Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape: A Forgiven Friend

Today I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for A Forgiven Friend. I’m sharing an extract with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the tour and to the publisher for providing the extract.

Blurb:

Friendship will always come first.

There’s only one way out from rock bottom and that’s up, and Teri Meyer is finally crawling out from the worst time of her life – no thanks to her best friend Lee. But no matter, she’s finally found love – real love with a real man, a successful man, a man who accepts all her flaws. Teri’s never felt like this before, and yet it’s changing her in ways she doesn’t understand.

And there’s only one person who can help, one person who truly understands Teri.

It seems that no matter how hard Lee Harper tries, there’s a battle awaiting her at every turn these days, and she’s tired. And as if she needs the extra stress, Teri continues to create constant and unnecessary drama. But Lee’s the only one who really knows what’s going on under Teri’s hard, convoluted exterior, and that’s why she’s always been there for her.

But the question is: will Teri be there when Lee needs her most?

The brilliant and entertaining final book in the unique FRIENDS trilogy dishes out another dose of rib-tickling mayhem for our favourite thirty-something professional women.

Introduction:

Teri Meyer has been to the funeral of best friend Lee Harper’s father during which she stumbled into a duck pond! She’s cold, wet and bedraggled so when former lover Declan (the news editor of the local paper) offers her a lift home, she accepts. But she’s determined that ‘nothing will happen’ between them as she’s over him and doesn’t want to rekindle their relationship. At least, not now she loves Richard Walker (managing director of the regional television company). She hasn’t heard from Richard for several days – and, of course, he chooses today to turn up. Declan is in the bathroom. Teri hasn’t had time to dry off and change so opens the door to her duplex looking like a drowned rat.

Extract:

‘Teri…?’ Richard puckered his eyebrows and frowned, looking me up and down and wondering whether he’d got the wrong apartment.

‘Ah…’ I started to say something, although I wasn’t sure what it was going to be.

‘No, let me speak…’ he said. ‘I’ve come to apologise. I did come round that night after you saw me at the library, but there was no reply when I rang the doorbell…’

This is where I should have explained that I thought I’d heard something that night but had been so unhappy … 

I should also have explained why I was wet and bedraggled now. I should have stepped back, invited Richard in, and taken him to the living room where we would sit together on my two-seater sofa, talking quietly and calmly. 

Richard would have told me how sorry he was that we’d rowed, and that he loved me, and I would have said how sorry I was and that I loved him, too. And then we would have moved together, quietly, gently and calmly into the bedroom to make quiet and gentle love. And I would feel wanted and cherished by a man that I knew I wanted and would cherish more than anything in my life.

All that, of course, was on the premise that Declan, currently whistling and relieving himself in my bathroom, had somehow vaporised.

But rather than vaporising, Declan materialised into the hallway with his left hand gripping the waistband of his black jeans and his right tugging up the zip.

I could have told Richard that this man was the postman, a local election candidate, or a complete stranger who’d asked to use the loo.

I could have except that as Declan emerged he was also speaking, and what he said was along the lines of whether it was worth fastening up those damn black jeans as I was such a sex fiend, I’d have them off him in no time at all. And as he was saying those words, he spotted Richard. And in that proprietorial way that men have, Declan moved closer to me, threw a casual arm round my damp shoulders – ignoring the smell of pond. I tried to shrug him off, but he held his ground. 

‘Well, if it isn’t Richard Walker,’ Declan said. Of course, he’d know the managing director of Ridings Today; he’d probably interviewed him many times for the paper.

I stared at Richard. Richard stared back. 

‘What brings you here?’ Declan asked.

Richard’s eyes swivelled to Declan. Then back to me. Then back to Declan. He could have been watching a tennis match.

‘I see…’ Richard said, finally, coolly, having finished eye swivelling, and concentrating on me. ‘I obviously made a mistake. Sorry to have bothered you…’ 

He gave a little nod, took a step back from the door, turned and started to thump down the stairs. I managed to shrug Declan off, this time determinedly, and rushed to follow the man who I’d just admitted to myself was the person I most wanted to cherish.

‘Richard,’ I shouted. ‘Richard. Please. Stop. You don’t understand …’

He stopped on the stairs and half-turned. ‘Oh I think I do,’ he said and then added, cruelly, ‘forget it, Teri.’

He took the last few steps down with an agility that belied the little extra weight he carried and pressed the external door’s exit buzzer. As it takes a couple of seconds for the door to respond, I caught up and grabbed an arm. It was his turn to do the shrugging, and he shrugged me off. 

He went through the door and strode across the car park. 

I thought about chasing him and pleading. But I have my dignity. I was also damp, cold and barefoot.

The car reversed out from where it had been parked very neatly between two white lines. Then it turned for the exit and headed out into the main road.

I stormed back upstairs, burst into my apartment, screamed like a banshee about how Declan had wrecked my life – again – and how I never wanted to see him again – ever – and literally manhandled him out through the door.

All the conniving, duplicitous little shit could think of saying was: ‘But…Teri…’ in that bewildered way men have when they don’t thoroughly understand what’s going on.

He spun on the landing to face me and asked something about what had got into me, but I screamed in reply: ‘Come anywhere near me again and I’m calling the police…’ and slammed the apartment door with such force I could imagine the pot of pink, plastic geraniums my neighbour likes to keep on the communal landing windowsill, shivering in the backdraught.

***

A Forgiven Friend is available from Amazon. You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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