To the big day and the release of Animal Instincts! I'm starting to get really nervous now, hoping people will like it.
Here's a little snippet just so you can meet Clodagh and Immi.
Clodagh Martin is fond of her celebrity sister Imogen, but in small doses. So when she turns up drunk at Rainbow's End, Clodagh's animal sanctuary, announcing she's in trouble and staying for a long visit, Clodagh's not exactly delighted. She has enough problems right now. The business is broke, and there's been a worrying wave of vandalism. Is someone really trying to ruin her? A big property magnate, bad-lad Jack Thatcher, has been showing a rather strong interest in Clodagh lately. But is it her or her assets he's after?
The light from the hall spilled out into the night illuminating the two figures on my front doorstep.
“Surprise!” Immi wobbled on her heels and blinked owlishly at me, “I’ve got a present for you.” She waved an unopened bottle of champagne in my face.
“That’ll be sixty quid, Miss.” The taxi driver supporting my sozzled step-sister leaned her against the doorframe, a look of relief on his florid features. He must have driven her quite a distance to want sixty pounds and it was typical of Immi not to have any money with her.
“Pay the man, Clo,” Immi ordered and staggered sideways, flinging her arm around the driver’s neck to steady herself.
“Whoops!” She giggled.
The only money I had in the house – the only cash I had at all¬ – was hidden in the greedy pig cookie barrel in the kitchen. I left Immi and her new friend on the doorstep and scurried off to fetch the cash, mentally cursing her as I went.
As soon as the cabbie had been paid I yanked her inside and closed the door.
She peered at me in the dim yellow light of the hallway. “Wassup Clo? Were you in bed?”
Well, duh, it was two o’clock in the morning and my pyjamas would be a big clue. I steered her into the kitchen and put the kettle on. One - or both of us - needed coffee.
Immi flopped on to one of the mismatched wooden chairs next to the Aga and plunked the champagne bottle down on the table. Her long blonde hair was tousled and her usually immaculate make-up was smudged. She was dressed in a silvery mini dress and matching cardi, as if she’d been out clubbing.
“God, I need a drink.” She leaned forward on to the table, scattering a pile of bills and final demands as she buried her head in her arms.
“I think you’ve had enough to drink.”
Having my half-cut step-sister turn up out of the blue at such an odd hour wasn’t strange in itself. Normally, however, she would arrive with a full set of matched pink luggage, her mobile phone glued to her ear as she ranted on about whichever boyfriend of the moment had broken her heart. She would then stay for less than a day until the errant male in question arrived with his arms full of roses to beg her forgiveness.
She lifted her head. “You don’t understand, Clodagh. My life is over. Ruined.” The dramatic effect of her statement was slightly marred by the slurring. I wondered where she’d been to arrive on my doorstep at this hour of the night.
“I’m sure it can’t be that bad.”
“S’worse than bad.” She nodded her head drunkenly.
Her mood had changed from happy drunk to depths of despair during the short stagger from the hall to the kitchen. Oh boy, at this rate I would be the one needing a drink; her current man trouble must be worse than usual. It had to be a boyfriend problem. Immi was the only person in the world with worse judgement than me when it came to men. I moved my book-keeping paperwork to one side and slid a mug of black coffee in front of her. “Drink this.”
Immi fixed big, tear-filled blue eyes on me. “I’m serious. I’m in big trouble.”
I wasn’t unduly shocked by her declaration. My stepsister always thought her emotional crises were the end of the world. I’d been holding her hand and passing her tissues ever since she’d hit her teens. She always fell in love too hard and too fast.
I took the chair opposite hers. “Who is it this time?” I’d been racking my brains while I’d made the coffee to try and recall the name of her current squeeze.
She sniffed and wiped away a tear with the side of her finger. “It’s not a man. It’s a TV show.”
There was a roll of kitchen towel on the counter, so I passed it over. Career issues were also nothing new. Immi’s an actress. Not A list, more like C list but with higher aspirations. She’d had some good supporting roles, is the face of Blitzclean mouthwash and has a part in a daytime soap. Her lifestyle is a million miles away from mine, hers is glamour and glitter, my life is denim and doggy. I don’t know much about Immi’s world– I don’t even own a TV any more.
© Nell Dixon 2009
http://www.nelldixon.com to read more
Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Animal-Instincts-Little-Black-Dress/dp/0755345207/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232824702&sr=8-2
Play.com Book Depositary and all good bookstores.