Friday, December 6, 2019

Blog Tour- Sally by L. Moone

SALLY: A Steamy Chick Lit Novella

Undateables, #3 by L. Moone Publication Date: December 2, 2019 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Romance


I don’t do relationships. I don’t do love.
The closest thing I have to a soulmate is my best friend and colleague, Becky, and I don’t even share myself with her. To me, men are fun playthings to be enjoyed in small doses. Luckily, Mark – my latest conquest, as well as our manager at work – seems to like it that way too.
One day my carefree existence is interrupted when a ghost from my past makes an appearance. My ex Gareth has tracked me down at work, and my world threatens to crumble. Old wounds are ripped open, and painful secrets are about to be exposed. I thought I was over him, but my once strong facade threatens to break down. On top of that, Gareth’s appearance has made Mark jealous, adding awkwardness to what was previously a perfectly casual affair.
Why is it that the harder I try to ignore these complications, the worse I feel? No matter how hard I try to run from it, the past is intent on catching up with me. Perhaps now it’s time to admit that it wouldn’t be so bad to confide in someone. To rely on someone other than myself.
Sally is the third book in L. Moone’s Undateables series. This women’s fiction novella features themes of loss, gender-nonconformity and plenty of colourful (British English) language.


“Sally and you are close, so what do you think the story is?” Cath asks.
“I dunno, she hasn’t let on,” Becky responds. “She doesn’t exactly share stuff, you know.”
Fuck, here we go.
Both have their backs turned towards me, but Elaine, who’s so far just been listening in has spotted me and started shuffling uncomfortably from one foot to the next.
“Don’t mind me, I’m just going to do some actual work,” I remark and nod at them, just as the two busybodies turn with guilty expressions on their faces.
“I’m sorry, Sal. But you’re being so mysterious that we can’t help ourselves.” Becky plops down next to me and repeatedly tries to push a lock of her stubborn hair behind her ear, to no avail.
“He was hot though, that Gareth guy.”
I shrug, trying to block my old memories of him. As disinterested as I am in those fragments of the past, I care even less to find out how hot or otherwise he is currently. Deep breaths. Some asshole from forever ago cannot hurt me anymore!
“Elaine seems to have a thing for tats. Kept using the phrase ‘the hawtness’ so often it almost became tiresome,” Becky says, then pauses for a moment before patting me on my upper arm. “Anyway, screw that. Have you seen Mark around? He asked me to pull a report first thing this morning, and now he’s nowhere to be found.”
“No flipping clue.” Who am I, his minder? “Why don’t you ask Cath.”
“Already did, but she hadn’t seen him either,” Becks responds.
I turn on my PC, and shuffle around the papers on my desk in an attempt to look busy, but Becky’s eyes continue to burn into me.
“OK, Sal. I won’t ask what’s wrong because you’d rather choke on it than tell me, but you’re not fooling anyone.”
I sigh and rub my temples. Goddamn Becky and her habit of always saying exactly what comes to mind. Shame she doesn’t know when to let things be.
“I’m glad you’re not going to ask.”
“Alright then.”
She pulls her chair closer to her workstation and pretends to be productive for a few minutes as well, before coming back towards me.
“Hey, shall we make a plan to go out? Just the two of us, no boys? I promise not to bring up anything you don’t want to talk about.” Her eyes have lit up and it’s hard not to get swept up in her sudden mood swing.
A smile forms on my lips too, despite myself. Perhaps a girls’ night out is just what I need. It would certainly beat sitting at home, driving myself crazy wondering why Gareth is trying to get in touch all of a sudden. Becky and I will have a few rounds, chat for a bit, be silly like we used to be. If only she can stop being so nosy and just focus on having fun.
“OK, sure.”
“Sally, my office?” says Mark, who turned up behind us out of nowhere. “Nice flowers.”
“Right.” I confidently push my chair back, hoping I at least come across somewhat normal. Wonder what he wants.
Becky’s eyes meet mine when I get up, but she somehow manages to contain herself and her quick tongue. The last thing I need today is her smart-ass remarks making an awkward situation even worse.
“Yes?” I ask, unable to decide whether to enter his office fully, or if this is something that can be gotten over with quickly.
“Please close the door,” Mark says, trying to sound casual. Still, my pulse starts racing immediately. I hope and pray that this isn’t a follow-up from last night, because I’m dangerously close to losing it again.
Still, I do as he says and wait in front of his desk until he finishes scribbling something on a notepad. He gestures at me to sit down, which I do as well.
“I wanted to apologise. I was out of line yesterday.” No shit.
“I’m sorry too. It’s a tricky subject for me.”
“Hopefully it won’t affect us working together?” He looks me straight in the eye, and yet I can’t tell what he’s thinking. It freaks me out when people act so guarded.
“Not at all.” I shift uncomfortably in my seat. “It need not necessarily need to affect anything else either.”
There’s no change in his expression, no twitch or blink. He gives nothing away.
“Thanks, that’s all then.”
Stunned, it takes me a few seconds of staring at him writing more nonsense scribbles onto his notepad to realise I’ve been excused rather abruptly. Well, fuck you too then.
Back at my desk, I decide to inspect the bouquet Gareth left yesterday, which had already attracted Mark’s attention earlier. It’s in a vase, with water and all, probably thanks to Becky.
I would’ve binned it.
The mixed blooms are colourful, cheery, and very out of character for the Gareth I used to know. All those years ago, he would’ve been more likely to buy me some spiky body jewellery, rather than girly flowers. There’s even an equally girly card attached. Knowing Becky, she’s probably read it already… I might as well…

