Meet Robert Armstrong from Only You

Robert Armstron from Only You

Robert Armstrong is 40 and is a handsome actor who the paparazzi and most red blooded females and males want a piece of. Originally, he thought it would be easier to only date actresses but as his career progressed he didn’t like being in, and being referred to as, one half of a celebrity couple. It caused friction and lead to the break up of that relationship and made him realise he needed to be with someone who wasn’t famous in any way and who could look past the characters he’s played and just see him.

Jane Hollinger is divorced, dumped horribly by her philandering husband and not in any hurry to start dating again. She’s perfectly happy with her quiet life teaching family history evening classes.

Normally their paths would never have crossed, but when Robert lands the role of a genealogist, he starts to attend Jane’s classes to help with research into the part. When he begins to delve into his family tree, he uncovers a mystery and asks Jane for help. It’s the start of an on/off romance where Robert isn’t used to having to chase and almost beg a woman to go out with him. Robert isn’t vain, he’s just never had a woman actually run away from him before!

Like Jane, Robert has personal issues he hasn’t dealt with and he doesn’t like accepting advice from anyone. Attempting to deal with his feelings for Jane brings out the worst in him, which he hates, and it doesn’t help matters that it all takes place inside and on the covers of Britain’s many celebrity gossip magazines. Will Robert persuade Jane to learn to trust again and get used to the pressures of living with him in the public eye?

 Jane Hollinger is divorced and the wrong side of thirty – as she puts it. Her friends are pressuring her to dive back into London’s dating pool, but she’s content with her quiet life teaching family history evening classes.

Robert Armstrong is every woman’s fantasy: handsome, charming, rich and famous. When he asks her to meet him, she convinces herself it’s because he needs her help with a mystery in his family tree. Soon she realises he’s interested in more than her genealogical expertise. Now the paparazzi want a piece of Jane too.

Can Jane handle living — and loving — in the spotlight?

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Read An Excerpt From Chapter Two…

An hour and twenty minutes later, Jane was sitting in The Crown – a pub she had never been in before – nursing a pineapple juice. Five minutes passed. Then five more. She was on the verge of leaving when she saw ‘Mitch’ weaving his way through the tables towards her.

“Sorry, Jane,” he said. “I had trouble finding a parking space.” There was still no trace of the Cockney accent. “Let me get you a drink. Same again?”

“Pineapple juice, thank you.”

He returned with two pineapple juices. As he sat down, he went to rub his bloodshot eyes, then clearly thought better of it and grimaced.

“I’m sorry for deceiving you,” he began. “And I’m even more sorry for frightening you the way I did. I come to the classes straight off the set. I frighten myself sometimes when I look in the mirror.”

“You frighten the hell out of me…” Her voice tailed off as she realised she still didn’t know his real name.

“Robert. Robert Armstrong.”

She stared at his outstretched hand. No, it couldn’t be. He, or rather the character he played in her favourite TV series, had been the first man to make her blush since Tom had left. Both Mags and Carol teased her unmercifully over it.

She continued gawping at his hand. Like his face, there was something not quite right about it. Then the penny dropped. It was makeup. Her gaze travelled up his arm. There was makeup there, too. Bloody hell, he was covered in the stuff. Every bare patch of skin was lathered in what looked like very pale foundation. Relieved it was only makeup and not some kind of bizarre skin disease, she finally reached out and shook his hand.

“The other night… I was watching The Lady of the Woods.” For the ten millionth time.

“I see. Good. I hope you enjoyed it?”

“It is you, isn’t it – as Simon Moore?”

“Yes, it’s me.”

“Your makeup person deserves an Oscar.”

He laughed. “I’ll tell her that.”

“Because you look atrocious.”

“Thank you,” he replied.

She flushed. “Sorry. That was a bit rude. You’re a bit of a Daniel Day-Lewis, then? You have to be the person you’re playing?”

“No, not really, but I wanted to keep the accent up. Mitch Barnes was a real East End lad, and I’m not.”

“Go on then.”

He smiled and took a sip of pineapple juice. “How did you find out?”

“My sister looked up Michael ‘Mitch’ Barnes on the Internet,” she said and he made an ‘ah’ face.

“Why family history classes?” she asked, lifting her glass to her lips.

“I start filming a feature-length TV drama next month. About a genealogist.”

She almost inhaled her drink. “You’re joking?” she croaked and coughed to clear her throat. “I mean, I know genealogy is popular at the moment, but a feature-length TV drama? I suppose there are lots of murders and bigamy and other juicy stuff to bring in the viewers?”

“There’s one murder. I play a genealogist, hired by a female solicitor who is acting on behalf of a very rich client, now deceased. The solicitor needs proof that a claimant to the estate really is a descendant of her client.”

“Oh.”

He grinned. “You don’t sound too impressed.”

“No doubt he gets involved with the solicitor?”

“No doubt about that at all. He has flings with the solicitor and the claimant.”

She fought back a groan. It sounded like they’d based this character on her ex-husband and she had to fight the urge to ask if the genealogist’s name was Tom.

“Hey, look,” he said, rubbing the corners of his eyes. “It’s a TV drama. But I did want to try and get a feel for why people want to trace their ancestry. I mean, Dave is doing it because he knows he won’t be having children of his own, while Diana is doing it especially for her children and grandchildren…” Tailing off, he shook his head. “Sorry.” He smiled apologetically. “But my eyes are killing me.”

“When are you finished filming this gangster series?”

“Tomorrow. And it can’t come soon enough. I’ve spent a fortune on eye drops.”

“You need to take those contact lenses out. Maybe we should go?” she suggested, despite a huge reluctance to leave.

“I’m sorry but, yes.” He blinked and rolled his eyes. “Can I walk you to your car?”

“Yes, thanks,” she said, getting to her feet and smiled as Robert helped her into her coat. A young woman at the next table watched his every move as though she was expecting him to run off with not only Jane’s coat but her bag, too. “Thank you.”

They left the pub, more people staring at them as they passed.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a TV drama about a genealogist before,” she told him as they strolled along the street. “What does the genealogist in your drama look like? Is he a bit of a stereotypical geek?”

“Oh, he’s just a normal bloke. Normal clothes, no glasses or contact lenses.”

She thought of Tom again, then banished him to the back of her mind.

She stopped at her car and he watched as she unlocked and opened the door. “Will you be back next week?” she couldn’t help but ask, grabbing the door as it began to swing shut.

“I hope so, why?”

“Well, you won’t be dressed like that.”

He smiled. “No, I’ll be myself for once.”

“Good,” she said, gripping the car door so tightly she was sure she was denting it.

He leant forward as if intending to kiss her cheek then jerked back, opened his eyes wide, then squeezed them closed. “Sorry.”

“Go,” she told him. “Get rid of those awful lenses.”

He nodded. “I will, I promise. Goodnight.

Only You by Lorna Peel

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