Meet Jane Hollinger from Only You

andrea-riseborough_zps04353247Jane Hollinger is thirty one and recovering from a devastating divorce. After being dumped by her husband and business partner then discovering he had been having a year-long affair with a client, Jane doesn’t think she will ever recover from the betrayal. She isn’t in any hurry to begin dating again because, as she puts it, she’s the wrong side of thirty. She spends her time teaching family history evening classes and one of her students is a man named Mitch. His strange appearance makes her very nervous but at the same time she is intrigued by him.

After a few classes and encounters with Mitch, Jane discovers that the man who has been sitting at the back of her class is a man she thought she would only see in her dreams. When she discovers his name is Robert Armstrong, one of Britain’s biggest acting stars, she is stunned. Robert asks Jane to help her with an up and coming television role and also to help him with a mystery in his family tree.

Jane and Robert become friends but realise the chemistry between them is too strong to ignore. Jane begins to discover what dating a celebrity is like and Robert gets a taste of the normal life. Then, the British press get wind of their relationship, and Jane must decide whether she can put up with press intrusion and the paparazzi to be with Robert. Find out what she decides in Only You!

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?


“Why do you run away?” he asked quietly. “Do I still frighten you or something?” 

“No.” He just had a habit of turning her into a gibbering wreck.

 “Then why?” 

She felt herself redden. “Because, if you want to date me, I don’t know how,” she admitted. “I haven’t dated anyone since university and that wasn’t even proper dating. Tom took me out to dinner once. We were students; we couldn’t afford to go to restaurants, so it was usually fish and chips or a burger. I don’t know how to date properly, Robert. I’ve never been out with a man your age and it’s mortifying to have to admit it. That’s why I take the easy way out and run. And, apart from that, your ex-girlfriend was everything I’m not.” 

“Which is precisely why she is now my ex.” 

“Why did you split up?” 

“It’s a cliché, but we ended up wanting different things. I’m not into all that ‘let’s see how often we can get in the papers’ stuff. I didn’t like going to clubs or restaurants where there would be photographers outside. She did. I’m an actor, not a celebrity. I hate the whole celebrity thing.” 

“But you’re very famous now,” Jane protested. “And you’ll be even more famous when Mitch Burns is aired. I mean, on the web…” She pulled a face. 

“What on the web?” he asked. 

“You don’t surf the net much?” 

“Not at home, no. Sometimes at Vince’s, he’s a mate of mine. I haven’t even turned my laptop on at the apartment yet. Why?” 

“Um. Well, there are websites dedicated to you. Loads. Some of them are a bit…”

More blood gushed into her cheeks and he rolled his eyes. “Look, I’m just an ordinary bloke.” 

There was nothing ordinary about him. “There are millions of women out there who compete against each other to see who can come up with the best sexual fantasy involving you. That doesn’t really strike me as normal.” 

“Looks like I’ve got some work to do, then.” 


 “I’ll boot up my laptop and dedicate a few websites to you.” 

“What?” she squeaked. “No you bloody won’t! If my parents saw…” 

“You’re beautiful when you’re angry.” 

“And that’s just corny.” 

He shrugged. “That was meant to be a compliment. All right, you look like crap, if that’s what you really want to hear.” 

She snorted and laughed. “Thank you.” 

He inclined his head. “Look, Jane. Just tell me whether I’m wasting my time.” 

“No,” she sighed. “But I think you’re mad.” 

He came slowly towards her and took her hands. “No, I’m not.” 


“Not,” he whispered, then kissed her. “You’re not going to run, are you?” 

“It’s my house.” 

“Ah. Good point. Can I have your mobile number?” 


“Don’t you want me to text you sometime?” He gave her a wink. 

“Sexy ones?” She cringed as soon as the words were out of her mouth. 

“They might be,” he replied mischievously. “So don’t show anyone.” 

They exchanged phones and numbers. 


“Thank you.” He put it back in his jacket pocket and returned hers. “I’ll ring you the odd time, too. Now can I have a peep at these websites about me?” 

Her heart lurched. “No!” 

“Why not?” 

Because the women—and quite a few men—in the guest books, message boards, and forums would queue up to rip your clothes off and handcuff you to the bed so they could smear cream all over you and lick it all off. “Because you’d find some of them a bit embarrassing.” 

“That bad, eh?” 


“Thanks, I think I will.” 

“Won’t be long.”

She went out to the kitchen, switched the kettle on again then leaned heavily on the worktop. Right, let’s get this absolutely straight. Jane Hollinger is in a relationship with Robert Armstrong. She inhaled and exhaled deeply before she reached for the jar of coffee.




