Only You Is Out Now!

FacebookOnly You by Lorna Peel is a fabulous romance about trust in relationships under a microscope.” Victoria at The Romance Reviews

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 genealogy expertise. Now the paparazzi want a piece of Jane, too. 

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

Read An Excerpt From Chapter Three…

It wasn’t a date, she kept reminding herself. She was just meeting a student to discuss a mystery in his family tree. Even so, she still went through her entire wardrobe the next day. She sat on her bed, telling herself not to get any funny ideas about dazzling him with style then lifted out a pair of black trousers, a white blouse and her short black leather blazer. The decision had taken hours and she gave herself a final appraisal in the wardrobe mirror, hoping it wasn’t too much for a simple meeting, before leaving for the pub.

The Crown was crowded when she went in and she found herself scanning the people around her looking for a blond man.

“Jane?”

She heard Robert’s voice and turned. The badly-dyed blond hair was gone, as were the unhealthy complexion and the bloodshot eyes. Instead, the tall, dark and effortlessly handsome man she was used to seeing on magazine covers was getting to his feet. She took a deep breath and joined him.

“Sorry, I was looking for Mitch.”

He smiled and they shook hands. “Thankfully, he’s dead and buried. Please, take a seat. What can I get you to drink? A glass of wine?”

“No, a pineapple juice, please.” Jane hung her handbag over the back of a chair and sat down at the table. “I’m driving.”

She watched him go to the bar to order and pay for the drinks, wondering if anyone would recognise him. To her surprise, no-one gave him a second glance.

He returned with the pineapple juice and a mineral water for himself and sat down opposite her.

“I brought my research.” He nodded to a plastic zip-up folder on the table. “Help yourself.”

She opened it and took out two birth certificates. The first was Robert’s. Robert David Armstrong, born on the 23rd of March 1979 at St Catherine’s Hospital, London, the son of Grace – neé Butler – and David Armstrong. The second birth certificate was almost identical except for the first name and the date of birth. Michael David Armstrong was born on the 24th of March 1979 at St Catherine’s Hospital, London, the son of Grace – neé Butler – and David Armstrong.

“Usually twins have their time of birth on the certificate, too,” she mused.

“But Michael is definitely my twin?” he asked, drawing her attention back to him and her heart did a back flip when she met his eyes. “Born the other side of midnight?”

“Yes, unless someone lied to the Registrar.” She lowered her eyes again and frowned. “Oh, there’s one discrepancy, here,” she said, pointing to Michael’s birth certificate and then Robert’s. “The dates of registration are different. Michael’s birth was registered the day after he was born. Your birth was registered a week later.”

“What does that mean?” He leant forward to take a closer look.

“I’m not sure. It is a bit strange, especially as you’re twins.” Jane was sure she could feel his breath on her hand and that her hand was starting to shake. “When a child was baptised immediately, it suggested that the child was ill and would probably die, but these days baptism isn’t seen as being so important. In this case, the immediate registration could mean the same thing as immediate baptism – that the child was likely to die. Did you have time to search the death indexes?”

“Yes, I did, and I discovered he died the year he was born. I didn’t have time to order the death certificate online so, this morning, I took a chance and I went to the register office closest to St Catherine’s Hospital. I used their while-you-wait service and it was expensive but I had the death certificate within an hour. Michael died when he was twelve days old of a congenital heart defect. The thing is, I’ve contacted the cemetery nearest to my parents’ home and Michael isn’t buried there. So I started to widen the search. I’ve been on the phone to cemeteries all afternoon and I just can’t find a record of his burial anywhere in London.”

“Is there anywhere else he might be buried?” she asked, racking her brains. “Were either of your parents born outside London? Could Michael be buried where your mum or dad’s families are from?”

“Both my parents were born in London and both sets of my grandparents were buried in London so, no, I don’t think so.”

“Can I see the death certificate?”

He nodded, took the certificate out of the folder and passed it to her.

“Thanks,” she murmured as she read it. Michael David Armstrong died on the 5th of April 1979 at St Catherine’s Hospital, London. “He was born and he died in the same hospital and his death was registered on the 8th of April. Everything seems to be above board,” she said and passed the certificate back.

