Friday, 17 June 2011

I've got a new eBook out - of course I'm going to plug it!

Ok.  So now I have 2 books to plug, but seeing as my latest eBook has literally just appeared on Amazon, let's concentrate on that one for now.  'Too Much Trouble in Paradise' is a bit of a departure from  my last book, 'No Matter What' (still available to download from Amazon ), which was very much a saga of epic proportions, but very good, and if you like a story with a lot of twists and turns, very much in the vein of Jackie Collins, then I think you might like 'No Matter What'.  But anyway, back to 'Too Much Trouble...'  This was a book that I loved writing.  I mean, I love writing all my books but I loved writing this one because it contained humour - or, at least, I hope hope it contains humour, I suppose I'll have to leave that up to the reader - and it involved something very close to my heart.  Darts.  Yes, darts.  It's a romantic comedy, set mainly on the beautiful island of Tenerife (where I lived for 2 years, so I know the place well) and the male lead character is a darts player.  But we're not talking Eric Bristow or Ted Hanky here, oh no, I've created a young and sexy darts player (and yes, they do exist, but I've already been over that in Wednesday's post) with a "bad boy" attitude, the kind of man that a lot of women would fall for.  But we're not talking a Mills & Boon romance here, oh God no, this is very much a humourous book.  A light-hearted and fun book.  The main characters are Geordies because I'm a Geordie and I think we have one of the best senses of humour in the world, and I've tried to bring that humour into what is basically a love story.  It's chick-lit, when all is said and done.

But this book wasn't done entirely without help, although I did write a lot of it during the Professional Darts World Championships last December/January just to try and get a feel for some of the atmosphere of a large tournament such as that one, but I did get a bit moody when Paul Nicholson got knocked out in the second round because he was providing me with more research than he realised and I could have swung for him getting knocked out that early!!  Anyway, no, I needed some real help as far as knowing what it was like both out front and backstage at a big darts tournament and without the help of Kristian Brown from the 'Darts, Beers and Cheers' website (a great fansite for any darts fan - check it out!) I'm not sure I could have got some of the scenes in this book quite as accurate as I hope they are.  He's also helped me out by giving my eBook a plug on some of his sites and on Facebook and Twitter which, to an independent author who is still very much learning as far as self-marketing goes, is a huge help.  I'm so grateful to him.  He helped me make this book the best it could be, and he also made me realise that to actually get out there and attend some sort of darts event is something I really have to do.  I've followed this sport for decades now and have still never been to a live tournament - although we did talk about going to the recent Premier League night at Newcastle Arena but we didn't like to leave the dog for all those hours and my other half was put off by the fact that he wouldn't be able to drink.  He said going to darts and not drinking has to be against the law and I kind of agree with him!! We'll get there one day.

So, 'Too Much Trouble in Paradise' has finally been (self) published and I'm really proud of it.  I really am.  I hope it proves that I can write different kinds of books, although I am under no illusion that you can please all of the people all of the time.  I can't imagine there's a person in the world who can do that.  I just want to appeal to as many people as I can with my books, and I just want to try and make people aware of me, as a new and determined writer.  I'm still at the beginning of a very long and very tough road to any kind of recognition, infact, at this stage I'm just ridiculously happy to know that I'm selling a handful of books, but I will stay on that road, I'll keep plugging away, and maybe one day people will finally know my name.  I don't want to be Jackie Collins (well, it would be nice...) I just want to be able to keep writing books, and know that people enjoy reading them.  Is that really too much to ask?

Anyway, before I start rambling - and that's a distinct possibility because it's Friday, my brain is frazzled, and I've had no chocolate all week - here are the first 2 chapters of 'Too Much Trouble in Paradise'.  Take a look at them, read them through and see what you think.  If it sounds like your kind of thing then pop over to Amazon and download the whole book (only £2.29 - bargain!!), and if you know someone who might like it then tell them about it.  Oh, and although it's an eBook you don't have to have a Kindle to read it.  There is a free app (Kindle for PC/iPhone/Blackberry etc...) that will enable anyone to read eBooks on almost any device.  Have I sold it to you yet?  I'm trying my hardest here!!  Ok.  The free chapters.  Here we go....