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Meet Robert Armstrong from Only You

Robert Armstrong

Robert Armstrong is 38 and is a handsome actor who the paparazzi and most red blooded females 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?


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. The traffic was awful.” 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. 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.”

Jane 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. 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 that 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. 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 Burns 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 Mitch Burns on the Internet.”

Understanding dawned on his face.

“Why family history classes?” she asked.

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




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Only You’s Mags Hollinger – The Sister from Hell?


Sisters, Jane and Mags Hollinger couldn’t be more different. Jane is reserved while Mags speaks before she thinks. Jane teaches family history evening classes while Mags is a journalist on a fashion magazine. Jane is divorced and quite happy to continue living a quiet life while Mags is single and goes to fashion shoots and gets to interview sexy actors.

But under the brash exterior, Mags loves her sister and wants to see Jane happy again. So, she and best friend Carol, buy Jane a subscription to a dating website. But, on discovering that the man of her dreams – actor Robert Armstrong – is one of her students, Jane not surprisingly abandons the dating website.

Reluctantly, Jane does her best to keep her friendship with Robert a secret from Mags knowing her mega mouth sister would blab to all and sundry. Jane dreads her sister ever finding out because Mags knows that Jane has a serious crush on Robert and Jane knows she’ll never hear the end of it.

When Mags does find out about Jane and Robert, she’s furious, hurt and madly jealous. Wisely, Jane allows her sister to vent her anger and once Mags has calmed down, she proves invaluable to Jane. Mags protects and supports Jane when she needs it most and even moves in with her sister to help pay the mortgage. But Mags will always be Mags and Jane knows that sharing a house with her will never be dull!

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?


“Right, come on, shout and swear at me, let’s get it over with.”

Jane stood back and folded her arms.

Instead, Mags just shrugged. “Robert Armstrong, eh? You always like to think that you’re in with a chance, don’t you? It doesn’t do much for your self-esteem to find out that you’re too late, that he already prefers your bloody sister. You are one lucky bitch.”

“Carol said the same.”

“Not one to mince her words, Carol.”

“No. Look, um, Robert apologises for sending the DVD via you. Not one of his best ideas, he said. He’s going to write you a note and apologise properly.”

“I can’t wait. You slept with him yet?”

Heat flooded her face. “Mags, that’s none of your business. This is not a story. Do you understand?”

Mags’ eyebrows shot up. “Is that how little you think of me? That I’d run off toThe World on Sunday and sell them a story about my own sister?”

“I’m sorry.”

“If I did that, I might as well throw you to the wolves. I mean, there are women out there who would tear you limb from limb if they knew that you were Robert Armstrong’s girlfriend. There’s one particular fan site on the net some of the postings even make me blush, and that’s saying something.”

Jane couldn’t remember when she’d last seen Mags blush. “I don’t think I’ve been on that one.”

“Yeah, well, don’t look at it. Not now. This bloke I’m seeing on Friday better be something spectacular.”

“Please tell me that you don’t hate me?” Jane begged.

Mags pulled a face. “I don’t hate you. I’m insanely jealous, but I don’t hate you.”




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Only You’s (Other) Dramas

IMG_0468Only You’s Jane Hollinger loves watching drama, especially television period drama. She loves them so much that she has a huge DVD collection to help her escape from the routine of every day life. She has almost every period drama the BBC has ever produced and is also a huge Johnny Depp fan!

Despite all the period dramas, Jane certainly isn’t a prude. She first notices actor, Robert Armstrong, in The Lady of the Woods – a sexy modern remake of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It doesn’t hold back on sex or nudity and, according to her sister Mags, Jane practically wears out her DVD by going through most of the series frame by frame!

Jane’s favourite novel is an historical called The Hunger set in Ireland at the time of the Great Famine of the 1840s. She knows the period of history inside out – having studied it at university – and she is of Irish descent through her mother, whose family emigrated from Connemara in the west of Ireland during the Famine.

Jane has always imagined Robert as The Hunger’s main character, a landlord called Edward Rowley, and can’t quite believe it when he lands the leading role in an epic TV adaptation. She helps him with all the background research for the role but can’t help but worry as she sits down to watch the preview DVD Robert sends her. What if the adaptation is awful? What if Robert as Edward Rowley isn’t how she pictured him to be? What if she can never read her favourite novel again? You’ll have to read Only You to find out what her reaction is!


“I had some good news today from Marie,” Robert said.


When I finish The Will, my next part is in The Hunger.”

Jane almost dropped her knife and fork.

“The William Simpson novel about the Irish Potato Famine?”

He nodded. “You know it?”

