I am thrilled to have Layne Macadam as my guest poster on the day I got back from vacation, and she’s quite right, what a week it has been.
It’s great to have you here, Layne.
Hi Daisy, and let me tell you what an absolute delight it is to be here with you today, thank you so much for inviting me. Today I’m talking about Fairytales and Princes.
Fairytales and Princes
I think it’s safe to say everyone wants the fairytale ending. And for me that is true in books too. I love a good romance. As a child whenever I was reading, the characters would come to life, and the setting would fuel my imagination. The sights and sounds described in the book became real to me. I particularly loved novels that were set in foreign countries. I would be captivated not only by the story but the environment and be transported off in my imagination to faraway lands and exotic places. I believe these stories fostered my passion for travel.
The past week has seen me eagerly awaiting news from England of the royal birth along with the rest of the world. For years we watched Prince William and Catherine Middleton whilst they courted, and we greedily absorbed details and pictures of their relationship reported by the press. It was a fairytale in the making as the handsome prince met and fell in love with a beautiful young girl.
Most people, I feel sure, tuned in for the royal wedding in April 2011, an occasion that brought the world together as we all collectively waited to see Catherine, in her bridal finery and William, resplendent in his military uniform tie the knot at Westminster Abbey. And who could forget that first kiss on the balcony! Ah it’s what dreams are made of.
And now, just a short time later the world watched and waited again for more news of the happy couple that came on the 22nd July 2013. The royal couple were blessed with the arrival of their first child, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. And so the fairytale continues.
Kathy Bellamy shot up from the mattress, going from horizontal to vertical in a heartbeat. The shrill of the telephone had startled her out of a sound sleep. “Hello,” she croaked, clutching the handset to her ear.
Breathy rasps wheezed down the wires. Her heart leaped into her mouth, and fear trickled down her spine, paralyzing her for a nanosecond. It was the fourth call of this type since Monday, but the others had been left on her answering machine in broad daylight.
Just as she was about to hang up the creep spoke, staying her hand.
“Were you dreaming of me pretty lady, or were you awake waiting for my call?”
Kathy stiffened. The voice was muffled, kind of smoky and dark. To engage in any conversation was so the wrong thing to do, but the words tumbled out of their own volition. “Who are you, what do you want?”
“What do I want? You of course pretty girl, I want you. I’m your future sweetheart and you’re mine. Not long now till we’re together.”
His menacing words chilled her bones. Slamming down the receiver, she dived under the covers and tugged them over her head. Something she hadn’t done since she was eight years old and a true indication of how spooked she really was.
Minutes passed before she got up the gumption to poke her nose out from her hiding place. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she berated herself for being such a scaredy-cat. It wasn’t like the creep knew where she lived or anything. Fighting back the covers in a tangle of arms and legs, she snatched the handset off the cradle. The dial tone was loud in the silence as she placed it on the bedside table, but it would soon stop. With that done she settled back on the pillow and regulated her breathing. The whole episode unnerved her more than she cared to admit, and it was an interminable time before she fell back asleep.
After school, later that same day, Kathy entered her two bedroom rented apartment and pushed closed the door with her hip. Heading straight to the kitchen, she set down the shopping bags she’d been juggling onto the counter top and whooshed out a sigh. Her week had been long and trying, starting off bad Monday with the heavy breather, and taking a nosedive from there. Tuesday, she’d overheard some of the other teachers refer to her as a dag, petty but hurtful. She’d overslept Wednesday and missed the bus, and yesterday there were two of those god-awful messages on the answering machine, and today her planned painting treat had turned into a disaster. She’d only left the classroom for five minutes to take little Meredith Frost to sickbay, and in her absence pandemonium broke out.
Martin and Timothy, The Cyclone Twins as she’d dubbed them in her mind, started a fight that, without her presence, deteriorated into a paint war in a matter of minutes. It was over in a blink, she’d regained control upon re-entering the room but caught in the crossfire had ended up with purple and yellow splatters down the front of her blouse, making it the perfect crappy ending to the whole crappy week.
Kathy stacked away the groceries then crossed to the sitting room where her attention was caught by the indicator light on the answering machine. The innocuous flashing red light had now taken on a menacing façade, so much so that she was reluctant to hit the retrieve button.
At first when the calls started, she’d dismissed them as kids playing pranks, but that one in the middle of the night kind of belied that and really messed with her mind, because whilst leaving school today she had the uneasy feeling of being watched. Her imagination had accelerated. She’d shot a glance over her shoulder but everything was as it should be.