'Too Much Trouble in Paradise'

Try the first 2 chapters for free!!


            “She wanted to be a WAG, that’s the only reason she married him.”  Fran sat
 back in her chair and smiled smugly at me. 
I stuck my tongue out at her.  “I think you must be mistaking me for you, you sad, Z-list-celebrity wannabe.”
I was right too.  I had never harboured any desires to have an oversized chandelier in my hallway or drive a monster-sized pink 4x4 whereas Fran, on the other hand, would have sold her own mother for a store card at ‘Cricket’.
“I thought he was a darts player,” Connie said, looking into her empty glass of gin and tonic, poking around with her straw, checking to see if there was anymore she could drain from the bottom.
            “He is,” I replied, taking the glass out of her hand and putting it down on the table.  “And just get another one will you?  We’re in Tenerife.  It’s three euros with a mixer for Christ’s sake!”
            “So, why did you marry a darts player if you wanted to be a WAG?”  Jo asked.
            “I never wanted to be a bloody WAG!” I sighed, somewhat exasperated.
            “They have wives and girlfriends, don’t they?” Fran said, completely ignoring my protestations.  “The term isn’t exclusive to footballer’s y’know.” 
I was starting to tire of this conversation now.  I couldn’t even remember how it had started because the subject of my ex-husband wasn’t one I ever brought up out of choice.
            “It’s not the same though is it?” Jo went on, pouring some of her gin into Connie’s empty glass.  Laziness in the extreme; couldn’t anyone be bothered to get up and go to the bar?  It was about ten steps away.  “I mean, darts players…none of them are exactly David Beckham are they?”
            “Oh, I don’t know,” Fran grinned.  “He’s quite a looker is Molly’s ex.  Quite sexy with a dart in his hand actually.”
Not happy with the way this seemed to be heading I started gathering all our empty glasses onto a tray, deciding that a trip to the bar might as well be my job as I seemed to be the only one not enjoying this little chat.
            “Hit the bullseye a lot then did he?” Connie giggled, shoving a handful of peanuts into her mouth. 
            “Apparently so,” Fran winked.  “And from what I can gather, he gave a whole new meaning to the term ‘Double Top’!”
            I poked my tongue out at her again, making a mental note not to tell her anymore of my bedroom secrets.  “And for your information, they’re called ‘DWAGS’.”
            Connie choked on her donated gin.  “Sorry…what?”
            “Darts Wives and Girlfriends.  DWAGS.”                    
I threw them all a smug smile of my own and carried the now over-filled tray of glasses back to the bar, handing them over to Luiz, our favourite and most tolerant barman in the whole of Tenerife.  He smiled as he took them from me and mouthed “same again”?  I nodded, turning round and leaning back against the bar as I watched my three best friends continue to discuss the man that had once been my husband – Paul Parker, professional darts player.  Ranked number twelve in the world as far as his sport was concerned, but ranked number one in terms of philandering bastards because his ability to score hadn’t been entirely confined to the dart board. 
I’d met Paul at a darts tournament in our hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne eight years ago after being dragged there by Fran’s now ex-husband Kev.  Paul and Kev had known each other from school and Paul had got him some VIP tickets, which was the only reason Fran and I had turned up to be honest.  Any excuse to flash a backstage pass and we were there.
Both Paul and I had been in our twenty’s at the time, him a couple of years younger than me, and he’d been really-quite-handsome-in-a-cute-and-shy-kind-of-way with short, dark hair, the most beautiful green eyes, and the kind of mouth I could have kissed for hours, which I did - a lot - back then.  He’d been the new kid on the block, still on the amateur darts circuit so he’d had a day job as a heating engineer,  but he’d already been well on the way to becoming a Geordie hero, a talent to be watched and they’d got that right!  Watched like a bloody hawk once he’d turned professional!  That was when the fame had started going to his head and the women began falling at his feet because Paul was not only a great darts player, he was also one of best looking guys on the circuit.  And he knew that.
