Catching Up with the Joneses – for fans of Angel Avenue

Recently I re-read one of my own novels (oh the vanity!!!). It was quite nice actually, and because of the distance I’ve put between myself and this novel now, I was reading it as if from a new reader’s perspective (almost).

Angel Avenue was a novel I wrote in a rush of affection and nostalgia for young love and the city I went to university in and still live nearby. In the novel, Angel Avenue, I never state the setting is Hull. I guess I wanted you, the reader, to envisage the world of this novel as any place – anywhere. I never state the main, bustling avenue Jules and Warrick live on and around is Angel Avenue, because there is no such thing as Angel Avenue. There’s Newland Avenue in Hull – and many of the other sites I’ve described in the novel are real, too. You can go visit them! How glamorous, eh? The title Angel Avenue was suggested to me by my husband Andrew. The original title was Losing Laurie and the book originally was centred around the idea of this woman, Jules, transferring the loss of her mother to a man who did the dirty on her. Like a mourner who goes to their loved one’s grave on a specific day of the week, maybe every day, Jules returns to the spot she met Laurie. I think it is difficult to understand Jules’ psychology but the moral of this book, Angel Avenue, is hidden very carefully within the pages. I focused on etching the characters and the build-up of real love (not teenage or lust-fuelled love) but actual, long-lasting love.

angel avenue collageWarrick is a man given a second chance at life and since he washed himself clean of all his vices, he’s not taken them up again. There’s a splice between innocence and experience in this book – and it’s experience which redeems Warrick – because he saves Jules. A teacher, she in turn gets a new reputation for herself at school for being a cool, ballerina/dancer chick, and when the kids find out Jules and Warrick are together – they trust him too. And thus, a paedophile ring and a traumatic case of bullying are uncovered in this novel. Therefore, ANGEL AVENUE this is, because wouldn’t we love such difficult problems to be solved so easily in real life, eh? Jules’ life was fucked up by her parent’s addictions and she triumphs professionally, yet falls down personally.

I read recently that it takes a hard heart to write a tender novel and this is so true of me and this novel, Angel Avenue. This novel was a terrific salve for me after finishing the gruelling and brain-taxing novels A Fine Profession and A Fine Pursuit. Perhaps I recently re-read Angel Avenue because I needed some salve again!

Anyway, after doing my re-read, a scene came to me which I wrote a few weeks ago now. In the actual novel, which I will never add to or subtract from because it’s exactly how Jules and Warrick told their tale to me at the time, we have an epilogue from Warrick’s POV. But not one from Jules.

What follows now is an epilogue from Jules’ POV. You’re now catching up with the Joneses a few years after they met, as they navigate married and family life. If you haven’t read the novel, you might not want to read this extra/extended epilogue. However, I don’t think this will spoil your enjoyment of Angel Avenue too much if you do decide to go back and read the main novel. After all, it’s the way they fall in love that counts.

When we first had the twins, I was frightened to death of dropping one of them. I was terrified of all sorts and I relied on Warrick for everything. I only know how to be a parent because of him, because I never really had a parent of my own, not one I remember well enough anyway. Everything before my eighth birthday, I’ve blocked out, because that was when Mum was alive and I don’t allow myself to remember how happy I was before she was stolen from me.

To read the full epilogue, click the link below…

Put the kettle on, kick your feet up, and revisit my favourite fictional couple. Well, no I can’t say that, because they stand alongside Cai and Chloe, Lottie and Noah, Seraph and Ryken (and a few others I can’t tell you about yet…)

Just…. enjoy! 😉

DOWLOAD: Jules’ epilogue

Purchase Angel Avenue in paperback or eBook:

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Contemporary romance #FREE to download – excerpt

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EXCERPT:

When I wake and realise it was a cruel dream, I ache inside. I find I am drooling on his chest and I retract my hold on him immediately. It’s early but I roll away and let myself out of bed. I look back on him and see he’s still fast asleep so I leave him there and head to the bathroom, where I look in the mirror and see my cheeks are crimson.

I douse my face in cold water but nothing is helping to rid myself of this heat all over my body. Instead, I walk to the kitchen and down a tumbler full of cold water. I still feel as hot as hell. When I walk by the bed and see his chest uncovered by the duvet, I stare at what is before me. Yes, I admit, he’s a man I want and I want him more than anything else in the entire world. He makes me feel safer than I have ever felt before in my entire life.

Phew. Getting that out there with myself is a relief.

