Coming soon in paperback 4 of my short stories all in one book! Ideal for beach reading.
No Strings Attached
By Joanne Rawson
Wedding invitations are supposed to bring a smile to your face, with thoughts of a happy occasion that two people would be joining in Holy matrimony, publicly declaring their love for each other. However, for Laura Lee, it was just confirmation that at thirty-three, she had spent all her time and efforts on her career and was still single.
After finding out that her ex will be attending the same wedding, Laura Lee has three days to find herself a date. In desperation, she calls on the help of her best friend Lisa, the who's who of Nottingham's eligible bachelors.
Discovering that Nottingham's most rich and handsome men find her icy, Laura has to take her only option, the man she most despises, her work colleague Adam Ford.
It would almost be about a month, yes a month ago now. I arrived home from work, a pile of mail greeting me on my doormat. Sifting through the usual bank statement, household bills, and a whimper at the balance of my credit card bill, I winced at the next letter, a thick cream-colored expensive envelope, striking thick black letters, bearing just my solitary name, MISS LAURA LEE.
It suddenly dawned on me, it was the month of May. Inwardly I groaned, knowing that by the end of September, I would have a line of these cream cards, embossed with gold letters on my mantelpiece, inviting me and one guest.
Wedding invitations are supposed to bring a smile to your face, with thoughts of a happy occasion that two people would be joining in Holy Matrimony, publicly declaring their love for each other. But for me, it was just confirmation that at thirty three, I’d spent all my time and efforts on my career, and before you get any preconceived ideas, I’m no super model, fashion editor of a glossy magazine, or a world renowned surgeon, I’m a plain Jane, boring auditor for a large chain of bars and restaurants, who has fought her way through a world of male bureaucracy, thus enabling me to buy my own house, and filling it with cherished belongings, in the process having forgotten my main cherished possession, a man to share it all with. It seems I would spend a lifetime receiving invites to Miss Laura Lee and guest.
There had been one man, three years ago—Robert—that after years together I thought would be a lifelong, possession. However, my friend, (now ex friend) had swept him from under my nose, like a professional bargain hunter at the first day of the Next sale. You know what I’m talking about, ladies, don’t you? Having admired it for weeks, but you knew it was way out of your price range. Then for hours you stood in the queue waiting, knowing exactly what you want, and then, when you finally see it on the rack, you can’t believe that it is still there. You take a minute to admire it, knowing it fits perfect, makes you feel good, and then, before you know it, some silly bitch who wants everything, snatches it from your reach. You know bloody well, that in a few weeks she will toss it aside, unwanted, and soiled. Well, that is exactly what Marsha Doyle did to me, the bitch. She’d always wanted everything I had, and when she finally got her perfect manicured claws on Robert, she played with him like a cat with a mouse.
So here I am a month later, and only three days to my cousin’s big event, not that I was counting. Normally such trivialities as a wedding would be pushed to the back of my mind, if it hadn’t been for the phone call.
by Joanne Rawson
Polly Wilkins is a successful freelance journalist slash writer. She has been living with her partner Steve in what her parents call sin for the last eight years. But, to her parent's disappointment, there are no signs of wedding bells or the patter of tiny feet on the horizon. Why? Because Polly, is not in the least bit maternal. Can this all change after Polly and Steve have a torrid weekend looking after her nephew? Or will Polly stick to her guns and loose Steve forever?
I love my life, my routine. There is absolutely nothing I would change, but then one weekend, I had a phone call that was about to change not only my sacred weekend but a part of me, too. For you to fully understand where I am coming from, let me tell you a little about myself, I promise it won’t take long.
I come from a very religious background. Regardless of my parents’ preaching hellfire and brimstone, I have spent my entire life rebelling, unlike my younger sister, Wendy, the role model of morality, who has done it all by the big black book: courted, engaged, married and now raising a family. Although I am a successful freelance journalist slash writer, when I introduced Steve to my parents, straight away they knew he was the ideal husband for their then-twenty five year old daughter. Finally, I had found a man who could add stability to my life of debauchery. Steve is a morning presenter on one of Nottingham’s local radio stations, and the only son of Clive Rutherford, MD and Susan Rutherford, a respected pediatrician.
However, Steve and I have been living in what my parents call ‘sin,’ for the past eight years. We are so happy with our life, but to their disappointment, there are no signs of wedding bells or the patter of tiny feet on the horizon. Why?
Because, I hate babies. Well, perhaps hate is a little strong, and honestly speaking, how can I hate something I don’t know a bloody thing about? Don’t misunderstand me, of course I’m fully aware of the biological know how, of how one gets a baby. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of the practical, but NEVER, NEVER, have I been tempted in the least to follow the experiment through. I personally think all men’s willies should be tattooed with a baby warning, like the stickers you see about dogs and Christmas in the back of a car window. It should read: A kid is for life, not for one night of sex.
And another thing, what is all this crap about my biological clock ticking, or we just know when we are ready to start a family? So, what do these people do? One night they are sitting watching their nightly soaps and the wife instead of saying, “Shall I defrost a chicken for dinner tomorrow?” says, “I think we should start a family.” Then the husband considers for a moment, during an advert, and replies, “O.K. love, but after I’ve watched the news.”
So now, you know that I, Polly Wilkins, am not in the least bit maternal.
Unexpected Blind Date
by Joanne Rawson
If any of Grace Worthing's friends dared to suggest she should go on a blind date, her answer would have been, "Blind dates are so tacky; they are definitely for the desperate." She was so over men! After her fifth Sex on the Beach cocktail she told friends she would never have sex again, let alone have sex on a beach. Then, somewhere between her second and third tequila slammer, Grace found herself, agreeing to meet Adrian. Little did she know how interesting and unexpected her blind date would be.