But before all of that, before his obvious arrow-throwing talents had propelled him to the dizzy heights of professionalism, he’d been this wonderful, quiet, caring man from North Shields who’d adored me and got incredibly upset if I couldn’t make it to one of his matches.  But three big tournament wins later and a fan base to rival that of a boy band’s and he’d suddenly turned into Paul “Bad Lad” Parker, the pantomime villain of the darts world who used AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ as his walk on music accompanied by a couple of backcombed bimbo’s firmly attached to each arm, and firmly attached to something else that hadn’t belonged to them by the end of the night.  I wasn’t standing for that.  I couldn’t be arsed to compete so I’d told him to shove his precious arrows where a dart board didn’t fit and got rid of him before his ego had got too big for our lovely little semi-detached house by the sea.  I could still kill the cheating son-of-a-bitch sometimes.  I’d loved that house.  I’d just painted every room after months of picking up tips from ‘60 Minute Makeover’ and bought some fabulous co-ordinating cushions from John Lewis and what does he do?  He goes and makes me leave him!  Bastard!  And I’m still paying for those cushions.
So, one divorce and a house sale later and here I was, starting a whole new life on this beautiful island they call Tenerife, although I’ve been reliably informed that it isn’t actually an island at all but an active volcano but I try not to think about that.  It’s just a bit too weird for me. 
I’d needed to get away you see, I’d needed to make a new start because, despite everything Paul had put me through, I’d loved the dart-throwing, two-timing sod.  Too bloody much.  And the worst thing was he’d made me almost hate the sport I’d grown to love but how could I watch any of the major tournaments now when he was always there?   Making me remember.  No, I’d needed to move far away from the memories and whilst Scarborough may have been far enough for some people I’m not some people and I’d needed distance.  A lot of it.  So why Tenerife?  No idea really.  Me and Fran had been here on holiday a few years ago and had liked the fact you could get paella for one and a bottle of wine for less than ten euros and go out without a coat in November so it seemed as good a place as any.  And it was about as far away from “Bad Lad” Parker as I could get without needing a visa so that was good enough for me.
“Molly!  You crushing those grapes yourself or what?” Fran shouted over, fanning herself with a coaster.  It might have been just a few weeks until Christmas but the temperature was still around 29 degrees, even now at ten thirty in the evening.  The heat was something I never got tired of although it still took some getting used to, especially in the summer months when temperatures could exceed 40 degrees.  Both Fran and I had had to buy totally new wardrobes once we’d arrived here and realised the weather was more than a bit different to the North East of England.  Any excuse.
I passed a less-than-polite hand gesture over to my circle of friends, who returned the gesture with one any self-respecting builder would have been proud of and I couldn’t help laughing.
Let me give you a little introduction to my three best friends because without them I’m not sure I’d have settled here quite as easily as I seem to have done.  I’ve only been on this island a year but I already feel like it’s home and that’s all thanks to those ladies, although I use the term “ladies” extremely loosely!
