I write pure escapism, total fantasy; sexy, steamy, sometimes quite dark romance. And sometimes with more than a nod to my northern English roots.
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Too Much Trouble in Paradise - Sample Chapter from my Tenerife-based rom com!
darts could pay quite nicely if you played well enough, and by the time Paul
and I were spending most days shouting at each other and sleeping in separate
bedrooms he was earning fairly good money on the circuit. Which meant I hadn’t done too badly out of
our divorce. I’m really not one to bear
grudges but I wanted to bleed that bastard dry at one point, when the pain of
losing him was still incredibly raw and I hated everything about him. But then I grew up, settled things like an
adult and took what was rightfully mine, which wasn’t a bad amount of money –
we’d been together over seven years, after all, and married for five of
those. I’d loved him for all of them,
despite of what he’d done. I just
couldn’t live with him anymore, not when he spent every day believing his own
hype. The darts groupies were welcome to
him and yes, they do exist. Good
looking, sexy darts players are pretty thin on the ground so when one appears
on the scene it’s like they can pick up his scent from miles away and they’re
onto him like dogs on heat. It’s quite
scary. I’d laugh about it if it hadn’t
been my husband they’d been tracking down.
But thanks to
his cash I’d bought myself a beautiful little villa in Costa Adeje, a resort
I’ve fallen in love with. It’s small,
upmarket, and quiet, and not that far from Playa De Las Americas – the party
area of Tenerife – but it’s a whole different
world away in reality. Whenever anyone
mentions Tenerife, Las Americas can sometimes
be the first place they think of and there are still people out there who
assume the whole island has that image, that it’s just bars and clubs and
partying until the early hours. But
there’s so much more to it than that. Tenerife is an island of contrasts and there really is
something there for everyone, 365 days of the year. I’m in love with the place, and in love with
my own little corner of this island.
into my villa just over a month ago, and so far it’s going ok, because he’s
nothing like Paul. He tidies up after
himself, shares the cooking, thinks of me all the time. Like I said before, sometimes he’s too good
to be true. I was lucky to get a cup of
tea out of Paul on our anniversary, if he wasn’t at a tournament. I get tea and so much more from Antonio.
The villa itself
is on a small and private residential complex situated slightly back from the
sea front, but because we’re built on a hill we have amazing views of the sea
and La Gomera, a neighbouring Canarian island.
It’s not a huge house but it’s big enough. It’s got two floors with the ground floor
practically all open plan - something quite common here because of the heat -
with huge French windows giving us the most of that view, and a small but
beautiful little terrace and garden area with a splash pool and a wealth of
pink and purple bougainvillea. It’s my
haven, my little piece of heaven, somewhere I can come to to get away from everything. Thank you Paul Parker. You did something right.
“What have you
got planned for today?” Antonio asked, coming out of the en-suite shower room
with just a white towel wrapped around his extremely well-toned waist. He has one hell of a body. Nothing like Paul’s. I mean, Paul wasn’t exactly lacking in any
department but he’s not built like Antonio.
He’s not as tall, he’s more of a slight build, and he doesn’t have the
tan. He does have tattoos though, and I
always found those incredibly sexy. Antonio doesn’t have tattoos but he does have
a six-pack you can’t take your eyes off and biceps I love running my fingers
over. I do love a sexy arm. It’s something of a turn-on for me, I have to
“Fran and I are
just going down to the sea front; maybe have a spot of lunch, go for a bit of a
walk. We might venture into La
Caleta. They’ve got some lovely little
fish restaurants there.”
coming over to me and slipping his arms round my waist, kissing me
quickly. He smelt of lemon and honey and
if I hadn’t promised Fran I’d spend Sunday with her I’d have thrown him back
onto the bed and held him prisoner there for the rest of the day.
“Well, if you’re
going to La Caleta you will be passing Paco’s, won’t you?”
smiling too, playing with the top of his towel, loosening it slightly. I knew what I was doing and he wasn’t putting
up much of a fight.
“So, are you
going to come and see your fiancé at work?” he asked, pulling me closer.
I replied, wishing I hadn’t spent so long on my hair that morning because it
was obviously going to get messed up any second now.
“You play hard
to get, Molly,” he smiled. I loved that
smile. Perfect teeth in a perfect
face. He really was extraordinarily
But, hard to
I’d hate to see his interpretation of fast and loose because right now I
was about as hard to get as a three-legged tortoise being chased by Speedy
Gonzalez. I’d never been hard to get. One
quite exciting twelve dart finish on the first night we’d met was all it had
taken for Paul to get me up against the wall of his Aunty Mary’s spare bedroom
for sex the memory of which still makes me shiver now, that’s how hard to get I
can be. Christ, that makes me sound as bad
as those darts groupie’s I was talking about before, but boy, it had been
good. It had been very good. Not sure his Aunty Mary had shared our
excitement though. I can still remember
her yelling up the stairs at us to keep the noise down ‘cos she couldn’t hear
Question Time for the banging.
I pulled away
from Antonio slightly, those fleeting memories of Paul somehow killing the
mood, which didn’t escape Antonio’s notice.
“Are you alright,
Molly?” he asked, gently touching my shoulder as I stared out at the clear blue
sea, focusing on the jet skis and the boats out in the distance.
“I’m fine.” I turned around and smiled at him. It wasn’t his
fault I was having unwelcome flashbacks of life with Love Rat Parker, darts
bastard and all round cheating prick.
Maybe it was just because all this wedding planning was bringing back
memories that I was going to have to learn to file away at the back of my
mind. Nobody had said it was going to be
“You can talk to
me, you know that, don’t you? If you
have something on your mind. I am always
I kissed him
slowly, letting him hold me tight, letting him erase those memories with that
wonderful voice of his as I shut my mind to anything else except what was
happening here. Paul was my past,
Antonio was my future and I wasn’t going to let my inability to forget ruin
everything I had now. I was going to
marry Antonio, and I was going to have a future here in Tenerife. So, grabbing hold of Antonio’s towel I ripped
it away from that incredible body of his and ceased caring about the state of
my hair. Fran was just going to have to
La Caleta is a
small, quaint little fishing village just a short walk along the beach from
Costa Adeje with fabulous fish restaurants and a lovely, calming
atmosphere. It’s mainly residential with
just one hotel, and it’s the perfect place for a peaceful walk away from the
majority of tourists.
Neither Fran nor
I had mentioned what she’d said the other day, about me still being in love
with Paul, because it’s ridiculous. I’m
not. I don’t know where she’s got that
idea from and I think she’d guessed that it was something I didn’t really want
to talk about so she’s dropped it, for now.
She’s known me long enough to know when to let things go but then I’ve
also known her long enough to know that she won’t keep quiet for long, that’s
just not her. If she’s got something on
her mind that she wants to say she’ll say it, whether anyone else likes it or
not so I’m bracing myself for a reprisal.
It would just be nice not to have it today because we were having a
lovely Sunday afternoon. It was sunny
and warm and we’d just had the most perfect lunch of fresh sardines and
Canarian potatoes with a bottle of gorgeous, dry white wine between us (it’s
early, we don’t do one each until at least 7pm!) in a little fish restaurant
overlooking the sea. We’d talked about
the barbeque Jo’s organising and whether or not we should start Christmas
shopping yet, but not about Paul. I’d
quite like it to stay that way, too.
I’ve got a wedding to finish arranging and I can’t do it with him on my
As we walked
slowly back along the sea-front path that leads down onto the beach we could
feel the sun warm on our backs, both of us a little light headed from the wine
and it was a lovely feeling. Weekends
here are so different to anything we used to have back home. Back in the U.K. a Saturday or Sunday usually
meant shopping or cleaning or, when Paul and I had been together, travelling to
some darts tournament or another, but here everything is just so much more
relaxed, less hectic, less stressful. I
loved the weekends here and I’m not sure I could ever go back to what I had
before. Not all of it, anyway.
We decided to
visit our favourite little beach bar for a coffee before we started the walk
back to Costa Adeje but as we looked down onto the sand below us, things seemed
to have got a little bit more hectic than they had been when we’d passed it on
our way here a couple of hours ago.
Something was going on, something that seemed to be attracting quite a
bit of attention and we both leaned over the railings that faced the beach,
shielding our eyes from the afternoon sun as we tried to get a better look at
what was happening.
cameras?” Fran asked. “They weren’t
there when we walked past before, were they?”
“No, they weren’t.” I squinted slightly as I watched the crowd
around the beach bar below us grow larger, people seemingly appearing from
nowhere to get a closer look at the activity.
“It looks like they’re just setting up.”
I turned round as a large blue van pulled up beside us and people
hurriedly started pulling big metal boxes from the back, carrying everything
from lights to big mounds of cables down onto the beach. Years of working in a media department at a
university back home told me this was definitely some kind of film or TV shoot
and I was curious now, the nosy part of me wanting to know exactly what was
going on. So I walked over to the van,
smiling at a dark haired young man who was ticking things off on a clipboard as
people continued to unload equipment.
