Title: A Taste of His Own Medicine
Author: Linda Fawke
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to take part in A Taste of His Own Medicine Blog Tour!
The Excerpt …
Kate, after much deliberation, goes to the 30-year reunion at her old university and meets her ex-lover, Jonathan, again… (extract from Chapter 5)
Right, you can handle this, she told herself.
She smoothed her skirt and elongated her neck to give a centimetre more height as she reached the allocated room. A short, plump guy was waiting by the door, an array of printed name badges on a table beside him. She would have known him by the now ample ginger whiskers without looking at his badge. She could hear his sniff as she approached.
‘Willy! Well, well! You don’t look much different.’
He did, of course. Many kilos heavier with the rotund waistline and blotchy nose of the spirit-drinker.
‘Nice to see you, Kate. You’ve not weathered badly.’
He was always slightly askew with his compliments, when he bothered with them. This was a brave effort. They did the compulsory minimal kiss on both cheeks, like a pair of necking birds about to dance. A handshake would have been too business-like, a hug too familiar.
Kate looked around the room. No Jonathan as far as she could see. She wondered how she would react at the first sight of him for thirty years. Would there be any reaction? She thought so as her heart rate increased with anticipation. But perhaps he was now fat and bald; others around the room had gone that way.
She took a glass of white wine from a tray and moved across to a nearby group. There was much helloing and ‘What are you up to now?’ and ‘Are you married?’ and ‘Don’t you look well!’
Kate gathered a large share of the compliments and while she knew she was not herself always telling the truth, chose to believe others were. She could tell. The way the women looked her up and down with envy in their eyes, eyes that wondered how she maintained her shape and looks.
And there were looks from the men. She saw their shaded glances at her legs, the unheard but noticed comment made between friends as she passed, the raised eyebrow hastily rubbed as if a fly had flicked by when she caught them watching her. They were a sexist bunch and she would normally have been annoyed but if they admired her then maybe Jonathan would, too.
She was half listening to a group of bland people, learning about their hospital positions, their dreadful hours, the demands placed upon them and the lack of decent pay, when Jonathan came in. She spotted him immediately and the instant impact shocked her. She hoped her face had not revealed the turmoil she felt as obsession and hatred fought for control of her emotions. As he fiddled with his name badge and chatted to Willy, she had time to calm herself and inspect him.
He had changed little, she could be truthful there. A touch of grey in his hair. Why does that do so much more for a man than it does for a woman? He was still slim and the few lines on his face only enhanced his bone structure. He wore a pale blue shirt with the cuffs turned back revealing a darker blue lining. It could have looked cheap but not on him. As he spoke to Willy, the old, engaging smile flashed across his face and she heard his distinctive laugh.
They had not spoken since the day he dropped her. There were no threads to pick up. There was nothing to say. What would he do? He might walk past her and nod, a cool movement of air to dismiss her, and that would be it. No, it wouldn’t. That was not what she had in mind.
‘Kate.’ He stopped beside her and smiled tentatively. ‘Are we talking?’
She waited before answering as if weighing his words.
‘It’s a long time to remain resentful,’ she replied, carefully controlling her breathing.
‘I was worried this could be a difficult meeting.’
‘So was I. So apparently is everyone else.’
Kate realised they were the focus of covert attention; the room had gone quieter. Their break-up had hardly been a secret.
‘Come and sit over here and tell me about yourself. Everyone is too busy talking about themselves to take notice of us for long.’
Jonathan was rapidly on to his second glass of wine but Kate was sipping slowly. He lent back against the sofa and openly looked Kate up and down.
‘Mighty fine, Miss Shaw, if I might say so!’
‘Thank you, Mr Carson. You’ve scrubbed up pretty well yourself.’
They slipped easily into the banter they used as students, the banter that covered confused emotions before they openly admitted how they felt about each other. The banter they continued to use even after they passed the “I love you” barrier.
‘But are you still Miss Shaw? Has some lucky guy snapped you up?’
‘I’m married but I’ve retained ‘Shaw’ for professional purposes.’
‘Around twenty years.’
Kate hesitated. She needed to think how to answer this. ‘Yes, but that’s my business. What about you?’
‘Yep, married. Got married last year.’
‘You took your time.’
‘Always liked a succession of women, didn’t you?’
Jonathan didn’t reply.
‘Sorry. Shouldn’t have said that.’
‘It’s okay. And you’re right. I do like women. But I didn’t intend to be a serial husband. It’s the way things turned out. And if you want to know, my second wife left me, I didn’t leave her. So I’m not always the bastard you take me for.’
‘Depends on why she left you.’
‘Don’t be bitter, Kate. It doesn’t suit you.’
Kate fiddled with her necklace and sighed. She wasn’t sure the conversation was going how she wanted. The physical presence of Jonathan was unsettling her. She was acutely aware of the smallest detail about him: the way he tied his shoelaces, the make of his watch, a cut on his left hand, the neatness of his hairline. And she hated herself for being so aware; hated him for making her this way.
‘Let’s change the subject,’ she said.
About the Book
How long can the desire for revenge last?
Kate Shaw, a successful pharmacist, goes to a thirty-year reunion at her old university and uses the weekend to settle some old scores. Her main target is her ex-lover, Jonathan. She decides to scar him for life as he scarred her. Her bizarre plan works but he shocks her with his strange, unwanted reaction.
What is the unexpected link between Jonathan and Kate’s husband?
What is the significance of the ‘Love Bite’ photograph?
What hold does Jonathan have over Kate?
Revenge is never simple.
A darkly humorous story of love, lust, loss and vengeance.
About the Author
Linda Fawke is an arts person who studied science but always wanted to write. Now retired, she indulges this passion, writing fiction and non-fiction, even occasional poetry, preferably late at night. She has now written two novels, ‘A Taste of his own Medicine’ and its sequel, ‘A Prescription for Madness’ using her background in pharmacy as the setting of both. These are easy books to read, suitable for Book Club discussions. ‘ A Prescription for Madness’ is more serious than the first book, dealing with such issues as pregnancy in later life and Down’s Syndrome.
She has been a winner of the Daily Telegraph ‘Just Back’ travel-writing competition and has published in various magazines including ‘Mslexia’, ‘Litro’ online, ‘Scribble’, ‘The Oldie’, ‘Berkshire Life’ and ‘Living France’. She was a finalist in the ‘Hysteria’ short story competition.
Linda blogs at http://www.linimeant.wordpress.com where her ‘Random Writings’ include a range of topics from travel to ‘Things that pop into my head’.
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Happy Reading, x