I’ve known Fran for over twenty years.  We’ve been best friends since high school, ever since we were sat next to each other in Biology and found out we both had a love of boy bands (‘Take That & Party’ is still on my iPod and will be forever!) which kind of sealed our friendship from that moment on.  She’s the same age as me – thirty-five – we’re both blonde, both average height and average weight, and we both have a pretty childish sense of humour that’s got us through some very tough times.  Neither of us has kids and we’ve never really wanted them, which is probably just as well when you look at what we married.  We’d both lived round the corner from each other and worked at the same University back in the U.K. – her in the administration block for I.T. support, me in the Media and Communications Department.  We’re both loud and upfront; we both like a good time, we both like a laugh, and we have the same taste in music – classic rock and a strange love of the 1970’s, although neither of us can shake the habit of being a Take That fan but we all have our crosses to bear.  Infact, the only very slight difference between us is that she’s a touch more girly than me with a fondness for anything pink but she’s the best friend I could ever have asked for.  She was there for me when I fell in love with Paul and needed someone to bore endlessly with tales of how brilliant he was (oh yeah, a man of many talents was my ex-husband), and she was there for me when it all fell apart, even though she was going through a divorce of her own from Kev, who seemed to have picked up a whole array of philandering tips from “Bad Lad” Parker, who he’d hung around with far too much in my opinion.  It wasn’t particularly pretty either, the way Fran had found out about Kev’s “indiscretions”.  We’d both caught him in a compromising position in the back seat of his Honda hatchback with Irene Wilson, the town bike - we could never think of any other way of describing her - when he’d come to pick us up after Fran and I had been to watch Paul in a darts tournament in Gateshead.  Kev obviously hadn’t banked on it finishing early thanks to Paul’s exceptional run of twelve dart finishes so he was caught with his pants down – literally!  Actually, Paul has a lot to answer for if I think about it, which I try not to.  He was a bastard, no doubt about that, but a good looking, sexy bastard and…I should have made him pay for those cushions.
Anyway, with both husbands kicked very firmly to the kerb Fran and I had done a lot of thinking, usually over a bottle of anything white and chilled, we weren’t fussy – something else proved by looking at what we’d married – and she’d wanted a new start just as much as I did.  So, with the divorce settlements in the bank and a sudden urge to throw caution to the wind she came with me, here, to this wonderful, relaxed island where the alcohol is cheap (always a perk!) and the pace of life is just that little bit more laid back.
We’d both been lucky enough to find work in the administration department at Sunset Heights, a little independent Timeshare complex not far from where we both lived in Costa Adeje, and that’s where we’d met Jo.  She’s lived and worked on the island for almost five years now and she’s the P.A. to Alan Marsden, the complex owner and a thoroughly nice guy.  A forty-two year old Brummie and with a fiery temperament to match her red hair, nobody messes with Jo.  She’s quite scary when she gets going but she can give Gordon Ramsay a run for his money in the cooking department – and the swearing department actually, come to think of it.  We’re often round her place for dinner because she’s the only one of us who can recreate proper Spanish paella without it looking like something you’d use to cover the cracks in your bathroom wall.  She’s never been married, (she’s the sensible one if you ask me) but she’s in a – her words, not mine – not-all-that-serious relationship with Ben, one of the entertainers at Sunset Heights.  He used to be part of a Take That tribute act back in the 90’s but suffered a bit of a breakdown after getting the sack when Robbie Williams left the band.  It didn’t go well, apparently.  It had happened just after a particularly dodgy rendition of ‘Never Forget’ (and, by all accounts, quite a few are still wishing they could – forget, that is) at a boy band tribute weekend at Butlins in Skegness that caused a rift between him and ‘Howard’ that he still can’t talk about now, according to Jo.  Anyway, it led him to take a break from showbiz to work in the soft furnishings department at Debenhams before re-inventing himself and going solo as a Robbie Williams impersonator.  I believe that Mr. Williams re-joining Take That has not made Ben yearn for the days back with the boys in his old band.  He’s happier working alone, although I have heard rumblings round the complex that Alan is seriously thinking about organising a “reunion” gig on New Years Eve but Jo says to keep quiet about that.  Ben still has flashbacks regarding his “sacking” and it can set him back months, apparently.
The last of our little “gang of four” is Connie.  Originally from Manchester she’s thirty-seven, dark haired, brown eyed and has the most perfect tan out of the lot of us, but then she’s had a seven year head start.  She’s married to Phil - quite happily it would seem too.  I’d like to know her secret, but I fear it may just be because her Phil has never met my Paul…my Paul?  I must stop calling him that.  He’s not been mine for over a year now.
