She gave up on romance years ago. He’s going through the motions. Their lives change forever when he makes contact out of the blue.
With her daughter leaving the nest, Michelle Cameron would rather spend her time with good friends, a glass of fizzy and a box set, than with another idiot bloke chipping away at her self-esteem. But when childhood friend Daniel Helmsley gets back in touch, the years roll away on a tide of laughter and friendship, which soon gives way to another roller coaster of love, excitement and panic. Can Michelle let herself trust again? What if Dan is just another idiot bloke, disillusioned with the present and nostalgic for the past?
If you like cosy romance that makes you laugh as well as cry, then you’ll love this feel-good tale of past disappointment, renewed friendship and finding true love.
Download Amanda Paull’s Pictures in the Sky today to discover if Michelle dares to love again.
‘Your lively style and humour are exactly right for this genre.’ Susan Davis.
Michelle Cameron, the main character in my debut novel, Pictures in the Sky, has always been a bit of a goody-two-shoes. She lives her life influenced by a combination of nature, nurture and a harsh grammar school environment. This, combined with the sound of ‘What will people think?’ echoing around in her head, ensured that she never stepped out of line. There were lots of lines back in the day. So, she’s certainly not the type to ever put a foot wrong at work – even when provoked. I contemplated cutting this extract from Pictures because the novel is a little too long. However, I couldn’t because I love it…
This follows on from a previous misdemeanour involving Peppa Pig, and shows Michelle accidently doing something else she would never ever, in her right mind, choose to do…
Michelle gasped. ‘Peppa Pig…’ She stepped back and banged her leg against the edge of the desk.
‘Do you like it?’ Bea said, smiling with pride. She looked at Michelle and frowned. ‘Are you alright? You look a bit peaky today. Maybe you should have taken more time off.’
Michelle peered back into the box that Bea was holding out to her. A huge blue eye stared up at her. Her heart pounded as the memory of her last Peppa Pig encounter flashed into her mind. ‘No, I’m fine.’
‘You should have seen it before we cut into it. Huge. I got the recipe off the internet. Try a piece of the snout, it’s got extra butter icing in it – green.’ She poked it with the cake knife so that a dollop squirted out. ‘Looks grotesque, but the kids loved it.’ Bea had made the cake for her niece’s birthday. ‘A couple were sick though. The bouncing after all that food was too much for them.’ Apparently trampoline parties were all the rage for six-year-olds.
Michelle winced as she recalled her jumping accident at Judy’s club. She agreed to take a slice but refused the nose. Before she’d had a chance to choose a less threatening piece of what was left of Peppa’s face, the eye was niftily carved out and delivered to her on a paper hand towel. Bea laughed. ‘I’ll give the rest of the snout to Phil.’ Then she disappeared out of the office, dropping crumbs from the knife in her wake.
Peppa’s icing-sugar eye stared up at her as an embarrassing reminder of the car park incident. Whenever she did something stupid, Michelle’s mind would dig up a selection of other mortifying times, as if to take advantage of the opportunity to make her feel as shite as possible. She was instantly transported back to Tuesday evening, standing in her lounge, practically begging Dan not to leave, as he turned her down and made his hasty escape. Her stomach contracted in humiliation, and then in pain as, yet again, she was overwhelmed by the same devastating loss that had robbed her of sleep every night since then.
This morning the alarm seemed to go off five minutes after she had finally dozed off and she had to force herself out of bed and to work. Hungover with grief and nausea, she had dragged herself over from the carpark on her fatigued legs. As if on cue, her tinnitus notched right up to the point where every little sound hurt, making her want to scream at strangers to shut up.
The incoming email alert clanged through the speaker, still on maximum from listening to the snoring on the study she’d just analysed. Had her leg not been too heavy to lift, she would have put her foot through the computer screen. Instead, she violently clicked on the email. It was a ‘Dear both’ message, addressed to herself and Phil.
‘Vindictive effing Moron.’ A familiar pain seared up through Michelle’s back teeth and into her jaw. Taking her fury out on the keyboard, she emailed Phil by forwarding the original message.
Can you believe this? Three stinking phone calls we haven’t logged. I see there’s no thanks for the fifteen we did manage. Didn’t have the decency to ask whether there might be a problem with finding the actual time to log them on that stupid half-cocked, inconceivably complicated system! Maybe he could come and treat the patients, so we can sit on our backsides logging bleeding phone-calls… What an absolute arsehole! P.S. please delete this email and empty your trash folder afterwards. Thanks.
An almighty thud against the office door coincided with the trill of the office phone, making Michelle jump up from her seat, unsure where to look. Placing the handset to her ear, she turned to see a shocked-looking Phil bound into the room, glasses askew, and his red face glowing under a layer of perspiration.
‘You clicked “reply to all”,’ he announced at the same time as Michelle greeted the person on the other end of the line.
Panicked, she checked the name flashing on the handset screen, and recoiled in horror as soon as she saw the V. Michelle attempted to force the phone onto Phil, who flung his hands in the air, mouthed a cartoon-type ‘Oooh,’ and fled.
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FZKK42H/
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FZKK42H/
All other online retailers – books2read.com/u/3kr6eO
Amanda Paull is a writer of humorous romantic fiction. She lives in the North East of England with her husband and works in the public sector. The inspiration for her stories comes from real life, which she tries to show the funnier side of by embellishing to the hilt.