Excerpts

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Welcome! Thanks for your interest and curiosity.   Below you’ll find one of my favourite scenes from SOPHIE’S TURN and, a little further down, another one from SOPHIE’S RUN. I hope you like what you see here… let me know, don’t be shy.  Happy reading! :-)

Excerpt from Sophie’s Turn

Sophies_Turn.indd“What the hell is going on here?” I hissed, trying to prevent others from hearing our exchange.

“Oh, Sophie, Dan’s turned up. Isn’t it amazing?” she beamed at me.

“I can see that,” I kept hissing, “But what is he doing here?”

Rachel was quite drunk herself and looked at me with those bleary eyes that usually meant she was up to no good. “Sophie,” she declared solemnly and rather loudly, “you have broken the man’s heart. He has come to reclaim you.” She wobbled unsteadily and I gripped her arm. Usually one to hold her liquor, party-girl Rachel had clearly gone too far tonight.

Shh!” I admonished. “Will you keep your voice down? What are you talking about?”

“Dan is completely besotted with you, and he said he couldn’t bear the thought of you getting engaged to Tim so he had to…hic…come and check him out…hic!” Oh God, she had the hiccups. She would have to spend the night in the guest room. Once Rachel got the hiccups, she was beyond salvation. I gave her twenty minutes before she collapsed. I had to extract critical information fast.

“Why did you introduce him to Tim?” I continued my interrogation. “Couldn’t you have sent him away?”

Oh no, Sophie. I couldn’t turn this lovely, heartbroken man away.” She looked at me with big, innocent, and totally unfocused eyes. “In fact, we were just looking for you. You seemed to have… hic… hic… hic…disapp-hic-eared.”

“What did you say to Tim about who Dan was?” I needed to know.

“That he was Dan, of course. Your boy-hic-friend from Tuscq!” She dropped this bombshell completely nonchalantly.

“You what?” I squeaked. “Please tell me you’re joking.”

No, I’m s-hic-erious! Ti-hic-im thought it was very funny. Hic.”

I wrung my hands and barely prevented myself from tearing at my hair. If Tim had thought it was funny, he must have thought Rachel was being facetious or winding him up. He had seen her drunk before — the experience hadn’t done anything to endear her to him in any way —so it was likely that he hadn’t paid the slightest bit of heed to the truth she was spouting. But I had to move, and fast.

“You,” I said to Rachel, grabbing her by the shoulders and steering her toward the stairs. “You have had enough to drink. You are going to bed.”

“I hic-am?” Rachel asked, surprised.

“Indeed,” I confirmed grimly and marched her up the stairs. “Right, here you are. Guest room. Bed. Now.” I propelled her forward and she flopped on the bed like a rag doll.

“Very ti-hic-hic-red,” she mumbled before passing out.

I, on the other hand, had sobered up dramatically and had only one thought left: damage limitation. I blundered back downstairs, racing quite unladylike in my high heels, and skidded to a halt in the lounge. There they were, companionably sitting in front of the stereo, playing DJ.

I clattered across the floor, grabbing a bottle of champers and three glasses off a table as I went. Tim looked up, and then sprang to his feet.

“And here she is,” he announced to Dan with no small measure of proprietary pride. “Doesn’t she look gorgeous?”

Dan rose to his feet, somewhat unsteadily, and looked me up and down. A sad smile played on his face for just the briefest of moments.

“She looks stunning, indeed. Congratulations to you both.” He walked over to me and planted a chaste kiss on my cheek. “Well done,” he said softly, and Tim beamed gratefully, completely unaware that the comment was aimed solely at me. In fact, he seemed completely besotted by Dan’s manly, famous presence.

“Dan here and I were just discussing rock music,” he informed me as though Dan were his new best friend.

I shuddered for a moment. God forbid.

“Dan has some very interesting views about the movement, you know?”

I winced and smiled a secret apologetic smile at Dan, but he was too drunk to notice anything patronizing in Tim’s comment. I had to separate the two before things got out of hand. Luckily, one of our other guests absolved me of thinking up more ruses by descending on Tim and whisking him away to the kitchen.

Dan and I regarded each other in silence.