Anyway, Phil owns a garage in the town of Las Galletas (which translates, literally, as The Biscuits, and has therefore gained itself the little nickname of ‘biscuit town’!)  where Connie works on reception, does the books, makes the tea…she runs the place basically and that’s where I’d met her, when I’d taken my trusty little Renault Twingo in for it’s ITV, the Spanish equivalent of an MOT.  It’d passed with flying colours and I’d made a new friend, and when she joined Fran, Jo and I for drinks one evening it turned out she lived just a few doors away from Jo on the Atlantic View complex in Torviscas Alto (loosely translated ‘Alto’ means top of the hill, or something close to that, and they couldn’t be more right there!  Atlantic View is so far up the top of the hill you need crampons to get there if a taxi’s unavailable!)  
And so our little group was complete.  I love the lot of them, I love my new life here in this new country and I love it here at Paco’s, our favourite bar in the beautiful and upmarket little resort of Costa Adeje.  With its idyllic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the imported white sand beach, and its warm and friendly atmosphere, Paco’s is just the most perfect place to hang out as far as I’m concerned, but I guess I’m slightly biased.  I’m engaged to the owner you see.  Yes, after all my banging on about how being married was crap here I am about to do it all over again when I’ve only been free for a matter of months.  But it’s not actually marriage in general that’s crap, not really.  Just marriage to Paul Parker.  And even that only turned crap once he became a legend in his own bloody head.  Antonio’s different.  Well, he’s a different nationality for a start so we’re ahead on points already.  He’s thirty-two years old, (I seem to have a thing for younger men) very good-looking in that tall, dark and handsome way with his olive-toned skin and deep, dark eyes and a Spanish accent that I swear could melt chocolate.  It makes me go weak at the knees, I know that much.  I make him speak Spanish to me just to listen to that voice of his even though I can only understand about one word in ten.  He’s trying to teach me the language but, to be honest, once he starts speaking I lose all concentration and we always seem to end up doing something that won’t help me speak Spanish at all – but it’s doing wonders to help tone my thighs!
He’s Canarian through and through, born in the north of the island in Puerto de la Cruz he came down to the south to work in the tourist resorts, have fun and play the field, until his father decided he needed some stability and bought him Paco’s, which he’s run for around three years now.  We met just a few months ago, when Fran and I discovered this place on one of our evening walks and had ducked in to investigate over a jug of champagne sangria.  Antonio had served us himself, we’d flirted shamelessly, a month later he’d proposed and the rest is history.  The archetypal whirlwind romance, he’d swept me completely off my feet, which is more than Paul had ever done, although, to be fair, he had tried, once or twice.  He’d just never been much good at romantic gestures, unless it involved a dart board and a pint.  Mind you, there had been that one time during the Darts World Championship a couple of years ago when he’d got extremely excited over a nine dart finish in the second round and we’d celebrated quite happily into the early hours with a bottle of supermarket cava and a bar of Dairy Milk back at the Premier Inn.
            Sorry, where was I?  Oh yeah, Antonio.  We’re due to be married just after Christmas and I’m nervous, ofcourse I am.  It’s all been very quick and a few people are saying I’m still somewhat on the rebound from Paul but I’m not, I’m really not.  I’m over him, I am.  I’m over him.  Antonio’s the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle in my beautiful new life, and once we’re married I can really begin to settle down here on this wonderful island/volcano/whatever it is.  It’s an incredible place that’s helping me put the past behind me and I need to be here, with Antonio.  Paul Parker is fast becoming a distant memory and that’s the way I’d quite like it to stay.


Sunset Heights is a great place to work.  It’s a small, friendly little complex with a fabulous boss and a lovely team of people and I thank my lucky stars every day that I work here.  It’s situated just a two minute walk away from the sea front at Fanabe and it means that lunch breaks can be spent down on the beach or sat in a café or bar people-watching and enjoying the view of palm trees and the Atlantic Ocean.  You never got that in Sunderland.