He turned to
look at me, smiling a friendly smile as I stood there with my hands in the
pockets of my denim shorts. “You want to
know what’s going on, don’t you,” he asked, sticking his pen behind his ear.
“Kinda, yeah.” He looked over onto the beach, where the last
of the equipment was being carried down, and slammed shut the doors of the van,
shoving his clipboard into the bag he had slung over his shoulder. “It’s filming for Simon Sutherland’s new TV
series. We’re shooting here in Tenerife for a few weeks.
Not a bad gig this one,” he grinned, before running off in the direction
of the beach.
I walked back
over to Fran, who was still watching the goings on down on the sand.
“Have you seen
who’s down there?” she said, not taking her eyes off what was happening.
Sutherland, I know. They’re filming his
new TV series here on the island.”
was a somewhat posh British TV actor, known mainly for his portrayals of good
looking, upper class characters in costume dramas. Tall, dark and about as handsome as you can
get in an incredibly arrogant kind of way, he made his name in a popular soap
opera playing a particularly unconvincing bad guy – my Paul plays a bad guy
better than Simon Sutherland ever has and he’s only throwing a few darts in a
room full of drunken spectators and I really must stop calling him my
Paul, it’s becoming a very irritating habit – but for some reason somebody saw
something in Mr Sutherland that must’ve passed the rest of us by because he was
given a role in a Sunday evening costume drama that turned him into one of the
country’s biggest, and most fanciable, TV stars. Personally, he doesn’t do it for me. I always think he just plays himself because
whether he does costume drama or not he always seems to come across as an
egotistical middle class snob, but then, what do I know? The closest I’ve
ever got to acting was when I dressed up in an arse-skimming PVC nurses uniform
from Ann Summers for Paul’s 30th and I can’t begin to tell you what
we did with that syringe but it took every ounce of my acting talent to let him
do it. It was his birthday after all.
Anyway, all I do
know is that Simon Sutherland has a reputation with the ladies, and he’s never
usually seen without one hanging off his arm.
He apparently goes for brunettes but I’m sure he’s not overly fussy, as
long as they’re beautiful and look good beside him – although, not that good. I also hear he’s not one to be upstaged. He’s never been married, plays the bachelor playboy
to the letter and drives one of those cars that single middle-aged men usually
drive when they’re trying to pull something younger. Enough said.
“Shall we go
down and have a look?” Fran asked, suddenly turning into something resembling
over-excited and star-struck. She’d
never told me she fancied Simon Sutherland before. Mind you, she’s starting to fancy anything
with a pulse at the minute so Simon Sutherland is probably right up there in
“I don’t really
feel like it, Fran.” And I didn’t. Suddenly I just wanted to get to Paco’s and
give Antonio a big, long kiss. I was
thinking about Paul far too much lately and that was probably because I was
spending far too much time away from my lovely Spanish fiancé. I just wanted to sit down with him and talk
about our wedding. There was still so
much to be sorted out and we were only weeks away now so if I didn’t get a
shift on Antonio’s mother was going to start taking over and I had absolutely
no desire to go into battle over table settings with her. I didn’t have the energy.
“Oh, come on,
Molly,” Fran said, grabbing my hand and pulling me down onto the path that led
to the beach. “We’ve got to walk past
the bar on our way back to Adeje anyway so we might as well see what’s going
“I’ve told you
what’s going on…Fran! Hang on will you!”
I had to run to
keep up with her as she dragged me down onto the sand in almost indecent
haste. She hadn’t ran that fast since
the time she thought she’d seen Jason Orange in Pizza Hut on a shopping trip to
Manchester in 2007. I was beginning to
wish Dave would just haul her down to the laundry room and have his way with
her amongst the piles of discarded beach towels because it was evidently what
she squealed, stopping dead in front of me causing me to run right into her and
almost send the pair of us flying! “He’s
over there! And he’s even sexier in the
flesh than he is on TV!”
I looked at
her. I’d really had no idea that she
fancied Simon Sutherland. And I thought
she told me everything. “Since when did
you start finding him sexy?”
“Since he played
an MI5 agent last January in that TV drama.
Did you not see that shower
I wrinkled up my
nose as I tried to remember the programme she was talking about, but at the
time it had been broadcast Paul and I had been in the middle of heated
negotiations as to who was getting the Queen CD boxed set so it had probably
passed me by.
“He’s just not
my type, Fran. And I had no idea he was
“I wouldn’t kick
him out of bed for eating toast.”