“You do look beautiful,” Dan repeated, suddenly sounding a whole lot more sober.

I wanted to cry. “What are you doing here?” I whispered, not trusting my voice.

“I don’t really know,” he acknowledged. “I just felt…lonely. At a loose end. I had to see you and convince myself that…well, that it really is too late. You know?”

I was simultaneously touched and petrified. “I thought we’d agreed…,” I started, but Dan interrupted immediately.

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Excerpt from Sophie’s Run

Sophies_Run.inddAbruptly, he handed me four dresses. The magical blue one wasn’t among them. “Try these on,” he commanded. Fingering one of the dresses lightly, I sighed heavily. They looked divine. And expensive.

I stepped back, my arms folded across my chest. “I don’t think I can afford these.”

Dan rolled his eyes as though to say, “Not that old chestnut again.” Grabbing a random dress off the rack, he disappeared in a cubicle and pulled the curtain shut behind him. This got the personal shopper’s attention. She jumped up from her chair and walked over to me swiftly, eyes swiveling between me and the cubicle. She cleared her throat, uncertain how to handle this.

“Did he…did he go in there?” she confirmed unnecessarily.

“It looks that way,” I offered, trying not to laugh at her disconcerted expression.

“He’s not—is he trying the dress on?”

“Err, yes.” I breathed. “Why, is that a problem?”

Meanwhile, Dan had run into trouble in the changing room.

“I need some shoes,” he shouted woefully. “Could you get me some shoes to match? Size ten please, for me, and size six for the lady as well. Please?”

Confronted with a direct request, the personal shopper sprang into action. “Schuhe…” she murmured. “Size forty-four and size thirty-nine…. Hmm…” She bustled off.

Finally erupting into laughter, I bounced into Dan’s cubicle. I was going to ask him what he was doing, but the words stuck in my mouth. There he was, in a bright orange, low-cut, floor-length dress with a big bow at the front. He had filled in the missing curves using his socks, and he hadn’t managed to do up the zip. He looked disturbingly attractive in ladies’ fashion.

“Will you do me up?” Dan turned his back to me and tugged experimentally at the fastening. I swatted his hands away and closed the zip to halfway up Dan’s back.

“It won’t go any further,” I informed him dryly. “By the way, did you know your dress is called GaGa?” My eyes had caught on the flashy black-on-orange label sown inside the back.

“I didn’t, but it makes sense. It’s a wild dress.” He gave a little twirl. “What do you think?”

“I think you’re nuts,” I snorted. “You be sure not to ruin this dress or else we’ll have to buy it.”

“Never fear,” he grinned wickedly. “It would look much better on you, though.”

I shook my head. “I don’t do orange. Not if you paid me.”

A discreet cough disturbed our whispered conversation.

“Excuse me, sir? Madam? I’ve got your shoes…”

“Great,” Dan enthused and stepped out of the cabin. “Let’s have them.” He took a pair of orange flats out of the assistant’s hands and regarded them critically.

“I was hoping for heels,” he announced with a straight face, and I almost peed in my pants with laughter.

The assistant was now in professional mode. “I can’t offer you heels in this style in your size,” she announced, “but I do think we have some silver-colored shoes that would work with the dress. The heels are—” She looked attentively at Dan. “The heels are probably about six centimeter stilettos. Would you like to try them?”

“Why, yes!” Dan enthused. “I most certainly would.”

The personal shopper went off to fetch the silver stilettos, and Dan grinned his wicked boy smile at me.

“Do you reckon she’ll let us take a picture?” he wondered out loud.

“Hm…possibly, why?” I wondered back.

“It’d be cool to stick up on our website, don’t you think?”

I regarded him critically. He was most probably joking, but with Dan you never did know.

“Yeah. But perhaps you ought to tuck those socks in more carefully,” I suggested, tugging playfully at a black-and-pink striped heel that was protruding from his chest area. “It does rather kill the look.”

He peered down his front appraisingly. “D’you reckon?” he asked. “I think it has something, this unexpected flash of black sock.”

“Well, it does rather go with your hairy chest,” I conceded. “If you’re serious about the dress, you might consider shaving.”

