Publication Date: 10th October 2017
Adrian Turner, Mountaineer, Secret Agent, Fireman… Ade would dearly like to be any of these things, though he’d trade them all to win the heart of feisty Public Relations Executive, Paige.
Instead, he’s a disillusioned school teacher, on suspension, after an unfortunate incident with a heavy piece of computer equipment. And somebody’s foot. And Paige? Despite being his girlfriend for the past eighteen months, she still seems to have one foot out of the door and hasn’t quite committed to leaving a toothbrush in the bathroom.
Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s working with her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian. A man who in almost every way imaginable is better, taller, wealthier, hairier, and infinitely more successful than Ade.
Is Paige still in love with Sebastian? Why then did she suggest they get away for a few days? Some place romantic…
But when Adrian finds himself in Slovenia - with Sebastian in the room down the hall - he realises there’s serious possibility that he’s in danger of losing his job, his mind, and the woman he loves…
From best-selling author Peter Jones comes this hilarious romp about love, and the things people do to keep it from getting away.
Purchase from Amazon UK. Here's a little extract to whet your appetite!
In this scene, Adrian Turner (burnt out, disillusioned computer science teacher… and our hero) has unintentionally found himself on a one-night stand…
I’d never had a one night stand before. Every woman I’d ever slept with – both of them – was in the confines of a ‘relationship’; by which I mean I met someone, asked them on a date, then we’d go on another date, and another, and eventually – when we’d reached a point where we (and everyone around us) could safely assume that we were ‘seeing each other’ – one of us would ask the other if they’d like to ‘stay the night’. After that the relationship would feel cemented somehow, more permanent, and sex would occur once a week, usually with such regularity that it pretty much took care of itself. In fact, eventually it would start to feel as if we didn’t even need to be there. Which probably explains why, in both relationships, I barely noticed when it eventually stopped happening.
I’ve often wondered whether that’s why those relationships fizzled out? Whether sex is a kind of ‘cement’ that glues people together, and without it we all just drift apart. Which is an elegant sounding theory but one that, on this particular night, was steadfastly refusing to apply to my current situation; I didn’t feel particularly ‘cemented’ to the woman I’d just had sex with, and I certainly didn’t feel like we were in any kind of relationship. In fact, if anything – standing there in the sparse ensuite bathroom of whoever’s bedsit apartment this was – I was pretty sure that usual ‘one-night-stand etiquette’ meant that I was supposed to be putting my clothes back on, thanking the lady in question for an entertaining evening, and then walking out of her life. But I didn’t want to.
I really, really didn’t want to.
“So, is this your apartment?” I said, stepping back into the bedroom and glancing at the small bedsit apartment in its semi-darkness. Aside from the kitchenette area it looked more like a hotel room, complete with off-the-shelf generic paintings and robust conservatively patterned furniture.
Paige was sat on the bed, still naked, her legs pulled up to her chest, one arm wrapped around them, the other resting on her knees as she chewed on a nail, and stared into the gloom. Her mobile phone on the sheets next to her chirped briefly, and for a moment it joined the moonlight coming in through the vertical blinds, and the light from the bathroom, as the only illumination in the room.
“What?” said Paige coming out of her trance. “No! Give me some credit. It’s the company’s flat. I have a key.”
“Right,” I said.
“You didn’t think to ask me that when we came in here?” she asked.
“Er, we were kind of busy. Doing other things?” I said. And then she smiled. She actually smiled. Not the crooked smile, but a warm, playful, sexy, knowing smile. And suddenly I was acutely aware that I was just stood there, naked – and oh how I wished I’d done something more with my monthly gym membership than carry a card in my wallet!
I switched off the bathroom light, perched on the edge of the bed, and as Paige went back to staring at nothing, I slowly reached across and lightly brushed her naked hip with my fingers.
“What are you doing!?” she barked, flinching and slapping my hand away in the same movement. “Don’t tickle me!”
“So… have you.. got.. a boyfriend?” I asked. Idly. Casually. Hoping – more than anything I’d ever hoped for in my life – that the answer wasn’t ‘yes’.
“Not any more,” she said eventually. “We broke up.”
“Oh,” I said. “Recently?”
Paige let out a single, humourless laugh.
“Yeah,” she said. “You could say that.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said,
“Don’t be. He was a jack-ass,” said Paige.
“Which I could kinda put up with whilst I thought it was all just temporary. You know what I mean?” she said, turning to face me.
“Er, well, not really,” I said.
“Sure you do,” said Paige, resuming her nail chewing. “Guy like that is always on the look out for something better. And it’s just a matter of time before he finds it. Or her. So you tell yourself, ‘this is just for today, because he might not be here tomorrow’. And you say the same thing the following day, and the day after that, and before you know it three years have flown by. And still, that’s just fine, because – you know – it’s temporary. It’s not like you were planning on spending the rest of your life with this jerk. Even if he is quite the cook. And has a nice house in the country.
“Then all of a sudden he mentions kids. And ‘wouldn’t it be great if the two of you started a family’, and you realise – it isn’t temporary! Least not for him.”
“Right,” I said. “That must have been… awkward?”
“Ha! You bet!”
“So what did… you… say?”
Paige shrugged. “I told him straight; I can’t have kids. Not without some sort of divine intervention. I might have child bearing hips but that’s all God gave me in the way of baby-making equipment. Things went kinda sour after that.” I opened my mouth to speak, then closed it again when I realised I didn’t have a clue what to say. Paige turned to face me again. “You know it’s at times like these that I really wish I smoked,” she said. “You smoke?”
I shook my head. “Sorry,” I said. Paige jumped off the bed, walked around it and into the bathroom, only to return a moment later with her handbag.
“Here,” she said, taking a small Tupperware container out of her bag and snapping off the lid, “have one of these.” I peered into the container at the deformed, cake-like things inside.
“What are they?” I asked taking one.
“Fritters,” said Paige.
“Banana fritters?” I asked, popping it whole into my mouth.
“God no! Can’t stand bananas! Disgusting, horrible things. These are corn fritters,” said Paige, sitting herself back on the bed. “I made them last night.”
“They’re really good,” I said.
“I know,” said Paige, taking a more ladylike bite out of one. “I like you, Adrian,” she said after a moment.
“Oh well – thanks,” I said, through a mouthful of food. “I like you too.”
“D’you wanna – you know – see me again?”
“Yes,” I said. “Yes. Very much.”
And with that the one-night-stand wasn’t a one-night-stand. Sex had, once again, cemented me to another person. And I was in a relationship.Or so it seemed.
About the Author
Peter Jones started professional life as a particularly rubbish graphic designer, followed by a stint as a mediocre petrol pump attendant. After that he got embroiled in the murky world of credit card banking. Fun times.
Nowadays, Peter spends his days writing, or talking about writing. He’s written three novels; a Rom-Com (Romantic Comedy), A Crim-Com (Crime Comedy), and a Rom-Com-Ding-Dong (a sort-of Romantic-ish Comedy, with attitude). He’s currently working on his fourth novel, which - if it’s a musical - he’ll no doubt describe as a Rom-Com-Sing-Song. (Spoiler: It isn’t).
He is also the author of three and a half popular self-help books on the subjects of happiness, staying slim and dating. If you’re overweight, lonely, or unhappy – he’s your guy.
Peter doesn’t own a large departmental store and probably isn’t the same guy you’ve seen on the TV show Dragons’ Den.
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