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Authors: Sheila O'Flanagan

From The Heart

BOOK: From The Heart
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From the Heart

Sheila O’Flanagan

Copyright © 2003, 2007, 2010, 2012 Sheila O’Flanagan

The right of Sheila O’Flanagan to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

First published in this Ebook edition by Headline Publishing Group in 2012

Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of the publishers or, in the case of reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency.

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library

eISBN 978 0 7553 9730 3

HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP

An Hachette UK Company

338 Euston Road

London NW1 3BH

www.headline.co.uk

www.hachette.co.uk

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

About the Author

Also by Sheila O’Flanagan

About the Book

Introduction

Hot Date

A Peaceful Christmas

Anniversary

Phone a Friend

Isobel’s Reunion

Better Together (preview)

Prologue

Chapter 1

Ask Sheila

About the Author

Sheila O’Flanagan is the author of many bestselling novels, including
All For You, Stand By Me
,
The Perfect Man
,
Someone Special
,
Bad Behaviour
,
Yours, Faithfully
,
How Will I Know?
and
Anyone But Him
, as well as the short story collections
Destinations
,
Connections
, and
A Season to Remember
.

Sheila has always loved telling stories, and after working in banking and finance for a number of years, she decided it was time to fulfil a dream and give writing her own book a go. So she sat down, stuck ‘Chapter One’ at the top of a page, and got started. Sheila is now the author of more than fifteen bestselling titles. She lives in Dublin with her partner.

You can follow Sheila on Twitter @sheilaoflanagan

By Sheila O’Flanagan and available from Headline Review

Suddenly Single

Far From Over

My Favourite Goodbye

He’s Got To Go

Isobel’s Wedding

Caroline’s Sister

Too Good To Be True

Dreaming Of A Stranger

Destinations

Anyone But Him

How Will I Know?

Connections

Yours, Faithfully

Bad Behaviour

Someone Special

The Perfect Man

Stand By Me

A Season To Remember

All For You

Better Together

About the Book

Download for free today and enjoy a wonderful collection of previously published stories by Sheila O’Flanagan including a short sequel to
Isobel’s Wedding
, together with a preview of her new novel,
Better Together
, and a special author Q & A.

From the Heart
reveals the unexpected tales that lie beneath the surface of every-day lives, through a memorable cast of characters all in search of their own happy endings. A hot date gets off to a disastrous start; a young couple long for peace and quiet as they prepare for their first Christmas as parents; two eavesdropping passengers realise they share more in common than they had thought; a couple celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, wondering if it’s all a sham; and Isobel from
Isobel’s Wedding
encounters an unexpected reunion in a luxurious Caribbean getaway.

A touching and heart-warming selection of stories taken from Sheila O’Flanagan’s bestselling collections
Destinations
,
Connections
and
A Season to Remember
, available together exclusively in this digital-only edition.

Thank you for downloading this limited-edition short story collection by Sheila O’Flanagan. If you’re already a fan of Sheila’s novels, we hope you’ll agree that these stories are full of the unforgettable characters, warmth and humour that make her writing so irresistible. And if you’re a first-time reader, you’re in for a treat!

The stories have been specially selected from Sheila O’Flanagan’s previous bestselling collections:
Destinations
,
Connections
and
A Season to Remember
. There is also the chance to read an exclusive preview of Sheila’s new novel,
Better Together
, before it is published on 5th July 2012.

If you would like to find out more about Sheila O’Flanagan, have a look at the special author Q & A at the end of this collection. Alternatively, visit
www.sheilaoflanagan.com
.

You can follow Sheila on Facebook and on Twitter @sheilaoflanagan

Happy reading!