Kathy shrugged at the memory and tried to gain some perspective. She was getting all bent out of shape over what amounted to nothing more than some stupid phone calls, a vivid imagination and some creep trying to get his jollies at her expense. Seriously, she needed to get a grip on reality and chill or she’d be a basket case, but still she put off listening to the messages. Kathy realized if she’d stayed in Louisiana, instead of accepting the temporary teaching position in Coronado, her friends would have rallied around, coaxing her out of the doldrums, and together they’d have laughed away her fears. Not for the first time since moving here, Kathy questioned whether she should in fact throw in the towel and return home. But that would be admitting defeat, and she was not a quitter.
With renewed determination Kathy pushed aside her melancholy and vowed to fulfill her teaching obligations and not be intimidated by stupid calls or snide remarks. Sure, the dag comment hurt but honestly, her wardrobe was outdated and in need of an overhaul. Heaven knew there’d been little opportunity to shop in the past twelve months, and the other teachers were trendy. Yes, a new wardrobe might be just the ticket to boost her spirits.
With that decided, Kathy flicked on the TV. Her newfound contentment crashed as the newsreader reported the discovery of a body not far from where she lived, causing her to shiver, like a goose had walked over her grave. It was too depressing. She grabbed the remote and channel surfed for something more upbeat then went into the kitchen to start dinner.
While preparing the vegetables and chuckling to the antics of Elaine and Jerry on a Seinfeld re-run, the doorbell chimed.
Kathy was wary as she opened the door a crack then squealing with delight flung it wide, for standing on the threshold was her best buddy Liz. Kathy rapid-blinked back the tears that pooled in her eyes and with a wide grin hugged her friend tight.
“I can’t believe you’re here, why didn’t you call? I would have met you at the airport,” she said ushering Liz into the apartment.
“I left a message, didn’t you get it?”
“I haven’t had time to check the machine yet.” The lie slipped out with a guilty unease, but there was no point in worrying Liz at this stage. “Come and put your things in the spare room,” she invited changing the subject and leading the way.
Liz dropped her carryall by the bed as they chatted with an easy familiarity. Their friendship had started way back at school and spanned twenty years. Of course they’d had their ups and downs, but their relationship was solid and had stood the test of time. Kathy guessed Liz was worried about her, she’d hinted as much the last time she’d phoned, forever asking if she was okay, if there was anything she’d needed, generally just mother-henning her like the good friend she was, so this visit really shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
After treating Liz to the grand tour, Kathy shepherded her into the living room. “Have a seat,” she invited indicating the sofa.
Liz flopped into the overstuffed faded couch and glanced around. “This is a cozy little apartment.”
Kathy heard the censure in her voice. “It’s clean, the building’s well maintained and there’s a bus at the door. It suits me for the moment,” she defended.
“Well, I must say you look great. You’ve regained most of the weight you lost, but tell me Kathy, how are you really doing and be honest?”
Of the two girls, Kathy had always been the strong one, but her mother’s long illness and recent death had completely taken it out of her. Not that she resented the around the clock care, but after the funeral she needed to get away. Liz had tried to dissuade her from leaving at the time, arguing that she needed her friends close. But she’d felt stifled and was determined that a break from the norm would do her the world of good. Liz disagreed, but it hadn’t been her call to make.
“I’m doing fine,” she admitted. “Eating healthy and I’ve taken up running again. A bit lonely perhaps, but each day is a little easier.”
“Ian wanted me to say hi from him. He asks about you all the time. I think he’s still besotted.”
“Don’t even go there; you know I’m not interested.” Kathy stood and marched into the kitchen, picked up a knife from the bench and finished peeling the potatoes she’d started earlier.
“You could do worse,” Liz said traipsing after her. Kathy held her tongue. Ian was Liz’s friend after all; it was she who’d introduced them. Yes, she could do worse but she wanted to do a whole lot better. She’d love to have a special someone in her life but there had to be chemistry.
“I know you’re lonely, so why not come home where you belong, to people who love and care about you, who…”
“Liz stop. There’s no point rehashing this. You know why I made my decision.” Her voice had an edge; she took a breath and softened her tone. “I’m going to fulfill my work contract, perhaps after that I’ll go home, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”
“Okay, okay, I get it. So what do you do for entertainment around here?”
