Title: Round and Round
Author: Terry Tyler
Four Valentine cards – from four different men Sophie Heron’s fortieth birthday is looming, and she is fed up with her job, her relationship, her whole life – not to mention her boyfriend’s new ‘hobby’, in which she definitely doesn’t want to get involved… Back in 1998 she had the choice of four men, and now she can’t help wondering how her life might have turned out if she’d chosen differently. Sophie still misses her late Auntie Flick, her second mother, friend and advisor - and guardian angel. As Sophie’s fortieth birthday draws near, she visits their special place: a tree by a river, hidden from the world. Here she calls on Auntie Flick to show her the way forward – and help her look back into the past so she can see what might have been…
St Valentine’s Day fell on a Saturday, and on Friday morning she received the first card at her hotel. On the back of the envelope was written ‘not to be opened before Saturday’, of which she took no notice.
The card showed a rough charcoal impression of a single rose, the petals coloured in deep crimson. No words, except those inside: ‘Love, and Art ~ S x’.
She couldn’t help feeling slightly disappointed that the message was not more effusive, though it was, of course, terribly romantic.
When she got to work, there were two more cards in her morning post.
The first was a black and white photograph of a 1920s couple dancing underneath the moon; inside were the words ‘Shall we dance together at twilight?’ Underneath, Neil had written, ‘Don’t be a stranger. N xx’.
Two kisses, one more than Seb’s. It wasn’t a Valentine card, in that it didn’t feature red roses, pink sparkly hearts or cute teddy bears smooching, but she knew its significance. How clever of Neil to choose a Valentine card that wasn’t a Valentine card.
She hadn’t seen him since Hay Fever finished, though he’d phoned to ask if she was going to audition for the next production. She’d felt embarrassed and guilty about how pleased this call had made her, but had answered that she wasn’t sure, as she was very busy; to say more might give him hope for something not to be.
The second card was a funny, cartoon one. A couple walking hand in hand into the sunset, with hearts above their heads.
‘I know I shouldn’t be sending a card to a mate’s girlfriend’, Kieran had written inside, ‘but what the hell – you only live once, and I’d love you to be beside me when I take off down life’s freeway this spring!’ He’d written his name and mobile phone number after the message, then the words, ‘I’m serious. Just say the word’.
Her first reaction was: what a cheek! Fancy sending a Valentine card to a friend’s girlfriend.
Her second one was: he’s seeing what he wants and going for it, like I’ve learnt do, lately. Life not being a dress rehearsal, and all that.
Then, to her great surprise, she felt her face crumple up. Her colleagues in the staff room moved forward with gestures of concern as they realised she was crying, but she waved them off, dashed to the loo and locked herself into a cubicle, where she let the tears flow freely.
Her tears were not those of self-pity, but of self-disgust. What the hell was she playing at? She had a loving boyfriend, and not only was she carrying on a serious affair behind his back, but also giving out signals to two other men, sufficient to make them think they might be in with a chance. And all because of the giddy rush of losing three stone. There were plenty of women far more gorgeous than she would ever be, who were decent, and faithful. She was behaving like a greedy child on an open day in a sweet factory, gorging on everything on offer until she was sick. This had to stop. All of it. She would break it off with Seb, stop flirting with Neil, and she would never see Kieran again.
A little voice in the back of her head whispered: but Chris cheated on you, didn’t he? Which was when she realised that she never had quite forgiven him, whatever she said to the contrary. And why should she give up her friendship with Neil? They were just mates, nothing had ever happened. As for Kieran – well, if she was single, if Chris and Seb didn’t exist, she might well chuck in everything and head out to the great blue yonder with him.
Tomorrow morning there would be a fourth Valentine card, the large pink and red one with ‘To my girlfriend’ on the front. There would be roses, too.
Sophie wiped her eyes. She couldn’t keep mucking people around like this, playing with their emotions. She needed to either forgive Chris (which should be easier, now they were even), or, if she couldn’t, end it, and consider one of the others.
Okay. Which, then?
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
Aren't we all fascinated by the idea of what might have happened, had we chosen the other path or turned a different corner? In Round and Round, Sophie is allowed insight into what might have been, and in some cases finds that, rather than missing out, she actually had a lucky escape! It's a light, short, fun beach read.
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 51 books featured in the Beach Reads Bookish Event:
Runs July 17 – 22, 2020.
Winner will be drawn on July 30, 2020.
Terry Tyler is the author of twenty-one books available from Amazon, the latest being the dystopian 'Wasteland'. She is currently working on 'The Visitor', a post-apocalyptic murder mystery set in the same world as her Project Renova series. Proud to be independently published, she is also an avid reader, and a member of Rosie Amber's Book Review Team. Terry interests include history, and all things post-apocalyptic. She loves TV binges (especially The Walking Dead, scifi and crime), Twitter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.
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