It’s my favourite novel. Will you be playing the landlord? Edward Rowley?”

“Yes, why? What’s the matter? You don’t think I’m right for the part?”

“No! I mean, yes.” She put her cutlery down before she did drop them. “Oh God. Ever since I read it for the first time, you were the only man I could see as Edward Rowley…” She tailed off and blushed furiously. She hadn’t meant to say that much.

“Thanks very much,” he replied dryly. “He’s not exactly a happy chappie, is he?”

“No. Sorry.”

“Do you think about me a lot, Ms Hollinger?” he asked. Jane met his eyes. They sparkled with mischief. “Because when I read the script, and no matter which actress plays the part, you are the only woman I will see as Edward Rowley’s wife.”

“But she doesn’t love him,” Jane whispered.

“No. But he loves her. Very much.”


“Have you ever worn a corset?”

Jane caught her breath and began to cough.

“No?” he continued. “Might have to remedy that sometime!”

“I look forward to it, Mr Armstrong,” she retaliated and he laughed. “Is it film or TV?”

“TV. A six-parter. The BBC and RTÉ, the Irish state broadcaster, are really going to town on it. It’ll be one of the most expensive dramas they’ve ever done.”

“I can’t wait to see it. I did nineteenth-century Irish history at university. Mum’s ancestors were from Ireland. They came to England to escape the Famine. I realised that I knew little or nothing about Ireland so I chose that module. I shouldn’t say that I loved it because it was such a terrible tragedy, but—” She stopped. She was rambling, but it was Robert gazing at her with a gorgeous smile on his face which really stopped her in her tracks.

“You’ll give me a hand with all the background, then?” he asked. “My maternal grandmother was Irish. I know a little bit of Irish history, but what I do know probably only scratches the surface. My great-grandfather’s brother fought in the Irish Civil War, but I know little or nothing about the Famine.”

“Won’t there be researchers or something?”

“Yes, but it’ll be much more interesting coming from you. I mean, if it weren’t for you, what would I know about genealogy?”

“You could have gone out and bought a book,” she teased.

“No, I needed to see why people get so addicted to it and, thanks to you, I have.”




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The Inspiration Behind Only You


Wouldn’t it be amazing to be in a relationship with someone famous? It would be great, wouldn’t it, with parties and premiers, and seeing your picture splashed across the papers and gossip magazines?

But what would it be really like to be in a relationship with someone famous but you wish they weren’t because you are a private person who prefers to live a quiet life? Could you love that famous person enough to be able to put up with the invasion of your privacy? It’s a dilemma and that’s why I created Jane Hollinger so she can try and come to a decision.

Poor Jane. Her self esteem is at rock bottom because her husband had an affair with and then left her for a client. She lives alone with her books and huge DVD collection and doesn’t know if she ever wants to date again. It’s been so long since she’s been on a date that she’s not quite sure if she even remembers how to do it properly and the prospect of going out with someone from the dating website her sister and best friend subscribed her to terrifies her.

Jane wishes that Mags and Carol would just leave her alone. She does go out in the evenings to meet new people – but it’s to teach family history evening classes at the local Adult Education Centre. Little does Jane know that romance will strike when she least expects it. But will she be able to cope with being in a high-profile relationship with a man she’s only dreamed of and the British press?


Fifteen minutes later they were seated at a corner table in The Red Lion, raising glasses of champagne.

“Happy birthday!” Mags produced an envelope with a flourish.

Jane opened it, half expecting a voucher for a beauty salon or a health spa or something subtle like that. Instead, she saw a confirmation e-mail.

Dear Ms Hollinger

Thank you for becoming a member of

Her heart plummeted. “A dating agency?” She just managed to keep the dismay out of her voice.

“An online dating agency,” Mags squealed. “There are thousands of men on there just waiting for you. I mean, look at this one here.” She fished a printout from her bag and thrust it at Jane.

It was the details of a man named Bryan, aged thirty-four, six feet tall, brown eyes. Jane’s eyes were drawn to the photograph. She had to admit he wasn’t bad looking in an I’ve-played-one-too-many-rugby-matches type of way. He had a wrinkly forehead and his nose needed a good bit of reconstructive surgery. “He’s probably used a photo of someone else and doesn’t look anything like this in real life,” Jane muttered.

“People who lie about themselves are thrown off the website.” Carol was solemn as she pulled out another sheet of paper. “This is what we’ve said about you.”

“What?” She grabbed the sheet of paper, almost tearing it.

There she was; Jane Hollinger, aged thirty-one, divorced, five feet eight inches tall, blue eyes, brown hair. Likes history, cinema, reading and socialising. Looking for a man aged thirty to forty for friendship and possibly more.