“I’m sure you
wouldn’t. But two days ago I thought you
felt exactly the same way about Tinseltown Tony so forgive me for thinking
you’re erring on the side of desperation here.”
listening to me; she was now standing gawping like some demented, love-sick
teenager as Simon Sutherland flashed what can only be described - in my eyes
anyway - as a smarmy smile at the ever-increasing throng of women who’d
gathered around him, flinging themselves at him like they’d never been near a
bloke before, although judging by the state of some of them they’d certainly
never been near a bloke like him
dreamy?” Fran sighed.
I couldn’t have
been more relieved as a middle-aged man wearing a head-set and a rather unbecoming
floral shirt started asking people to move back away from the set and I finally
managed to drag Fran off in the direction of sanity and Paco’s for a much
needed cup of coffee. She seemed to have
regained her composure by the time we arrived and I left her sitting at our
usual table texting Connie and Jo, doubtless about the fact Tenerife had a bit
of a celebrity gracing it with his presence for a few weeks.
I walked over to
the bar where Antonio was drying some wine glasses. He looked up as he saw me, smiling that smile
as I leaned over the bar to kiss him slowly.
Just what I needed. Normality.
“Had a nice
day?” he asked, flinging the tea towel he’d been using over his shoulder as he
turned to get some cups for mine and Fran’s coffee.
“Not bad.” I couldn’t be bothered to tell him about the
appearance of Simon Sutherland. Antonio
wouldn’t care anyway. He was only famous
in the U.K.
and it was highly unlikely anyone except the British holidaymakers would know
or care about who he was and what he was doing here. “But it’s just got better now I’ve seen you.”
again. “My mother has been on the ‘phone,
Molly. She wants to know if you have
your dress sorted. She’s coming over in
two weeks and if you still need some help she can bring along my cousin Rosa,
she’s a dressmaker. She can give you
some advice if you need it.”
I didn’t. I’d already chosen my dress when Fran and I
had popped back over to England
for her brother Billy’s wedding so that was one job done. No interference from anyone else and I was
trying to keep it that way for as long as I possibly could. My family weren’t involved in my life at all,
in fact, I hadn’t spoken to my mum in years after a falling out over a row
about my dad’s affair with a barmaid from the Flying Horse. But they’d never really been what you’d call
attentive parents, even though I was an only child. I’d learnt to stand on my own two feet from
an early age and that’s the way I liked it.
So I wasn’t used to any assistance when it came to organising things,
but I was fast learning that the Spanish were very family orientated indeed,
and it was something I was just going to have to get used to.
“She is also
wondering when we are going to give her her first grandchild.”
Whoa there, mister, I thought. Who mentioned anything about kids? Had I not told him about my diversion to
small people? Could have sworn I’d said
something so maybe he was just choosing to forget it. Well, he was going to have to start
remembering very soon or we were going to be having words.
of time for that, isn’t there?” I said,
fiddling with a beer mat on the bar as Antonio frothed our coffee.
the time my mother was your age she’d had five children,” he shouted over the
noise of the milk steamer.
wanted to say, well she should have kept
her legs shut more but decided against it.
you are getting no younger, Molly.”
sod! Like I need reminding of that. I was suddenly being surrounded by
conversations I had no interest in, and as far as kids were concerned I never
would. I wasn’t in the least bit
maternal, and that was probably my mother’s fault ‘cos neither was she.
turned round and placed our coffees down on the bar, picking up on my change of
mood. He tilted up my chin and gently
kissed my mouth.
not worry about my mother,” he smiled, stroking a strand of hair from my
eyes. “We do whatever makes us happy, nobody else.”
but was he going to tell her that
because she was a formidable woman, his mother.
His dad had legged it all the way to Fuengirola once just for a bit of
peace after he’d lost an argument with her over floor tiles. You just didn’t mess with Senora
I was suddenly
beginning to feel more than a little bit stressed but I smiled back at Antonio,
knowing he loved me, knowing he wanted to make me happy, even though we’d only
been together a short time. And I loved
him back, he was everything I needed right now but sometimes I wished we could
just run off to Gibraltar or somewhere and get married on our own, just the two
of us, with no family around to interfere.
But there was no way anyone around here was going to let that happen.
kissed him gently, feeling his fingers tighten around mine and as he pulled
away slightly and whispered something dirty in my ear – in Spanish, some things
I recognised without any trouble – I relaxed slightly. How could I not? He was gorgeous and kind and mine. He was all mine, and all I had to do was
relax and look forward to becoming Mrs Hernandez. That’s all I had to do. And surely even I was capable of that.