Today is my turn on the blog tour for Hannah McKinnon's fantastic debut novel Time After Time! My review is coming later (so come read it!), but first up I have an extract from Chapter Two to whet your appetite!
‘I-I’m so sorry, Hayley.’ Jim’s eyes almost popped out of his skull.
Hayley watched a blush creep over his chiselled cheekbones. ‘It’s fine,’ she said.
And you’re lucky you’re so flipping cute.
Waving a hand she added, ‘Don’t worry about it.’
She pulled on her shirt, trying to stop the fabric from sticking to her body. Jim apologised again, then made a swift exit, muttering something about papers he needed to file.
Hayley was about to make a dash for the loo to salvage her top when Charles stepped out of his office.
‘Never mind, Hayley,’ he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, and with a smile that looked about as real as market-stall Rolex. ‘Good job that shirt’s polyester.’
‘It’s silk, you pathetic prat,’ she said under her breath.
‘What was that, Hayley?’ Charles gave her a cool stare.
Hayley sighed. It wasn’t even nine-thirty, but at least it was Friday.
I should’ve stayed in bed. But I don’t need a duvet day. I need a flaming duvet decade.
‘My office, Hayley,’ Charles said sharply. ‘There have been developments.’
‘Developments?’ Her chest tightened. ‘What developments?’ She followed Charles to his office and closed the door behind them.
He sat down at his desk, crossed his legs and raised his chin. ‘I spoke with Thorsten Berger yesterday evening.’Tap, tap, tap went his fingers on his mahogany desk. Tap, tap, tap. He sniffed. ‘They’ve decided to go with another law firm.’
Hayley’s eyes widened. ‘What? But the offer I put together it –’
‘Wasn’t good enough.’
‘I’ll call him, I –’
Charles held up a hand. ‘Don’t. He made himself crystal clear. I’ll talk to him again at some point. Maybe I can salvage some future business.’
‘If I speak to him, then maybe –’
‘Leave it, Hayley. You’re not to contact him. That’s an order.’ His icy stare met her eyes. ‘What’s that, the fourth potential client you’ve lost?’ He picked up the phone and gave her a dismissive wave. Head down, she turned and walked out.
‘I already heard the news,’ Tony said in a low voice as he caught up to her and they walked back to her office. ‘Got lectured about how we should have done more.’
‘What did you say?’
‘Told him we’d do better next time, that there are other clients in the pipe.’
‘You should have heard how he spoke to me. The look he gave me.’ She exhaled deeply. ‘We worked on that Berger offer for weeks.’
‘Sodding Charles. You know he dumped it on me along with four other cases he was supposed to look after?’
‘I missed Millie’s ballet recital and Danny’s first day in his new class. All for nothing. Nothing. And don’t say I know again.’ She flashed Tony a look.
He nodded. ‘I won’t. But don’t let him get to you.’
‘How? And how are you so calm? He pushes all of my buttons and then some. He’s such a backstabbing, sanctimonious shit.’
Tony chuckled, holding her office door open for her. ‘Amen to that.’
‘And he absolutely hates me’ She pulled out her chair and flopped. ‘Always has.’
‘You can blame Ronald for that. May the good man rest in peace.’ Tony smiled. ‘No one likes a teachers pet.’
‘You like me.’ She crossed her arms and frowned at him.
‘I do now, but it took years.’ Tony grinned and put his hands in his pockets. ‘Don’t ever ask Angela what I said about you the first day we met.’
‘What do you mean? What did you say?’
‘That a right stuck up wannabe solicitor had joined the firm and I never wanted to work with her.’
‘Hey!’ She threw a handful of paperclips at him. ‘Your wife adores me.’
He laughed. ‘She does. I won’t deny it. Look, Charles always hated that you got along with Ronald better than he did. So ignore him.’ He shrugged. ‘Works for me.’
She smiled. ‘Thanks Tony, I’ll try.’
But ignoring their boss had become impossible, so after Tony left Hayley sat at her immaculate desk and fantasised about pushing Charles in front of a dozen runaway photocopiers, squashing him as flat as her enthusiasm. That wasn’t the only thing she daydreamed about these days. Not by a long shot. What if …? It was a game she caught herself playing more often than she’d ever admit. She shook her head.