It could be worse, she supposed, putting it down and taking a sip of champagne. It didn’t make her sound like a complete charity case.

“And you’ve already had some interest,” Mags told her.

“Why didn’t you just auction me off on eBay?”

“Jane, there hasn’t been anyone since Tom,” Carol argued.

“I’ve been busy,” Jane was defensive. “I have to pay a full mortgage now.”

“Okay, fine, we’ll cancel the membership.” Carol began to fold the sheet of paper.

“No, Carol, wait.” She held up her hands apologetically. “It’s just that I thought I was going to be married to Tom forever.” She found a smile from somewhere. “And I’m now in my thirties and single, whether I like it or not. I didn’t mean to sound like such an ungrateful cow. I’m sorry.” Inwardly she cringed when both women smiled sympathetically.

“I know what we’ll do,” Mags announced. She sprang out of her chair, startling the woman at the neighbouring table. “We’ll buy a couple of bottles of wine and we’ll go and surf the net, try and find you the man of your dreams.”

“You’re on!” Jane picked up her glass and drained it.


Jane Hollinger is single, 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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Living in the Public Eye


I must admit that I only read celebrity gossip magazines in the doctor or dentist’s waiting room, oh, and in the Chinese takeaway! I only actually buy one when there is a royal wedding. I don’t even do what Only You’s Jane Hollinger resorts to doing, and start to use the local newsagent as a research library!

Would I like to be featured in one? No, absolutely not, and neither does Jane. It is awful for someone as private as Jane to see her photograph in one of these magazines and it must be equally terrible for her to see someone she knows and cares about being harassed and provoked by paparazzi photographers.

Actor, Robert Armstrong was in a high-profile relationship but now he craves privacy. Most of the publicity was orchestrated by his actress girlfriend but he didn’t like it and it was one of the reasons why he ended their relationship. But it doesn’t alter the fact that he is a famous actor who is in the public eye and, therefore, the paparazzi see him as fair game.

It’s something Jane can’t quite understand, even when it is explained to her in simple terms by her fashion journalist sister, Mags. In Only You, Jane has to ask herself whether she can give up some, if not all, of her privacy to be with Robert. Is it something she is prepared to do? You’ll have to read Only You to find out!


This evening she was spending time with Mags for a change. She’d been neglecting her sister a bit lately. The magazine on the top of the pile was Total Gossip. Total Crap, more like. She picked it up and flicked through it before stopping at one article. Gillian Jacobs on exes. God, how many did the woman have besides Robert?

Read the Gillian Jacobs interview in Total Gossip!” Mags ordered from the kitchen as Jane sat down on the sofa and placed the pile of magazines on the coffee table. “Her split from Robert wasn’t quite as amicable as was made out at the time. A lot of jealousy on both sides by the sound of it.” She came into the living room with the bottle of wine and two glasses, closing the door with her foot. “I suppose he didn’t mention anything?”

Why do they do this?” Jane asked instead of answering. “These awful interviews?”

“It keeps up people’s interest in them.” Mags passed her a glass of wine, kicked off her shoes, and curled up at the other end of the sofa.

“Well, not my interest.” Jane tossed the magazine onto the floor, picked up the next one and read, “I can’t play the perfect gentleman all the time.” It was Robert on why he chose to play East End drugs baron Mitch Burns.

Oh, not Mitch Burns. She discarded it and reached for another. It was the ‘At Home with Gillian Jacobs and her new beau John Davis’ feature in Total Gossip. Except it looked like a posh hotel.

Next was a copy of Spilling the Beanz. A post-it note was sticking out and she went straight to the page. ‘Robert Armstrong and Mystery Brunette leave Vincent’s.’

There was a double-page spread with a huge photograph and ‘a Sally Read exclusive’ printed alongside it. Her heart did a somersault. Oh God, she was now ‘Mystery Brunette’. How corny was that?


Jane Hollinger is the wrong side of thirty, divorced and struggling to pay the mortgage her cheating ex left her with. As a qualified genealogist, teaching family history evening classes is a way for her to make ends meet. But she begins to wonder if it’s such a good idea when a late enroller for the class is a little… odd. “Badly-blond Bloke” both scares and intrigues Jane, and when she discovers he is her all-time favourite actor and huge crush, Robert Armstrong, she’s stunned. Even more stunning to Jane is the fact that Robert is interested in her romantically. He’s everything she ever dreamed of, and more, but can she overcome her fear of living in the public eye to be with the man she loves?




