After a couple more ciders, she was engrossed in a conversation about the possible impacts of Brexit and wondering where the hell that would leave her, when she saw someone arrive at their table. She looked up and realised that it was Rowan. He was carrying a pile of glasses under one arm and started adding to it from their table.
“Excuse me,” he said to one of the girls in the group to get past her and reach glasses further down on the table. The girl hadn’t noticed him until that point, but hearing him speak, she was alerted to his presence and ran her eyes over his long body as he reached past her.
“You’re quite alright,” she said with a giggle and cocked her eyebrows at Sarah who sat next to her. Rowan gave her a lazy half-smile, as if he heard that kind of comment all the time. There was a small but angry voice in Emily’s head going, “Mine. Hands off. Eyes off.” Her eyes darted daggers at the colleague who she had considered a pleasant acquaintance only moments earlier. Her reaction worried her, and she hurried to hide it into her cider.
Rowan didn’t go away though. He was almost lying on top of the table to reach the last empty glasses in front of her. He grabbed one of them and then looked up, directly into her face. His face lit up in recognition. Emily felt small and helpless. It was like having a teenage crush. She would have to stop drinking cider.
“Hey. I didn’t expect to see you here.”
Emily mumbled something about a night out from work as he picked up the last glass in front of her. Her eyes wandered to the top two buttons on his shirt that were undone and to the tattooed skin underneath. She got very warm all of a sudden.
“Good. It’s about time someone else took you out. There’s only so much of London I can show you.” He gave her that killer smile. Emily half-hoped that her female co-workers didn’t see it; it made him so attractive.
Emily found that her thoughts were muddled. She couldn’t think of anything cohesive to say. Drinking was such a bad pastime.
“Well, if you can get away for a moment, you know where to find me.” Rowan straightened up and gave her an appreciating look. She was embarrassed that he saw her in the same dress for the third time, but she didn’t have many going-out clothes. She thought that Colin had barely ever seen her wear the same dress out three times. She wondered briefly where all her nice, expensive clothes were. Were they somewhere in a trash can or at a flea market?
Emily shook her head slightly to clear it, but it didn’t help. It was too full of alcohol. And Rowan. Definitely too full of him.
Author: Pamela Harju
Book title: Sympathetic Strings
Publish date: 07/12/2018
Her secret casts an ocean between them.
New Yorker Emily arrives in London lonely, desolate and with heavy emotional baggage. She only agrees to go out with Rowan – a heavily tattooed gentle giant and totally not her type – so he can introduce her to her new surroundings.
Rowan, who has his own bruises to heal, falls head over heels in love with the enigmatic American, but Emily has a secret that threatens to keep them apart…
Sympathetic Strings is a sweet stand-alone romance with realistic characters and a gentle touch of suspense.