Today I am super excited to share with you an extract from I Followed The Rules by Joanna Bolouri and once you’ve finished reading don’t forget to enter the giveaway below because thanks to Alainna at Quercus, I have one copy to giveaway!
Joanna Bolouri worked in sales before she began writing professionally at the age of thirty. Winning a BBC comedy script competition allowed her to work and write with stand-up comedians, comedy scriptwriters and actors from across the UK. She’s had articles and reviews published in The Scotsman, The Skinny, the Scottish Sun, the Huffington Post and HecklerSpray. Her debut novel The List has already been sold for translation in 13 countries.
She lives in Glasgow with her daughter
He’s late. He’s half an hour late.
I nervously tuck my hair behind my ears and continue scrolling on my smartphone. That’s all right, I tell myself; people are late all the time. Maybe they’re not HALF AN HOUR LATE on a first date, but he’s obviously been held up. Could be a number of reasons – he could be stuck in a traffic jam . . . had a car crash . . . he could have fallen down a sinkhole; these things happen. I’ll just continue scrolling through the BBC News website, pretending that everything’s fine. The people in this bar don’t know I’m waiting for someone. As far as they know, I’m just a woman, sitting in front of a table, asking it to bear the weight of her large glass of red wine. Yup, nothing to see here.
But by the time I order my second glass, he still hasn’t arrived and I’m fuming. He clearly isn’t coming and I’ve wasted a Friday evening that could have been spent cuddling up to my eight-year-old daughter, Grace, in her fluffy pyjamas, being ignored by my equally fluffy cat Heisenberg. My sister Helen is babysitting for me, no doubt feeling pleased with herself for being the person responsible for getting her unmarried sister on her first proper date in weeks –
‘Just meet up with him, Catriona. Have a drink. Colin’s really nice . . . arty type. Goes to the theatre quite a bit.’
‘How do you know him?’ I’d asked suspiciously. My sister generally only knows two types of men: those who are married and those she wants to set me up with.
‘He works with Adam. He thought Colin would be perfect for you.’
‘So you haven’t actually met him? All you have to go on is your husband’s word? The same husband who set me up with already-engaged Kevin?’
‘To be fair, no one knew he was engaged.’
‘Well, I’m guessing HIS FIANCÉE did! I walked past the church as they were having their wedding photographs taken. He told me he was in Chester looking after his sick mother.’
‘Yes, that was shameless. His mother died years ago. Anyway, we’re no longer friends with him. But Colin is definitely single.’
I look at the clock behind the bar again, shaking my head. Why did I listen to her? Take a chance, she’d said. You deserve some fun! And now here I am, drinking alone, with a terrifying red wine smile and three per cent battery life. Fuck it. I drain the rest of my drink, pull my coat on and throw my phone in my bag. I have better things to do than wait around for a man who –
I turn around and I’m suddenly chest to face with a short, rain-soaked, gold-cravat-wearing stranger. The sinking feeling in my stomach that follows makes it clear to me that this bizarre man is Colin.
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