“I thought you liked my chest hair?” Dan mock sulked.

“Yes, but it doesn’t work with a dress. It’s just wrong.”

“That’s sexist,” Dan declared, then changed the subject abruptly. “Here, try this.” He handed me the divine-looking blue silk creation. “It’s perfect for you.”

I gave in.

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Excerpt from Sophie’s Encore

Sophies_EncoreMy bedroom door opened slowly and Dan crept in. All thought of sleep forgotten, I flicked the light back on and was met by an astonishing sight. There was Dan, the rock star, legend for his antics on and off stage, clad in a demure pair of checked pajamas with a button-up top and a mismatched, stripy dressing gown. His feet were stuffed into fluffy slippers, and he clutched a bottle and two glasses in his hands.

“Come on,” he whispered. “Dinner is served.”

I giggled and left my bed, grabbing my own stripy dressing gown and a pair of thick socks.

“What are you doing?” I breathed into his ear, but he simply took my hand and pulled me down the dark corridor toward the open-plan lounge.

“Have a seat,” he invited me and gestured at the dining table, which was once again laid, although only for two, complete with candles and napkins.

He set down the bottle and glasses and scurried off to shut the lounge door. While he busied himself in the kitchen, I basked in the heat from the fire which Dan had re-stoked, and observed my rock star with some degree of amusement.

Within a few minutes, he brought a dish of smoked salmon bites to the table, followed by olive bread, a cheese board, various cold meats, olives, pickled anchovies, and prawns with some sort of aioli dip. He popped the cork on the bottle of champagne, poured two glasses, and sat down, satisfied at last.

Now we can eat,” he announced. “Tapas. What do you think?”

I raised my glass. “Cheers,” I giggled. “So that’s what you meant earlier. I think it’s amazing. It’s like a midnight feast. I’m just waiting for matron to discover us and give us detention. Why all the secrecy?”

Dan speared a prawn and pointed it at me. “Well, for one, as you say, matron will certainly come and give us detention. Peter is very strict on my sleep regimen, you see.” He dipped the prawn into the aioli before popping it into his mouth. The beatific look on his face and his scrunched up eyes suggested he was enjoying this humble treat far more than was warranted.

He swallowed and cleared his throat. “And for another, I’m on a strict diet. Every last bit of cheese gets weighed, the carbohydrates counted, the sugar added up. It’s really tedious.” He grimaced.

I helped myself to some bread and salmon. “Tedious indeed, I can see that. But why? I thought you were supposed to eat lots and get better.” I chewed greedily, my tummy having given an impressive rumble.

Dan speared another prawn and added a mountain of cheese and bread to his place. “Bliss,” he murmured before explaining further. “I’m supposed to eat healthy, not lots. So Peter has taken it upon himself to reform the bad eating habits of a lifetime. Bless him, it’s what he’s paid to do. I’ve been going along with it, and I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty good. But…”

He grinned his school-boy grin, took a big mouthful of food, washed it down with a large gulp of champagne, and finished his thought. “Well, it gets boring. And I wanted to do something special with you. On my own.”

I burst out laughing, but quieted down when I saw the alarm on Dan’s face.

“Sorry,” I whispered.

“Peter’s bedroom is right next door there,” Dan whispered back. “And he’s a light sleeper.” He pointed his finger, and we sat in silence for a minute, straining to hear.

“I think we’re okay,” Dan finally concluded and resumed eating.

I giggled softly. “Naughty, naughty us.”

“Ha, we’re not naughty yet,” Dan shot back, speaking softly as well. “I was working up to that part.”

He winked, and my heart skipped and jumped. He didn’t mean—he couldn’t mean what I thought he meant?

“What do you mean?” I bumbled, hoping for clarification, but Dan was enjoying himself.

“All in good time,” he teased. “Let’s finish our meal first.”

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3 responses to “Excerpts

  1. If this doesn’t whet the appetite of all your followers to go out and buy all 3 books, I’m a monkey’s uncle (aunt)!! Love it, cannot wait to read more…..wishing 2013 is your year, and wishing you much success with your books and future projects Nicky. Jane x

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