Liz’s quick change of subject put Kathy on the spot. She thought about inventing some story that centered on the highlife, but Liz was astute and would call her bluff, so she settled on the truth, such as it was. “I’ve made two friends at work, Anne Marshall and Len Baker. We’ve been out for coffee a few times and last weekend we went to the movies together.”
“That’s it? You’re kidding me right? Two months here and that’s the sum total of your socializing? Well girl, that’s about to change, time you got yourself a life. Is there anywhere local we can go dancing?”
“Umm, yes, there’s a club close by that Anne and I have been meaning to visit, it’s supposed to be pretty good with a band most nights.”
“Sounds perfect, we’ll go tonight.”
Kathy had been looking forward to an easy night curled up in front of the box watching old movies and munching popcorn, now she’d have to change out of her sweats and dress up. She shouldn’t grumble though, Liz had come out of her way to cheer her up, so at the very least she owed her a night on the town.
“It’s a date then,” Kathy agreed drumming up more enthusiasm than she felt.
The girls lingered over their meal then went to dress for their evening out.
“Wow, you look hot,” Kathy exclaimed as Liz entered the room wearing a slinky short black dress and a pair of stilettos, quite a contrast to the austere business suit and pumps she’d just discarded. Studying her friend, it never ceased to amaze her how glamorous but impassive Liz was. She was the epitome of a hard-nosed lawyer by day but dressed in that little black outfit, she was simply stunning. A five-foot ten-inch dynamo with vibrant red hair and a wicked figure, heads turned whenever she walked by.
Kathy wanted to tell her it was high time she followed her own advice and find a special someone, but knowing the reaction that would bring she refrained and spinning on the spot asked, “How do I look?”
“God, like you’ve just stepped out of a convent. Young, innocent, dare I say it … old fashioned.”
“Gee Liz, don’t hold back tell me what you really think.”
“Oh don’t go all sensitive on me, just wait here. I’ve got the perfect outfit to jazz you up.” Liz disappeared into her room and returned a few minutes later with a turquoise halter neck and a pair of white fitted pants she handed over. “Here, try these on.”
Kathy murmured her thanks and went to do just that. She was a different shape to Liz—shorter, fleshier—so the white pants looked as if they’d been spray-painted on. And the slinky top shimmered and clung to her curves like a second skin, unlike anything she’d ever owned. The outfit made a statement. Kathy gazed into the mirror and didn’t recognize her reflection. Her butt was firm and shapely, and the low cut top showed a hint of cleavage and a lot of promise. Her face erupted into a grin.
Twisting her hair into a French roll, Kathy secured it with a thick diamante clip, leaving wispy curls to frame her face. The upswept style and glamorous outfit made her feel sophisticated, chic. Sexy.
Kathy knew she was attractive in an understated kind of way. Liz always said she was wholesome, the kid-sister, girl-next-door type; the kind that brought out the protective instincts in men, but she thought this new image went a long way to altering that perception.
“So what do you think?” Kathy asked hoping for a boost to her self-confidence as she pirouetted in the sitting room.
She wasn’t disappointed. Liz couldn’t hide her double take.
“You’ve got the wow factor happening; you sure look the part now. Put it out there and shake that booty girl and I tell you there will be hearts breaking tonight.”
Kathy giggled, she hadn’t felt this light-hearted in an age, but could she really put it out there as Liz suggested?
“Okay then, let’s get this show on the road.”
With a spring in her step and a giggle on her lips, Kathy gathered her purse and keys, doused the lights and locked the apartment behind them.
* * * *
I live with my husband, two dogs and a cat on the beautiful east coast of Australia. I have a full-time job with a degree in history. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I love a happy ending, so writing romance seemed a natural progression for me. But as I sat at my computer staring at the screen it all seemed rather daunting. Once I started tapping on the keys though, the words kept flowing and before I knew it I had written my first book.
I write contemporary romance and sci-fi. I am currently working on Desire Denied book 2 in the Desire Series. I have ideas for an historical romance in the future, and with thoughts of a wolf shifter germinating in my head and a paranormal romance is not outside the realms of possibility either.
When I’m not writing you might find me in the kitchen creating culinary delights, but of course some dishes work out better than others!
I guess my love of history has fueled my other passion which is travel. I have been fortunate enough to have seen lots of this wonderful world we live in and on my web page you can share some of my experiences and pictures.