HOT DATE
OK, I was quivering with excitement. I really was. Whenever I picked up a piece of paper I could see that my hands were actually shaking. It’s kind of pathetic to get into a state like that about a bloke but, well, this was Richard Clavin. The smouldering, sexy, makes-Colin-Firth-look-like-Danny-DeVito Richard Clavin. And he was my date.
There wasn’t a woman in Whizz-Bang Solutions who didn’t think that Richard Clavin was sex on legs. He was tall (naturally) had dark-raven hair (expertly cut) deep blue eyes (which were whirlpools of emotion) and a jawline that any James Bond actor would’ve killed for. Oh, and he was excruciatingly intelligent, on the fast-track for promotion and had a wicked sense of humour. So, you see, anyone would want to go out with Richard Clavin. It wasn’t as though this was an ordinary date. I was – to put it a little over the top – the chosen one!
And I’m never the chosen one. Never. My track record with men makes Bridget Jones look like J-Lo. I’m hopeless. I pick the wrong one every time and I end up with my heart broken feeling as though ‘dumped again’ is emblazoned across my forehead in silver lettering as a warning to other stupid girls who think there’s such a person as Mr Right. I usually pick the fuckwits, you see. The kind of blokes that shouldn’t be let out without an emotional health warning tattooed on their anatomy. I never seem to get it right and I don’t know why. Sometimes I think I must have been Cleopatra in a previous life and I’m still being punished for it. Sometimes I think that I was born hopeless. And then sometimes a bloke comes along and I forget everything that’s gone before so I fall hard and fast for them and then remember the hopeless stuff a few weeks later when I’m on my own in the apartment playing ‘Without You’ at full volume while knocking back a few litres of Smirnoff Ice.
I didn’t know what the Richard Clavin experience would be like but I hoped it wouldn’t be too short-lived because I was getting fed up of ‘Without You’.
He’d walked into the design department of our website company that morning and had looked around for a moment as though searching for the right person. And then those blue eyes had lighted on me as he smiled and said, ‘Sadie, I’ve been given a free meal tonight. Would you like to join me?’
I looked at him, my mouth opening and closing wordlessly, and he smiled again.
‘Dan McCormack’s new restaurant in Blackrock,’ he told me. ‘Remember we did their system? He said to drop in tonight if I could. I know you did a lot of work on the site. I wondered if you’d like to join me.’
Would I what! I clenched my fists together so that he couldn’t see I’d already started to tremble and I nodded vigorously.
‘Great,’ he said as though he was totally unaware of my excitement. ‘How about we meet in the pub near the train station? You know, the new trendy one?’
I cleared my throat. ‘No, because I’m from the other side of town,’ I said. ‘But I’m sure I’ll find it.’
‘I can’t remember the name.’ He frowned. ‘Topsie, Mopsie, Dropsie . . . something on those lines anyway.’
‘No problem,’ I assured him.
‘About seven-thirty?’
‘Perfect.’
‘Great.’ He beamed. (I forgot to mention that he had two rows of perfect white teeth.) ‘See you then, Sadie.’
He strode out of the room and I almost dissolved at my desk.
‘Oh, Sadie!’ Anne-Marie Tarrant looked at me, her brown eyes full of envy. ‘You lucky, lucky cow!’
‘I know.’ I could hardly keep the triumph out of my voice. ‘He obviously realises my potential.’
‘Yeah.’ Noreen Smith looked at me with hostility. ‘Your potential to be dragged into bed.’
‘Tut, tut.’ I gave her my best Cheshire Cat grin. ‘Sounds like you’re jealous.’
‘No,’ snapped Noreen. ‘I just don’t understand what all of you see in him. Self-opinionated shithead if you ask me.’
‘Fortunately I didn’t,’ I cooed sweetly at her. ‘Oh, and Noreen, don’t bother telling me that he’s all good looks and no brains ’cos we know that’s not true.’
‘All good looks and the emotional maturity of a complete fuckwit,’ said Noreen nastily and stabbed at her keyboard.
I didn’t like the fuckwit analogy. It reminded me too much of what could go wrong.
They were all jealous. I would’ve been jealous too if he’d come in and chosen Myra, for example. Or Helen. Or Susan. Or any of the others. But he hadn’t. He’d chosen me.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’m getting into a state about someone who’ll prove to be the emotional juvenile that Noreen thinks and who’ll break my heart by making some crass comment about the size of my thighs or something. You’re wrong. Richard Clavin isn’t like that. He’s kind. The day I dropped half-a-dozen crammed folders onto the floor beside the drinking fountain he stopped and helped me pick them up, commiserating with me and never once looking down the top of my (somewhat inappropriately) low-cut blouse. He’d said that it could happen to anyone and not to worry and wouldn’t you think in a company like ours we’d have got rid of all that paperwork by now? He was nice to me. And he’s emotionally mature.
Clearly, for such an important date, everything had to be perfect. It would’ve been better if I’d had a couple of days’ notice because then I’d have had time to prepare myself properly. As it was I’d have to shave my legs when I got home that evening because I couldn’t let him see them in their hairy glory – I was due to get them waxed in two days’ time but that was no good now. Also, I knew that I couldn’t do my favourite face-mask because that was a thing that needed a couple of days – otherwise I’d have spots on my face due to its ‘remove all impurities’ qualities. Finally (and a bit more worryingly) I didn’t have time to get my hair cut but I rang the hairdresser and booked myself in for a wash and blow dry at half-five. After which I intended to go home, pop on my unflattering but useful shower cap to protect my newly styled mane from the steam, and sit in a scented bath surrounded by candles. The candles would calm my nerves and get my karma right for the night. (I’m not really into all that karma stuff but it can’t do any harm, can it?)
I spent the rest of the morning pleasurably thinking about what I was going to wear – my new suede skirt with the cowboy fringe, perhaps. But I dismissed that because it was too jokey and light-hearted and I felt that dinner with Richard Clavin should be a more sophisticated affair. Even if it was preceded by drinks at Mopsies or Topsies or whatever it was called. My little black dress was, of course, totally sophisticated and a great standby for nights out when I wanted to look charming and elegant instead of sort of scatty like I usually did, but it was two seasons old and just a little tired. Buying something new would’ve been an option if our offices hadn’t been located in the retail wasteland of Amiens Street and lunchtime restricted to a sandwich delivered to the desk because we were supposed to be working hard on Project X. (We always called the busy things Project X and sometimes they even had a hint of glamour, but this was a site for an electrical distributor and totally boring.)
I gazed into space. Perhaps my biscuit-coloured trousers and my moss-green Lycra top? Too businesslike. My Edina Ronay knitted dress? Maybe . . . but if it was warm in the bar (and it was sure to be warm in the bar) then my face would go red and would clash unbecomingly with the pink wool. I was still mentally mixing and matching when Jessica Ferris, our managing director, walked into the room.
BOOK: From The Heart
12.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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