When he rolls over and pulls the blanket up around himself, I watch the expressions he makes in his sleep. His nose twitches and he grunts. A smile falls across my lips and I don’t feel too bad then. It’s just the same old Warrick, growling and snoring. One of my secret behaviours these days is to smell his pillow when he’s not here.

I sit at my desk and do the only thing that will occupy my mind ‒ marking. I congratulate myself that if I do it now, I shall have the rest of the day to relax.

When I get bored after the first batch are done, I get up and head to the kitchen to brew a pot of tea. I fill two cups and put one by his bedside.

He hears the stamp of the mug and his eyes twitch open.

“Tea for you.”

I turn and sit at my desk and place my own cup down. I try to keep working but the mirror of my desk/dressing table is reflecting his image. He sits up and stares.

“What’s wrong?”

“Just marking. Is that a crime?”

“You seem odd.”

“All normal then.”

I hear him take a big sip and he puts the cup back down and rolls over to stretch, but the duvet shifts with him. In the mirror I see the whole length of the back of his body, on show.

He’s tight. No hair where there shouldn’t be any. Muscles in his shoulders and arse, thighs and arms. I am falling for him and his body is an added bonus. Christ! If only I can get my act together and stop being a cock tease.

Next thing I know, he leaps up to dash to the loo and I watch his body as he walks. My eyes peel wide open.

He returns and openly sups from his mug, standing there in only his boxers still. I fight every impulse to look and I end up just randomly ticking every page of the books I am marking!

“I have a thing today.”

“What thing?”

“My voluntary work. You know, the thing I dragged you to that time.”

“Ah, rule me out then.”

“I promised Joe I would drop in for Sunday lunch too. I do that about once a month.”

“Fine.”

I don’t know why he’s fishing for my approval. He pulls on his jeans and a vest he must have been wearing beneath the mustard jumper yesterday.

“I’ll just go then?” he huffs.

I turn in my chair to face him, and bite my pen.

“What’s wrong?”

He shakes his wild hair out and his eyes look manic.

“Guess I just feel a bit like I am getting the brush-off here.”

“Look, I woke early. I often do if I have had an early night.”

He hops on his feet and I stare him out, refusing to get as irate as him.

“Stay. Make yourself breakfast. Watch telly. This is just my life, you know. I mark all the time.”

He sits on the edge of the bed and drinks the rest of the tea.

“Have you had breakfast yet?”

“No,” I murmur, making random ticks still.

“What do you want then?”

“There’s eggs. I like mine poached.”

“More tea?”

“Yep.” I hand him my now empty mug.

He calls me for breakfast soon later and we eat at the tiny table, which he has laid properly and garnished with a flower from my bouquet of carnations in the kitchen.

I seat myself, though still in my nightdress and robe. I chomp through the food in my usual fashion and I see him watching me. He wants to know whether he outdid my day with Laurie.

I am not going to tell him that he most certainly did, nor in being here for breakfast and doing it all himself, he’s winning by miles.

“I have a favour to ask.”

“Yeah?” he cheers.

“We go on a half-term dash to Bruges every autumn, me and the girls. Betsy and Ruby. They’ve pulled out this year because, well, they hate me now I have implemented all the changes that Dickhead Jack imposed on us.”

“That’s sad,” he remarks.

“Ah, it doesn’t matter. I don’t work there to be liked. Look, anyway, I booked mine and can’t get a refund. My cabin was booked, you know, ages ago. It was a two for one thing, so if you want to come, you’ll go free but it’ll be with me, in a tiny cabin, for two whole nights. Otherwise I will be going alone. I mean, I don’t mind,” I swing my fork around, looking anywhere, “but I thought, well, you seem stressed from work and it would be free… for you. Seems a waste.”

“When?”

“Friday next week? Sails late afternoon.”

He chomps down on some egg and toast and consults with his memory.

“I will have to do some begging but I don’t see why not. Just means I might have to work overtime in the evenings next week.”

“Oh, don’t put yourself out. It’s not essential.”

I toss off my disappointment.

“I’ll come,” he smiles.

“You will?”

“Course,” he replies.

He stands and collects the plates. I hear him washing up while I finish my marking.

When he comes back into the bedroom, he’s dressed and ready to leave. A hand drops on my shoulder and he kisses my cheek.

“I’ll text.”

I grab his hand and halt him, “Thank you, for yesterday.”

I know I am blushing. I hate myself.

He smiles and the next thing I know, he’s out of the door and then the building. I miss him already. I’m falling heart-screamingly in love with him. That dream is going to be the undoing of me!