“It’s a strange one, isn’t it?” His eyebrows rose and fell as he gave her a baffled smile and reached for his glass as her heart did a somersault.

“Yes, very,” she squeaked and cleared her throat. “Tell me about your parents.”

“Well.” He took a sip of mineral water. “The grammar school I went to had a drama club. I joined and that was it. I just knew I had to become an actor. When I told my parents they went ballistic. They told me I had to stop persisting with this stupid acting idea but I wouldn’t, so I ran away.”

Bloody hell. “How old were you?”

“Sixteen. I went to live with my maternal grandparents. I went to the local comprehensive school, did my A Levels then got myself a job.”

“An acting job?”

He shook his head. “No, in a fast food place and then in a bookshop. After that, I managed to get a job in a theatre box office. I was allowed to do bits and pieces backstage and after a while, I was given small acting roles – non-speaking at first – then a few lines and a year or so later some larger parts. I lived in complete dumps so I managed to save quite a bit of money. I eventually auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, no less, and I got in.”

He smiled almost shyly and her poor heart pounded.

“And you haven’t been in touch with your parents since you were sixteen?”

“No. They left me alone at my grandparents’ because, I suppose, they thought I’d return home. But when I left school and got my first job I moved out. My grandparents died shortly afterwards so I had lost all contact with my parents by the time I got into RADA when I was twenty-two.”

“Why do you think they were so determined that you were to be a solicitor and not an actor?”

“It’s because my father was a solicitor. His father was a solicitor and so was his father. It was a family tradition and I was their only son – their only surviving son. Other than that…” He shrugged. “I don’t know. I mean, I’m forty now. I last saw and spoke to them when I was still a kid. All I know is that they’re still in the phone book at 6 Guildford Road.”

Jane studied her pineapple juice and felt him watch her intently. She fought a hard battle to control a blush.

“Any ideas?” he asked.

“A few, but they’re all a bit far-fetched.”

He smiled and she fixed her gaze on his blue shirt. It brought out the dark blue of his eyes perfectly. “Try me.”

“How old is your father?”

He looked away for a few moments while thinking and she availed of the opportunity to gaze at him.

“Dad’s seventy-two now. My mum is older than him but never used to admit to it. Your parents allowed you to make your own decisions, I suppose?” he inquired and she nodded and took a sip of juice. “How long have you been a genealogist?”

“I’m not actually a genealogist at the moment – a professional genealogist – I mean. The genealogy research service closed a couple of years ago.”

“What happened? If you don’t mind me asking?”

“No, not at all. My husband and I ran it together but Tom left me for a client and is now my ex-husband,” she explained.

“Ah. I’m sorry.”

“So now I teach family history, adult literacy and English literature classes and I really enjoy teaching.”

“You don’t mind speaking in front of a lot of people?”

“No,” she said, finishing the last of her juice. “But I’m not trying to be someone else.”

“That’s true. You sussed me out quick enough, though.”

“Maybe if Mitch hadn’t been so—”

“Mitch?” he finished and she laughed. “I’ve never frightened a woman like that before. I didn’t like it.”

This time she met his eyes without flinching or blushing. Well, maybe a little blushing. Only someone without a pulse could not blush while looking at him.

“My sister made me buy the personal alarm. I’ve never had to threaten someone with it before. I didn’t like it, either.”

“Better to be safe than sorry.”

“Yes. When is it on TV? The drama about Mitch?”

“It will be decided in a month or two. Will you continue with adult education classes or will you go back to professional genealogy?”

“I’m not sure yet.”

Robert carefully placed the certificates back in the folder and they left the pub. Again, he walked her along the street to her car and leant back against the bonnet, seeming reluctant to leave her.

“You think I should contact my parents?” he asked quietly.

“In an ideal world, yes, but it isn’t.”

“No. And to be honest, I don’t think I can. Not after so long. I sound like a right coward, don’t I?”

“No. My ex wants to ‘meet up for a chat sometime’, but I can’t. I don’t love him anymore, but I don’t think I can ever forgive him for what he did, either.”

“He’s got a bit of a nerve,” he said and she sighed remembering how Tom’s cavalier attitude to everything had become more and more exasperating as he’d aged because his outlook on life didn’t mature too.

