifteen minutes at the most.
About Celia Hayes
About the book
Trudy Watts has everything she’s ever dreamed of: a job that she loves, a successful boyfriend and an ultra-modern apartment in one of the most fashionable parts of London. With a long-awaited promotion due to come her way and her wedding just around the corner, Trudy’s life is just perfect…
That is until catastrophe strikes and her life is turned upside down. She’s transferred to Turriff, a remote Scottish town to manage a small, struggling bank branch.
Her arrival is traumatic and she wishes she was anywhere but here… Until she sees him – Ethan, the charming pub landlord, who seems to enjoy nothing more than to tease her. And it’s right there, in that pub, that her life will suddenly change…
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Celia’s previous book, DON’T MARRY THOMAS CLARK is out now!
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