            Timeshare still has a bit of a reputation though, especially as those touts with scratch cards still hang around this island tricking unsuspecting tourists into believing they’ve won some incredible prize when the only free thing they’re going to get is a taxi ride to a four hour hard-sell sales presentation.  We don’t do that.  We operate a bit differently.  We use a call centre back in the U.K. to cold call people, asking them if they’d like a free week’s stay here at Sunset Heights - and you’d be surprised at the amount of people who say yes.  We call theses potential owners ‘Fly By’s’.  All they have to pay for are their flights to Tenerife and there’s absolutely no obligation to buy anything at all once you get here.  All we ask is that everyone takes part in a sales presentation at the complex (which is nowhere near four hours long!) and a tour of the island although, technically, they don’t actually have to take part in either.  But those that don’t will usually receive more than the average amount of visits from our sales reps over the course of the week.  Mind you, if one of those reps happens to be Aidan, the rather lovely American member of the sales team, that might not be such a bad thing! 
It’s a couple of days out of the week, that’s all, and for the rest of the time everyone is left more or less alone to enjoy everything Tenerife has to offer.  The reps (we don’t like to call them salespeople because they’re not, not really, their jobs are quite easy because this place sells itself.) will check back with potential clients as the week goes on but they never push or force anyone into buying.  It isn’t how we operate.  But if anybody decides they do want to buy a week or two here at Sunset Heights – and quite a few do - then all of the necessary paperwork will be done on a Thursday before they fly back to the U.K. on the Friday, and that’s where I come in.  Along with Marie, a lovely Italian woman from Naples, and Fran, I help with the “button ups”, sealing the deal, if you like.  We sort out the contracts for our new owners.  It can get quite manic at times in our office on a Thursday, with reps running in and out and pieces of paper flying everywhere but once it’s all done – and we have been known to still be there at 10 0’clock at night making sure everything is finished - we can usually be found in the bar celebrating another successful and busy week with happy existing owners and a handful of excited new ones.  It’s a good feeling.  But we’re usually knackered by the end of it.
We’re a completely British complex, as far as the Timeshare owners are concerned anyway, which is great news for the Entertainment team as it means they don’t have to do Bingo in five different languages, but as far as staff are concerned it’s a bit like the United Nations.  Our little admin team alone consists of five different nationalities.  There’s me, Fran and Jo – the English representatives; Italian Marie, Cara - who’s originally from Barcelona, Emily who moved over from Marseilles five months ago and Dasha, who originates from Siberia.  She said she’d had to move away because she couldn’t stand the cold over there anymore after she dropped a loaf of bread whilst looking for her keys outside her house and it froze on the way down concussing the cat as he waited to get indoors.  She wants to try living in North Shields.  It never gets much warmer than that over there, even in June!  Anyway, she married a lovely Spanish man called Manuel and she’s never looked back.  She also says she’s never going back, to Siberia that is.  I kind of feel the same way about North Shields.
“You ready for lunch then?”  Fran asked, perching herself down on the edge of my desk and examining her nails.  She’d just had them done at Rochelle’s Tanning Salon and Beauty Parlour down in Puerto Colon (no, I don’t understand the need for a tanning salon in Tenerife either) although God knows why.  It wasn’t like we were going anywhere special and she’s done nothing but moan non-stop this morning about how much more difficult it is to use the keyboard now.  I need to hide all those “special offer” flyers you find shoved behind your windscreen wipers from her in future.
I finished texting Antonio – we needed sardines and bread from the supermarket and he was nearer the Mercadona than I was – and slipped the ‘phone into my bag.
“Where we going?” I asked as we walked out of the administration block and outside to the pool area and the blistering heat of another beautiful, sunny Tenerife day.
“How about Mario’s on the sea front?  They’re still doing that any salad and a drink for five euros lunchtime offer.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“I don’t know about sounding good, but you two ladies certainly look good.”
We both groaned outwardly as Tony Townsend – the closest thing Bolton has to a Las Vegas showman, at least, that’s how he sells himself – approached us wearing his usual daytime attire of far-too-tight jeans and far-too-open-necked shirt that showed off his far-too-hairy chest.  And a medallion.  I kid you not.  You should see his evening wear.  Think of an extremely cheap version of Tom Jones combined with a really-out-of-shape poor man’s Elvis and you’ve just about got Tony Townsend, or ‘Tinseltown Tony’ as he likes to bill himself on the entertainment posters.  Tony Townsend is the complex’s most senior entertainer and compere and by all accounts the holiday makers love him.  That might be because he never usually comes on until at least 10pm by which time everyone’s well on the way to being half cut on sangria and cheap wine so we’re not sure anyone’s actually seen him when they’ve been sober, I have no idea.  But I’ve seen his act and I don’t think Michael Buble has a lot to worry about.
