To celebrate the release of our books, The Girl in the Hard Hat and Man Drought this January, fellow writer, Rachael Johns and I have decided to introduce our characters to each other. Yes, you read that right. Today I’m going to be posting a scene featuring Wendy Hopkins and Imogen Bates, our two troubled but determined heroines.
I have never collaborated with another writer before and to be honest, initially I was a little nervous about whether I could do it. But Rachael just made it easy. We had SO MUCH fun writing this together and I have been dying to post this scene since we finished it in early December. Rachael will also be posting a scene we wrote together featuring our two heroes on her blog on the 21st Jan. So make sure you tune in for that too!
The scene I’m posting below is set just prior to Man Drought and right in the middle of The Girl in the Hard Hat. But don’t worry, no spoilers.
I was going to call this piece, The Girl in the Hard Hat meets the Girl from Gibson’s Find but thought that was too long and wordy. So I’m settling on a more simple title… Enjoy!
Over a Cuppa
By Loretta Hill and Rachael Johns
Her mother’s accusatory words still stinging her ears, Wendy needed a hot drink to calm herself down. But as she turned away from the cafe counter, coffee in hand, she bumped straight into the woman behind her – a stunning red head in a white singlet. Wendy watched in horror as the styrofoam cup flew out of her hands and onto the wooden floor boards of the quaint little coffee house. Scorching liquid spilled over her bare legs and open sandals causing her to gasp in pain.
“Oh shoot, I’m so sorry.” Her companion cried in dismay, her expression the very picture of apology. “I’ll buy you another coffee.”
Wendy immediately quelled the string of swear words that might have made Carl blush. It wasn’t this woman’s fault she had her mind on other things.
“No, no it’s okay.” Wendy grabbed some napkins off the counter and began to wipe her legs. “I’m the one who wasn’t looking where I was going. I’m the one who-“ She broke off in alarm as of their own volution her eyes started fill. “Oh damn-“ She pressed her finger tips to her eyes. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.”
“I’m buying you another coffee,” the red head said firmly. “Cappuccino wasn’t it?” She turned back to the barrister before Wendy could stop her.
Geez Wendy. Pull yourself together.
“It’s a ten minute wait.” The barrister informed them.
“Do you want to sit down?” the woman in the white singlet asked. “I’m Imogen, by the way.”
Wendy threw her a watery smile. “Wendy.” They took the table by the window. Wendy bit her lip self consciously. “I er… don’t usually cry in public.”
Imogen nodded with understanding. “Having a hard day?”
“It’s not man trouble is it?”
At her words, the image of Gavin’s grin – both disrespectful and charming sailed into Wendy’s head. How he managed to encroach on her thoughts even now she’d never guess.
Imogen groaned. “I know that look. I’ve seen it before.”
Wendy blushed. “Where?”
“In the mirror. In the faces of my friends. Sweet, we’ve all been there.” Imogen winked.
“What’s he like?”
“Bad,” Wendy grimaced. “Very bad. Too bad for me. But he’s not the reason I’m having a horrible day.”
“Want to talk about it?”
Wendy squared her shoulders, banishing all thoughts of her dysfunctional family from her head. “Not really? It’s too depressing. Are you from around here?”
“Yes, although not for long.” Imogen smiled. “I’m moving to Gibson’s Find. I just came into the city one last time to do a few jobs before I leave.”
Wendy nodded. “So tell me about your man.”
A sadness crept over Imogen’s previously chirpy eyes. “Did I say I had one?”
“Oh sorry I just assumed from the way you were talking…”
Damn girl! Where are your manners? Wendy cast her eyes down.
“No, that’s alright.” Imogen took a deep breath and fiddled with her ring finger. There was nothing there but a tan line round where a wedding band usually lives. “My husband died almost three years ago.”
“Oh God, I’m so sorry.” Now Wendy felt more than awkward. Her family may be dysfunctional but she’d never had anyone die on her.
“It’s okay.” A slight smile returned to Imogen’s pretty face. “I was lucky to have him as long as I did. I’ll always miss him, but I’m moving on, ready to do something new and exciting with my life. Tell me more about your man.”
Wendy laughed. Gavin? My Man? She reached over and squeezed Imogen’s hand.
“You know what, I don’t have one either.”
The Girl in the Hard Hat By Loretta Hill and Man Drought By Rachael Johns.
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