“He always had a nerve,” she muttered, retrieving her car keys from her bag as Robert pushed himself up off the bonnet with his hands and they stood in an awkward silence for a few moments before she unlocked the car door.

“Thanks for coming this evening, Jane. I’ll see you on Tuesday.”

“What?” She spun around. “You mean, you’re still going to come to the classes?”

“Yes, why?”

“Well, they’ll recognise you now,” she spluttered and he shrugged.

“I don’t know about that.”

“You’re not Badly-blond Bloke anymore and—” She broke off and cringed at having let slip her nickname for him.

“‘Badly-blond Bloke’?” he echoed with a grin. “Badly-blond Bastard, more like. I’ll be in class on Tuesday evening, having undergone a complete image makeover.”

“Okay, then. Goodnight, Robert.”

“Goodnight, Jane,” he said, holding the door as she got into the car then slammed it shut.

She put on her seatbelt and started the engine. As she drove away, she glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw him cut rather a lonely figure as he stood on the pavement watching her go.

Only You by Lorna Peel

Buy Only You for 99cents or 99p until Monday 29 April!

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Amazon ASIN: B07Q24PTTS

Paperback ISBN: 9781094641393

Explore my BLOG for more excerpts, character profiles, and background information

REVIEWS

“…this was a fabulous novel. Put it on your reading list. It will not disappoint.” Victoria at The Romance Reviews

“What a good story! Character development was excellent, the story flowed well. I really liked the fact the the main characters were written true to their age…An excellent job by the author.” Reader Review on Amazon.com

“Couldn’t Put It Down…Or rather didn’t want to put it down! This was a perfect way to spend a cold day. Easy to read, the story had you hooked, that you simply had to follow it through to the end. Lorna built up a strong and believable union between Jane and Robert – it just had to work. If you like plain and simple and uncomplicated modern romance, this is a must.” Reader Review on Amazon UK 

“If you enjoy a fast read, a simple romantic tale with viable obstacles to be overcome, I would highly recommend this read.” Reader Review on Amazon.com

“…a well written story, with a great cast of characters. I couldn’t stop reading. I thoroughly enjoyed Only You and would definitely recommend it.” Reader Review on Amazon UK

“This is a perfect light read-in-bed novel that I enjoyed so much I didn’t want it to end!” Reader Review on Amazon.com

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Meet Jane Hollinger from Only You

pretty-2150882_1920Jane 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. His name is Robert Armstrong, one of Britain’s biggest acting stars, and 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?

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Read An Excerpt From Chapter Six…

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

“No.”

“Then why?”

“Because, if you want to date me, I don’t know how,” she confessed, feeling blood rush to her cheeks. “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,” she protested. “And you’ll be even more famous when Mitch Barnes is aired. I mean, on the web…” Tailing off again, she pulled a face.

“What on the web?” he asked.

“There are websites dedicated to you. Lots of websites. 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.”

“What?”

“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,” he interrupted softly.

“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 couldn’t help but roar with laughter. “Thank you,” she said and he inclined his head.

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

“No,” she replied with a sigh. “But I think you’re mad.”

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

“Are.”

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

“It’s my house.”

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

“Why?”

“Don’t you want me to text you sometime?” he teased with a wink.

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

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

“I won’t,” she said as they exchanged phones and added their numbers then passed them back.

“Thank you.” He returned his phone to his jacket pocket. “I’ll ring you, too. Now, can I have a look at these websites about me?” he asked and her jaw dropped.

“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?”

“Coffee?”

“Yes, please. Milk, no sugar.”

“I won’t be long.”

She went to the kitchen, switched the kettle on again then leant heavily on the worktop. Right, let’s get this absolutely straight, she told herself. You are in a relationship with Robert Armstrong. She inhaled and exhaled deeply before reaching for the jar of coffee.

Only You by Lorna Peel

Buy Only You for 99cents or 99p until Monday 29 April!

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Meet Robert Armstrong from Only You

Robert Armstrong Colourised

Robert Armstrong is 38 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

Buy Only You for 99cents or 99p until Monday 29 April!

Kindle

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

attractive-beauty-blond-301290

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 genealogy 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 Eight…

When Mags arrived that evening, she went silently into the house past Jane and straight to the living room.