“We’re on our way to lunch Tony,” I said, trying not to get too close.  He has a slight deodorant issue in that he never usually goes near any.  It can be quite an experience and not one to be encountered before eating.
“Not going to grab some sun while you’ve got the time?” he grinned, that sleazy grin that meant he was undressing you with his eyes.  He does it all the time, to the female staff anyway.  Even when he’s talking to Ella, the Head of Housekeeping, a formidable Spanish woman who makes Hattie Jacques look anorexic.  He’s harmless really but he still has a habit of making you feel slightly uncomfortable, which is why a lot of us have stopped grabbing an hours sunbathing during our lunch break.  He’d started walking round the pool and sitting down on our sun loungers, pretending to talk about The X Factor or something whilst getting an eyeful of everyone in their bikinis.  Not good. 
“Nope.  Not today,” Fran smiled, squeezing Tony’s upper arm.  “Oooh, I say Tony.  Have you been working out?”
He grinned again and I stared at Fran.  What was she doing?  I knew she was desperate for a bloke, but not that desperate surely.
“You know, if you want to keep that buff body of yours you really need to keep up the work.”  She winked at him, linking her arm through mine.  “Maybe I’ll see you in the gym later.”
We left him smiling proudly to himself as he ran one hand over his protruding beer belly, flexing his other arm as a couple of young, blonde holidaymakers walked past.  Don’t think he saw them laughing.
I looked at Fran.  “The gym?  I’ve seen you go the long way round the complex to get to Jo’s office just to avoid walking past the place.  And you shouldn’t encourage him.”
“It’s harmless flirting.  Anyway, I’m trying to make Dave jealous.”
“By touching up Tinseltown Tony?  How’s that work then?”
Dave was the reps manager at the complex, just turned forty and one of the best around.  He’s been here years, he’s practically part of the furniture.  He’s also quite attractive, very much single and Fran’s been after him ever since she started working here.  Neither of us can work out if he’s just playing hard to get or if Fran’s attempts at flirting are just incredibly useless but either way he’s not taken the bait yet.  She’s not giving up without a fight though.
“Anything’s better than nothing isn’t it?”
I didn’t answer.  She must really be hitting desperation levels if she’s taken to flirting with Tony.  I looked at her.  “Buff body?”
We both burst out laughing as we crossed the road and headed down onto the sea front, waving at the waiter from The Mandarin Garden, our favourite Chinese restaurant, as he laid the tables outside ready for lunchtime opening.
“You and Antonio ok then?” Fran asked, pushing her sunglass down over her eyes as the sun bounced off the blue sea infront of us, making me squint slightly.
“Ofcourse we’re ok.  What makes you ask that?”
“I’m always asking that Molly because I still think you’re rushing into this marriage far too early.  You’ve only been divorced five minutes.”
“You know what I mean.”
We sat down at a just-vacated frontline table in Mario’s and I picked up the menu, scanning it unnecessarily because we both knew exactly what we were ordering but I just wanted a diversion from a conversation that Fran was obviously intent on starting.
“What about him?”  I didn’t look up from the menu.
“Over there!”
“Jesus Christ, where?”  I almost fell off my chair, dropping the menu and knocking over my bag.  Was she kidding me?
“Over there, on the telly.  Blimey, talk about on edge.  Your face!”
“Not funny Fran.”
I looked over towards the TV in the corner of the bar which was showing a darts tournament on Sky, obviously for the benefit of a group of holidaymakers who were glued to it as another round of 1 euro pints was delivered to their table.  Mario usually just had MTV or some other music channel playing but if there was enough demand he had been known to take requests.  Especially if it looked like they were going to be there for the duration, and this lot certainly looked like they were.
