We've spoken. We've flirted. But she won't let me close. She's guarding herself even if her face says she's the most approachable person I've ever met.
Coming home to London, Tallulah is looking for a second chance, a fresh start. Her friends know something is wrong, but they have no idea what’s she’s running from.
Tallulah is not herself. The usually happy, bubbly excitable girl is faking it. Inside, she’s a complete mess but she refuses to tell anyone why, choosing to keep it a secret, a secret that makes her skin crawl and leaves her crying herself to sleep.
She tells herself she’ll be okay. That she can cope. She can forget about how damaged she is, forget what she’s run away from. She’s fighting to hold it together.
When she meets Jarrod, he’s everything she’s ever wanted. He’s a hot, suited, motorbike riding, boss with a soft heart.
As perfect as Jarrod as, she can’t date him. She’s not the same girl she used to be and now she doesn’t think she deserves what she once wanted.
"The friendship between these two is heartbreakingly beautiful. They both promise not to allow it to go further, but know deep inside that they both want more. Hanleigh's gentle writing and sweetness comes across through both of these characters." - Reading In Our Satisfaction
I remember the first day I saw her.
It was a Sunday morning in November, and I’d had to come into work because one of the bartenders had called in sick and none of the waitresses had any idea how to pour a pint, something every good British restaurant must sell on a Sunday.
It was a British pastime to sit in a beer garden eating your Sunday roast and drinking a pint. British people had been doing it for decades, and it showed no signs of ever becoming less essential to the British way of life.
Even in November, when people couldn’t spend the day sat outside in the beer garden for fear of getting rained on, they piled into the restaurant seeking sustenance, but mostly they wanted a pick me up. They wanted a beer to rid them of the hangover they were suffering as a result of the night before. They wanted the hair of the dog. Of course, any good bartender would recommend something a little stronger than beer, but whatever made the punters happy and on Sunday mornings that was beer.
So, there I was at ten thirty-six am, stood behind the bar, bored out of my skull, pouring pint after pint for the regulars when she walked into Thorpe’s.
Everything about her took me in.
She looked remarkably like a drowned rat. She was wrapped up in more layers and scarves than I’d ever thought I’d see on one person.
Yet, even with the excessive amount of clothing, she was wearing there was something about her, something alluring, something sensual that seemed to pulse off her. I hadn’t been able to tell what it was. All I knew was that it called to me.
If I had had less self-control, I would have marched across the restaurant and cut the host off before she showed her to a table. Instead, I had secured my feet to the ground before they could run off with themselves.