Although there is usually a romantic element to my stories, they are definitely not romances! However love is a strong theme in my e-book ‘The Double Act’ – however, it has the subtitle ‘Don’t think ‘The Double Act’ is a romance, this may be a love story… but the other side of love is dark love….’
Genet and her husband Lance have a small hotel; her friends come round for coffee and cake and they begin to talk about the new tenants for a small cottage they own, Dr and Mrs Herrick. None of them know that Genet had an unexpected encounter with him…
Monique introduced the subject of the Herricks. She was a lecturer in the Coastal and Oceanic Hydrographic Department at Strand University where he was working.
Genet jumped up to pass the plate of biscuits to her friends.
“They’re from South Africa,” Toni exclaimed. “They’re here for two years; fancy leaving all that sunshine to come to a boring place like Easthope!” and she told the story of Genet locking herself out and him coming to her rescue a few of weeks ago… twenty-three days to be precise, Genet thought.
“So what do you think of Holy Joe?” asked Monique; she had a clown’s face, mobile and expressive, not classically beautiful but attractive all the same. “That’s what they call him in the staffroom; he’s a goody-goody, you know, lives his life by the good book!” she assumed a pious expression.
“He’s not a happy clappy, is he?” Toni looked up from pouring coffee.
“I shouldn’t think so, far too po-faced! Something dour and repressive, some little known Protestant sect!” Monique made them laugh “What are Primitive Methodists?”
“I go to the Methodist Church,” Genet’s cousin, Lyndsey unexpectedly spoke in her gruff adolescent boy’s voice, blushing as usual, even in the company of friends. She pulled at the collar of her blouse as if she wanted to tug it over her face as she had as a child.
Monique flapped her hand dismissively “Don’t be stupid Lyndsey; I’m not talking about your wishy-washy, goody-goody Gentle Jesus! I’m thinking of something puritanical and exclusive, you know, the First Church of the Latter-day Anal Retentives,” she was waspish.
“His wife Pamela is very sweet, very friendly,” Toni placated her friends as usual. “He seems alright to me, just quiet and polite; what did you think Genet?”
“I don’t know, I only met him once. Has he been trying to convert you, then, Monique?” Genet hoped her voice was steady.
“It sounds more as if Monique has been trying to convert him,” said Toni and everyone laughed, knowing their friend. “He really is drop-dead gorgeous.”
Genet was surprised; she’d not even thought of that. A flush began on her breasts and throat and she knew it would rise to her face and hairline. She glanced at the awful wedding photo and remembered Herrick staring at it, bare to the waist as she sewed on the buttons she’d ripped from his shirt. She felt faint for a second.
Toni was describing him. “… and the thickest, longest, darkest eyelashes –
“Don’t waste time fancying him, Toni, he’s much too God-fearing to sully his mind with impure thoughts. He probably thinks sex is for procreation only!”
They laughed at Monique but her bitchiness made Genet wonder… She was in a foul mood, even her black hair was spiky and indignant.
Toni was fascinated by him, her pink cheeks rosier than usual, her gap-toothed grin wide, eyes sparkling with fun and she prompted Monique to tell more.
“The department took him out for lunch when he first arrived. He doesn’t drink, for a start, I mean, there is definitely something wrong with a guy who doesn’t drink. And then when the meal came he sat looking at it and someone said ‘Saying grace, Dr Herrick?’ as a joke and he gave them this funny look as if he thought we were all heathens. And he did it again at the end of the meal. He’s weird!” and she began to describe a couple of dinner parties she’d been to that the Herricks had attended.
Yes, definitely Monique had flirted with him and received a brush off, something she was unused to.
Genet made the excuse of needing more coffee; she didn’t want to know anything about him, or his wife. Poor Mrs Herrick … The doorbell rang, and still bearing the cafetière she deviated to answer it.
Mrs Herrick gazed up at her from her wheel chair.
If you are intrigued, here is a link to my book: