Sometimes, how you react to something unexpected depends entirely on the kind of day you’ve been having.
For Declan Madison, not for any one big reason but thanks to several small ones, it hadn’t been a good day. Ridiculous traffic in central London had resulted in him being late for an important meeting. Then, returning after the meeting to his car, he’d found a deep scratch along the passenger-side panel. Two hours later, following another appointment that had run over by five minutes, he’d picked up a parking ticket.Now, all he really wanted to do upon arriving home was sit down and relax, order a takeaway and watch a bit of mindless TV.
Except that wasn’t going to happen, because Gail had organised one of her dinner parties and it was being held here in his house, which meant he was going to have to be polite to four other couples, who would spend the evening quizzing him about property prices and competing to show off about their holidays, their cars and everything else they’d achieved in their wonderful lives.
Because Gail’s friends were drawn from a group Declan privately referred to as the Perfects. The women tended to be thin and brittle, the men paunchy and rich. They attended charitable events, but mainly for the purpose of being seen to be charitable; there didn’t appear to be much genuine concern for those whose lives were less wonderful than their own.
Anyway, nothing he could do about it now; downstairs was a hive of activity as the caterers prepared the meal and Gail oversaw the table arrangements.
‘Darling, you’re late, you need to go and get changed.’ She pointed upstairs when she saw Declan in the hallway. ‘Drinks at seven thirty. I need you down here by quarter past.’
‘Fine.’ He collected up the little pile of post waiting for him on the hall table. ‘What are we having?’
‘Smoked trout salad. And fillet of pork with Dijon sauce.’
Dijon sauce. Declan suppressed a sigh. He wasn’t keen on mustard.
Upstairs, he kicked off his shoes and threw himself on to the bed. He was very fond of Gail, and she had some great qualities, but her enthusiasm for arranging dinner parties wasn’t one of them. What would she do if he fell asleep and didn’t appear?
OK, he already knew the answer to that question.
He sifted through the post, arranging the envelopes in order of interest. Bill … bank statement … yet another parking fine … car brochure … and finally something in a proper envelope with handwriting on the front.
Actual handwritten handwriting, at that.
He tore it open, mildly intrigued; who even sent letters, these days, written by hand?
Well, this person, evidently. He unfolded the good-quality sheets of pale green writing paper and took an instinctive liking to whoever’s handwriting it was.
The next moment a name jumped out at him and his heart did a double beat. What? Jo? But how could the letter be from her, when it wasn’t her writing?
And then he began to read.
I cannot wait to find the time to read You and Me, Always at some stage myself as Emma has already read and reviewed it on the blog. You and Me, Always is out now in eBook and Hardcover and will be available in paperback format on 16th June.