I watched Mario’s new, very large flat-screen Plasma TV as my ex-husband concentrated on the dartboard infront of him - there’d once been a time when he’d concentrated on me with that much intensity – throwing a perfect 180, punching the air as the crowd round the table jumped up and cheered.  He must be close to winning something.  I’d almost lost all track of the professional darts circuit since we’d split up, and that still made me quite sad because I’d loved that sport.  I still did.  I just didn’t love watching him anymore.  So why couldn’t I take my eyes off the screen?
“Do you want to go somewhere else?” Fran asked, and I swung back around, shaking my head.  “You ok?”
“I’m fine.”  My ‘phone rang and I almost breathed a sigh of relief.  A diversion was just what I needed right now.  “It’s Antonio.  Order me the usual and I’ll be back in a second.”
I got up and walked over to the wall opposite the bar, sitting down facing the sea.
Hola mi bella dama.”
I smiled at the sound of my Spanish fiancé’s voice.  He was so romantic that sometimes I wondered if he was too good to be true.  Paul had never answered the ‘phone and called me beautiful, not when he was sober anyway.  Antonio did it frequently and it was nice.  Most of the time.
“Hola yourself.  Everything ok?”
“Are you coming to the bar after work?”
“Well, I was going to go home and grab a bath first…are you at Paco’s already?  I thought you weren’t going in until tonight?”
“Luiz needed help with a delivery.”
I closed my eyes and let that gorgeous Spanish accent wash over me, trying to block out the shouts of “double top Parker, come on you slackarse!” coming from Mario’s.  Geordie’s too.  Just what I needed. 
“Can’t you come home for a bit?”  I asked.  “You know, maybe help me wash my back?”  I really needed to see him now.  I needed to be reminded of the wonderful man he was and the fabulous new life I had here because being reminded of the man I’d left behind and the life we’d once had back home in Britain had knocked me slightly, I couldn’t deny that.  I just didn’t want anyone else to see it, least of all Fran.  She was on my back enough as it was.
Antonio laughed that deep, throaty laugh of his and I felt my stomach turn a hundred somersaults, smiling to myself again.  “If you want me to come home who am I to argue?  What time do you finish tonight?”
“5.30.  I’ll be home by 6.”
“I’ll run your bath.  Te quiero.”
“I love you too.”  I really must start saying that in Spanish.  It’s not exactly difficult.  Antonio says it enough, and I should be making more of an effort.
“Everything ok?”  Fran asked as I sat back down, ignoring the urge to look back at the TV.
“Everything’s fine.”
“He won.”
“Who did?”
“Paul.”  She indicated towards the TV without looking up from the magazine she was flicking through.  “He won.  While you were out there.  He won his match.”
“I’m very happy for him.”  I picked up my drink, wishing it was alcoholic.
Fran closed the magazine and looked at me.  “You shouldn’t be rushing into this wedding Molly, you really shouldn’t.  It isn’t fair on you and it certainly isn’t fair on Antonio.  Not when you’re…”
“What, Fran?  Not when I’m what?”
She sat back and stared out ahead of her, watching a catamaran sail past on its way back into the harbour at Puerto Colon.  “Nothing.”
“No, come on.  You started to say something so finish whatever it was you were going to say.  Not when I’m what?  Come on, just say it.  I want to know what’s on your mind Fran.  Not when I’m what?”
She looked at me, pushing her sunglasses back up onto the top of her head.  “Not when you’re still in love with Paul.”

So, if you liked what you saw and you fancy reading the rest of 'Too Much Trouble in Paradise', you can find it here on  and 

It's ready and available to download now - for just 99p/$0.99 until January 2012!

If you like your romance with a touch of humour (and you don't have to like darts to like this book, honest!!) and you fancy a nice, light hearted read that will make you smile, then give it a go.  And if you like it, please let me know.  Feedback is all important, especially to new writers.  Only by knowing what readers like and don't like can we, as authors, continue to write the best books we can.  After all, without the reader, there's not much point to us really...

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