Dear Sally,
What I did was inexcusable. I am so sorry.
Please allow me this chance to explain. The past eight years have been rough, for you too I imagine, and I’ll understand if you never want to see me again after this.
But I must try and do my bit to make amends.

Rough, eh? For the first few years, that would be the understatement of the century. Lately, things have of course perked up considerably, and it’s hard to imagine putting all that at risk to give him a chance to explain fucking dumping me on what was meant to be the best day of our lives.
I ought to ignore him, avoid him, never speak to him again. Do to him what he did to me.
It’s childish, I know it is. And it wouldn’t be satisfying because the current scenario isn’t nearly as emotionally loaded as how things were when he let me down. What the hell is wrong with him? To think that after abandoning me when I needed him the most, I’d just welcome him back with open arms to let him explain why?
He’s got to be delusional.
It occurs to me that my current state of mind is a lot more productive than yesterday’s shock. Maybe hearing him out wouldn’t be so bad, if I can remain sufficiently angry throughout. Telling him where to shove his explanation might bring me closure.
I stuff the card back into the little envelope and hide it in my desk to prevent anyone else from accessing it too easily. Just when I close the desk drawer, Becky turns up with two cups: tea for her, coffee for me.
“Thought you could use this,” she says, while putting it down on my desk.
“How are things between you and the hair?” She puts extra emphasis on her favourite nickname for Mark, who indeed has the most perfect hair I’ve ever come across in the wild.
Goddamnit, here we go again. If being asked about Gareth was uncomfortable, an interrogation about Mark and I would be a close second. Especially since I can’t figure out why he’s made a complete U-turn since last night.
I can think of only one way to derail this conversation: relying on Becky’s complete inability to contain her own happiness whenever prompted.
“Fine,” I respond. “Say, how come you’re just squeezing me for gossip lately. Why don’t you tell me about your own love life for a change?”
Becky blushes slightly and stares down into her drink while taking a sip.
“Things are great.”
Her eyes dart back and forth between me and the rest of our colleagues, who are far away enough that they couldn’t possibly overhear. That was easy.
“Alex and I are planning to-I probably shouldn’t tell you this.” Becky tries to keep a straight face, but soon a coy smile breaks through anyway. Score!
“Don’t be a tease. Spill.”
“Well I told him I quite like the idea of doing it somewhere less private… Somewhere with more fresh air if you get my drift.” She fidgets with a lock of her hair while speaking. The innocence of that gesture is hilariously out of whack with what she’s just said.
“You want to go dogging?! That’s insanely awesome. Are you planning to get people to watch?” I can’t suppress a grin myself. Former good girl Becky continues to surprise me; she truly has undergone an insane transformation these past few months. What’s even more of a shock is Alex’s willingness to accept the new her. Most men would baulk at some of her ideas.
“I dunno… But a change of scenery would be exciting.”
I lean back, warming my hands on the hot cup.
“Sweet. I’m proud of you, Becks. Hope you don’t mind me saying you were a bit dull earlier, when you were still together with Jeff.”
“I know. That’s all in the past now.” She sniggers to herself and puts her mug down, with that same smile still playing on her lips.
“Good for you.”
I’d never admit it to her in so many words, but at times  I am glad for her how things turned out with Alex. Obviously I had plenty of reservations before, which I’ve been vocal about. The biggest problem I saw was that whole disaster that happened a few weeks ago after they had lunch with her Mum and he seemed to drop off the face of the earth for almost a week.
His reasons were solid, but the poor execution would have made it near impossible for me to forgive him, had I been in Becky’s shoes. She’s a better person than I am.
“So, how about tomorrow night? Just you and me?” Becky says.
“Are you sure you don’t need to ask for permission first,” I tease. “After all, your man might have different ideas.”
“Don’t be a cow.”
“OK. It’s a plan."

Realistic characters, pure emotions, true passion. Everything I write is about the characters: how they interact, what’s going on in their heads, how the passionate relationship develops and affects them. I don’t believe in keeping things hidden, or dressing them up just for show. Some of my characters are potty-mouths, most of them are less than perfect (yes, even physically). I aim to write a happy ending for all of them, without keeping anything behind closed doors.


No comments:

Post a Comment