“Coffee or wine?” Jane called, closing the front door.

“Wine.”

“Won’t be a sec,” she said, retrieved the bottle and two glasses from the kitchen, brought them into the living room and Mags watched her as she poured.

“Thank you.” Mags picked up a glass from the coffee table and Jane took a deep breath and broached the subject.

“I’m sorry. What more can I say? I can hardly believe it myself.”

“I bet. Mind if I smoke?” Mags lifted a packet of cigarettes out of her handbag.

“I do, actually,” Jane replied bravely and Mags swore under her breath and put the cigarettes back in her bag. “Go into the back garden if you have to smoke.”

“I’m not a bloody dog!”

“Right, come on – shout and swear at me – let’s get it over and done with,” she said, standing back and folding 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 to me 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 to The 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 you were Robert Armstrong’s girlfriend. There’s one particular fan site on the net and some of the posts even make me blush and that’s saying something.”

She 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?” she begged.

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

She sighed with relief. “Thank you.”

“I suppose I’d better start pinching some clothes for you now. You’ve got sod all worth wearing in that wardrobe.”

She laughed. “That would be great.”

“Okay. Can we sit down now? I wear fuck-me shoes every day, but it gets me bloody nowhere and leaves my feet in bits.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t wear them every single day.”

“I’ll think about it.” Mags sighed, sinking onto the sofa and kicking the garish red shoes off. “Got any crisps?”

Only You by Lorna Peel

Buy Only You for 99cents or 99p until Monday 29 April!

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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!

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!

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Read An Excerpt From Chapter Nine…

“I had some good news today from Marie,” he added. “When I finish The Will, my next role is in The Hunger,” he announced and she 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 and she met his eyes. They were sparkling 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.”

“Yes, he does.”

“Have you ever worn a corset?” he inquired lightly and she 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 a 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 the most expensive drama 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 had 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.”

Only You by Lorna Peel

Buy Only You for 99cents or 99p until Monday 29 April!

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The Inspiration Behind Only You

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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?

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Read An Excerpt From Chapter One…

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

“Happy Birthday, Jane!” Mags produced an envelope with a flourish and presented it to her.

She opened it, half expecting a voucher for a beauty salon or a health spa or something subtle like that. Instead, she pulled out a confirmation email.

Dear Ms Hollinger,

Thank you for becoming a member of lookingforlove.com

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 the website just waiting for you. I mean, look at this one here.” She fished a printout from her bag and handed it to her.

It was the details of a man named Bryan, physical education teacher, aged thirty-four, six feet tall with brown eyes and hair. Jane’s eyes were drawn to the photograph and 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,” she muttered.

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

“What?” Jane snatched the sheet, almost tearing it.

There she was; Jane Hollinger, adult education tutor, aged thirty-one, five feet eight inches tall with blue eyes and dark brown hair. Likes genealogy, 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 said.

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

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

“I’ve been busy,” she replied defensively. “I have to pay a full mortgage now.”

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

“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 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 search the website and try and find you the man of your dreams.”

“You’re on.” She 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?

Only You by Lorna Peel

Buy Only You for 99cents or 99p until Monday 29 April!

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Living in the Public Eye

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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’s 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!

 

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 genealogy 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 Ten…

This evening, she was spending a few hours with Mags for a change. She’d been neglecting her sister a bit lately. Sitting down on the sofa, she placed the stack of magazines on the coffee table. The magazine on top was Total Gossip. Total Crap, more like. She picked it up and flicked through the pages before stopping at an article. ‘Gillian Jacobs on exes’. Just how many did the woman have besides Robert?

“Read the Gillian Jacobs interview in Total Gossip,” Mags ordered from the kitchen. “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 poured the wine, passed her a glass then kicked off her shoes and curled up at the other end of the sofa.

“Well, not my interest.” She 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 Barnes.

Oh, not Mitch Barnes. She discarded the magazine, put her glass down and reached for another. It was Total Gossip and included the ‘At home with Gillian Jacobs and her new beau John Davis’ feature. Except it looked like a posh hotel.

Next was a copy of Spilling the Beanz. A post-it note was sticking out, she went straight to the page and read; ‘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?

Only You by Lorna Peel

Buy Only You for 99cents or 99p until Monday 29 April!

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