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Writing Genealogy Fiction

Family History Evening Classes

Genealogy is the fastest growing hobby in the United Kingdom and North America. So I find it surprising that there aren’t more novels with a family history theme to appeal to this vast and ever-expanding market. Is it because people have a preconceived idea in their heads that all genealogists are nerds and geeks and only want to interact with dead people? I hope not because in the many libraries and archives I have undertaken research in, I have seen genealogists, both amateur and professional, of all ages and from all walks of life. So the clichéd image of the nerdy genealogist is something I want to try and do away with.

I have always enjoyed reading thrillers and mysteries, but I didn’t want to write a predictable police procedural. A novel featuring a genealogist, or someone who teaches family history evening classes in Jane Hollinger’s case, is a great way of offering a new perspective on romantic fiction as it combines mystery with history. It also gave me the chance to write about what I know.

Just as in police detective work, researching family histories involves interviews, collecting evidence, following clues, piecing together puzzles and finding missing links. To keep this vital part of the story accurate, I drew on my experience researching my own varied family history. Only You will appeal to romantics, genealogists and mystery fans, combining the obsessions of this compelling hobby with a dark, outwardly impenetrable mystery in a unique way.

The Romance Review

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?


The phone rang and she jumped. The number displayed was unfamiliar and she closed her eyes, hoping that it wasn’t yet another double-glazing salesperson.


“Jane Hollinger?” a male voice asked.


“This is Robert Armstrong. I hope you don’t mind, I found the number for your old genealogy research service in an old Yellow Pages.”

Mind? Her heart began to thump. “Er, no, not at all.”

“It’s just that I actually did start on my family tree and I’ve come across something a bit weird.”


“Yeah, I found the birth, marriage, and death indexes on the net and it looks as though I had a twin brother I knew nothing about.”

“Are you sure?” She managed to sound calm.

“Positive. There was another name on the list above mine, a Michael David Armstrong. My full name is Robert David Armstrong, so I thought it was a bit weird and I ordered the birth certificate.”

“You’ve known nothing about a twin at all?”

“Nothing. No one’s ever said that I was a twin. It says nothing about me being a twin on my birth certificate.”

“Did you check the death indexes? Maybe he died soon after he was born?”

“No, I haven’t had time yet. What do you think? Strange, eh?”

“It is strange,” she admitted. “I think you should have a chat with your parents.”

There was a long silence and she began to squirm. She took the phone into the kitchen and sat down at the table.

“My parents and I don’t see eye-to-eye, actually. They didn’t want me to become an actor. We haven’t spoken in years.”

Blimey, how did he manage to keep that out of the press? “Oh, I see. Well, what about grandparents? Aunts, uncles?”

“I was close to my maternal grandparents, but they’re both dead now.” She heard a wry laugh. “I’m not making this very easy for you, am I?”

He could say that again. “Well, the first thing you should do is to try and see whether Michael David Armstrong is still alive.”

“Yes. But if he is, he could be anywhere.”

“I know. I’m more used to tracing dead people!” she laughed.

“You think I should make contact and speak to my parents?”

“That’s not for me to say.”

“You get on with your parents?” he asked.

“Yes, very well. Do you have any other brothers or sisters?”

“No, I don’t, that’s why this is so weird. I had no idea I had a twin brother.”

“Search forward in the General Register Office death indexes when you’ve time.”

“Yes, I will. Look, thanks, Jane.”

“No problem.”

“Mitch Burns is well and truly dead now, by the way,” he continued.

“I won’t say I’m sorry to hear that!”

“I thought not. Look, can I buy you a drink sometime as a thank you?”

“There’s no need,” she heard herself tell him and pulled an agonised face. “You bought me the lovely roses.”

“I heard Diana tell Dave they were probably stolen.” He laughed. “Mitch Burns was a bastard and probably would have stolen them. From a cemetery, I’d say!”

“Why play someone like that?” Her curiosity got the better of her.

“To see if I could. And to make sure that I’m not typecast. I’d hate to be offered the same type of roles all the time.”

“So the sex-mad genealogist is next?”

“Yes. In a couple of weeks. Which might give me enough time to try and solve the mystery of the missing twin.”

“Look, about that drink…” she began.

“I’ve got you curious now, haven’t I?” He chuckled. “I can gather all my stuff together and meet you in The Crown sometime?”

“Yes.” It came out as a squeak. She quickly covered the mouthpiece and cleared her throat. “When would suit you?”

“Tomorrow? I can’t do Tuesday because I have an interview with a journalist.”

“Tomorrow’s fine. Eight o’clock?”

“Eight o’clock it is. I’ll see you then.”

She ended the call and put the handset down on the table. She had almost talked herself out of a drink with Robert Armstrong. “You stupid, stupid cow.”




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