Cupid's Way, the new novel from Joanne Phillips. The book is released on Amazon tomorrow, and focuses on single thirty-something Evie who makes it her mission to save her grandparents' home, running into successful CEO Michael. Today we're sharing an extract of this fab new novel - enjoy!
On the morning of the Go Green conference, Evie Stone fell asleep on the train. Lulled into a head-jerking slumber by the rhythmic clatter of wheels on rails, she finally gave in and rested her head against the scratchy fabric backrest. Weak sunlight and dark tunnels flashed across her eyelids. She dreamed of standing ovations and rounds of applause. A smile crept onto her face and the miles rolled past.
The intercity was pulling out of Cardiff station when Evie woke with a start. She pressed her forehead to the cool window and watched helplessly as the station – her destination – slid away. All too quickly the backs of industrial estates and retail parks turned to pockets of gardens and fields. Evie pushed back her hair and tried to calm her breathing. It would be okay. It was only a minor disaster, not a major one. Providing she could get off the train really soon and catch another back to Cardiff it need not be a disaster at all.
She sat to attention, tapping her fingernails on the Formica-covered table. The intercom crackled into life. A man who sounded as though he was underwater said, ‘Next stop, Bridgend.’
Evie’s eyes stretched open in alarm. She looked at her watch and grimaced. If she didn’t get off this train soon there’d be no point even going to the conference.
‘Excuse me!’ Evie noticed the guard at the end of the carriage and waved her hand, bouncing a little in her seat. She watched him approach, hoping he was taking in the blonde hair that bobbed an inch above her shoulders and the tailored lime-green skirt that fitted snugly above her knees. She fixed her most winning smile to her face and looked up as he reached her side.
‘I’m so sorry to bother you, but I’ve made a bit of a blunder. I was supposed to get off at Cardiff but I missed my stop. I need to get back there as soon as possible.’
The guard had the best poker face she’d ever seen. His eyes pulled away from hers and focused on her left cheek. He said, ‘Didn’t you hear the announcement? I made it myself.’
Evie frowned. ‘I’m afraid I didn’t hear anything. Perhaps your intercom system is broken. I don’t think I’ve heard any announcements since Newport.’
The guard smiled, and Evie relaxed.
‘So, because I missed my stop do you think you could pull up at one of these little stations we keep passing’ – she pointed out of the window as yet another station with an unpronounceable name sped past – ‘and let me off?’
The guard started to laugh. Evie hesitated, then joined in. The woman in the seat opposite Evie nodded her head and adjusted her glasses, before returning to her book.
‘So, that’s okay?’ Evie pulled her jacket around her shoulders in readiness.
‘Oh, no. No can do. Sorry, my dear, but this isn’t a bus. We can’t just stop on demand.’
Evie’s shoulders drooped and her jacket slipped off again. ‘But it’s your fault I missed my stop,’ she said. ‘I didn’t hear the announcement.’
‘Probably because you were asleep,’ he answered with a grin.
‘I was not asleep!’ Evie sat back and glared at him. ‘As if I would do something so stupid. I’ll have you know I’m due to give a talk at the very important Go Green conference today. In fact, I’m meant to be going on stage in about’ – she looked at her watch again – ‘an hour and a half. There’s no way I’d fall asleep and miss my stop. Not me.’
‘You have a sleep scar,’ the guard told her, pointing at her cheek.
‘What?’ She reached up and touched her skin, then twisted around to look at her reflection in the window. Outside, the sun had slipped behind the rain clouds, and the lights in the carriage turned the window into a mirror. A mirror in which she could see all too clearly her dishevelled hair, the bags under her eyes, and a crescent-shaped indentation curving from her cheekbone to her mouth. A glance at the headrest solved the mystery of where it had come from.