I am delighted to be hosting an extract from Isabella May’s debut novel Oh! What a Pavolva as part of the blog tour.
There are still a few remaining stops on the tour, here’s where it’s heading next.
Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.
Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation.
Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.
And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…
But will she escape before it’s too late?
My infidelities had been set in motion some time ago, in Lyon during my Uni gap year, a mere three years into my relationship with Daniel.
I’d always dismissed my very brief fling with Pierre, the engineering postgraduate, as nothing more than getting things out of my system before settling down to married life. It colluded with the childishly sketched pictures of ‘our future country cottage’ that Daniel would send me, along with the lovesick letters which arrived in forlorn bundles begging me to always stay with him, have his children, cats and dogs. Even then it scared me sideways, the lengths to which he had water-coloured my life without as much as a consultation.
One Saturday I was whisked off to a ball with another English student friend. Both of us were stranded as teachers in a further education centre; a grey concrete jungle of nothingness, on the outskirts of the city. A mutual acquaintance just happened to be the not-much-older-big-sister of one of the engineering postgrads at Lyon University, securing us some much swooned over tickets.
The engineering ball was quite the grandest event I had been to at the time. Swarms of hot-blooded French men outnumbered the women four-to-one on the dance floor. The Teenage Wedding song from Pulp Fiction blared out and Pierre made his move: Quite from nowhere, quite a surprise, quite mmm. I played Ice Maiden admirably for a couple of verses.
“Je ne peux pas te baiser, j’ai un copain,” I protested feebly every time he dived in for an intoxicating kiss.
Before long, I yielded to his charm; the heady scent of his expensive aftershave helping things along. As the night drew to a close and I discovered the meaning of a real French kiss, he inscribed his phone number the length of my inner arm in pillar box red Chanel lipstick, blunting my favourite make-up as he swept back his long model locks to concentrate. I felt quite the tarte.
But I was too stunned by my actions to care about Daniel, except for a brief spell a couple of weeks down the line when he had caught the Eurostar over to visit. He was a shadow of his former self, having eaten barely a thing since I’d left. Then the guilt caved in. Then I felt utterly wretched for cheating. I worried myself sick when he left, that the next time we ‘met’ would be at his funeral. It was enough to make me abandon my studies and the silly year away. What was I doing to him? It wasmy selfishness and insistence on completing my language degree that had driven him to the brink of anorexia. Remembering the words his mother uttered just weeks before my departure hadn’t exactly eased my complex:
“But you’re not really going to go away and leave him, are you, Kate? I mean, you’ll jack Uni in and not abandon him on his own like this for a year, won’t you?”
“Appellez-moi,” Pierre ordered.
“Just you try to stop me from calling you,” I said, hardly believing my luck.
I managed to wait a whole twelve hours, unable to think of anything else but that kiss and the fire it had unleashed in areas it shouldn’t have. Then I called him, French script in hand, in case I needed a prompt and my throat froze over in pre-date silence.
Encounter numero deux was outside Lyon’s Opera House, where romantic took on a whole new dimension. Dressed in my Little Black Dress, I searched for him up and down, around and around the grand steps; a wanton mademoiselle struggling to catch her breath as a vision of floppy golden-haired loveliness appeared in the distance. In his long black designer coat, he was other-worldly. And I wondered just how many forbidden trysts had there been on those very same steps, beneath the watchful gaze of a French October sunset?
We walked side by side, sneaking furtive glances at one another, trying to hide our beaming smiles. I desperately wanted him to put his arm around me, but it was too early. Besides, this was no date as such. He’d simply invited me over to his apartment. Obviously I’d taken a small overnight bag with me anyway – just in case.
When we finally arrived, after striding through some ridiculously posh parts, I felt like a glamorous Screen Siren, transported back to the heyday of Hollywood. The apartment belonged to a class one needed to be born into. As for the bathroom, I’d never seen anywhere as stocked from floor to ceiling with expensive French aftershaves. No wonder the boy smelt good.
We spent a wonderful evening chatting, laughing, kissing, watching films. He had the most uncannily identical music collection. Although Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ raging across the sound system upon the flick of a hidden high-tech switch, was hardly the most appropriate of songs when things were getting raunchy, even if I adored Tom York’s melancholic warble.
Something happened after the fading of that song.
Many thanks to Isabella and Emma for inviting me on the tour!
Amazon UK | Goodreads | Amazon US
About the Author
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.
As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – http://www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).
She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!
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