Frankly, if you asked me six months ago if I would give up my Tuesday quiz night with the girls, or go on a blind date, then my answer would undoubtedly have been, “Blind dates are so tacky. They are definitely for the desperate.” From the age of sixteen I have had fourteen years of dating, ten boyfriends, six of them lovers and, up until a year ago, had been in a four-year relationship that hit more icebergs than the Titanic. No, my blind date love boat days have well and truly sailed. I am so over men.
However, two weeks ago, Glenda, Nell, Christine and I, hit Cupids Cave—Nottingham’s notorious Saturday night hot spot for eighteen to twenty year old blushing brides to be, celebrating their last weekend of freedom. It was reluctant moral support for Glenda, who had been press ganged into her younger sister’s hen night. Like every member of our group, Glenda was proud not to be married.
Tucked away in a corner, I was not sure if I was more depressed that we were the oldest women in the club, or that I recognised so many of my ex pupils I had taught biology to in the past few years. At least three acknowledged me, flashing their diamond solitaires under my nose. They may not have found any ecological break-through, but one thing was certain, they had discovered a biological phenomenon that was oblivion to me, how to get a man and keep him.
Snivelling into my fifth Sex on the Beach cocktail, I began wallowing in a state of drunken remorse. Leaping from my bar stool I declared the fate of my future. “I will never have sex again, let alone have sex on a beach.”
“Of course you won’t, sweetie,” slurred Christine, pulling me back down. “You’re in a friggin nightclub full of friggin loved up women.” As Christine had told us a thousand times already tonight, a club with no men was sad as someone going into a wine bar and ordering coffee. “No offense, Glenda, but I need to find a club with some hot blooded men, and show those bad boys a good time.”
Nell, thirty-nine, a suffragette for women’s lib, now on her third pitcher of margaritas, for herself, slammed down her glass. “Sod it. It’s against all my princ—princ—oh bugger it.” She took a breath to stifle a hiccup. “Princ—iples, but the time is right for you, Grace, to meet Adrian. He has been with us only a few months at the nut house.” The nut house being our name for Fur Tree Mental health clinic, where Nell worked as a drama therapist. “He is single, thirty eight, very fit, plays a lot of sports, and owns his own house, and the catch is this; all he wants is a good time. Hell, if he was a woman I’d make a play for him myself.”
I shook my head vigorously. “No, no, no. No blind dates,”
Somewhere between my second and third tequila slammer, the girls had quashed all my issues of concern, emphasising all he wanted was a good time. And, as Glenda, quite rightly pointed out, “Jeez, Grace, you don’t have to marry the man.’ I found myself agreeing to meet Adrian.
Angel of Kindness
by Joanne Rawson
Megan Shepard was not looking forward to Christmas. Now divorced, all she had to look forward to was spending Christmas in Derbyshire, with her sixty four year old, bisexual, hippie mother, and a scrawny little sapling tree, overdressed with cheap decorations from the pound shop. However, her friends had other ideas, like taking her to Pinkie's Night Club, their old stomping ground as teenagers. This brought back memories of rah-rah skirts, fishnets, and legwarmers dancing to Madonna, until the DJ played The Power of Love, whereupon Richie King would take her hand and lead her to the dance floor.
Seeing Richie leaning against the bar in his unforgettable Danny Zucko pose, she knows the right thing to do would be to walk in the opposite direction, yet finds herself walking straight to him, and taking the advice of her unconventional mother. Swept off her feet to the winter wonderland of Manchester's Christmas Market, romantic walks in the snow of the Derbyshire Peak District, and fireside dinners, she has to wonder if Richie really changed, or has he something to hide?
Switching on the coffee machine, I waited until the dark brown liquid slowly trickled into the jug, before looking out of my mother’s kitchen window. All the other houses on this quiet Derbyshire cul-de-sac had turned into an explosion of life and colour, with decorated windows, ready for the forthcoming Christmas festivities. Customarily, by now my house in Leightonstone East London would be fully dressed with lights, tinsel, and foliage. A large tree chosen with great care and attention would take pride of place in the living room. The house would smell of cinnamon and spices from endless nights after arriving home from my job at the advertising agency, I would play corny Christmas songs filling me full of Christmas cheer and spirit, while cooking puddings, mince pies and biscuits that we would still be eating well into the New Year. I haven’t a clue why. It wasn’t as if we had a house full of children, in fact, children had never been on my agenda; well, hardly surprising, if you knew my background.
My mother, Lois, had me while she was studying art in Paris. She returned home to Derbyshire just long enough to pop me out and leave me with my grandparents, then fled back to her ménage a trios—a sculptor and his artist wife, my mother’s lesbian lover. Three years later, she returned only to scamper away again, after eighteen months, to live in a commune. So the whole cycle started again, until my grandparents grew old and my mother was forced to return to Derbyshire.
Looking at the garden, there was no plastic Santa Claus, no lights in the conifer tree, not even a wreath hung on the door. Instead of the large spectacular tree, hidden in the corner of mum’s living room, skulked a scrawny little sapling that still looked overdressed with cheap decorations from the pound shop; this Christmas, everything looked bare, unimaginative, and dowdy, a mirror image as to how my life felt at this moment in time. Here I was, Megan Shepherd, forty- six, spending Christmas with her sixty-four year old, bisexual mother.
Come on! Surely, my feelings were justified. For sixteen years, I thought I had had the perfect marriage to Ian, a history lecturer at the local college. How wrong I had been.
Coming soon From Melange Book LLC