The Runaways are back… For Layla Lewis, life is finally back on track. After her “runaway year” in Cornwall, another year has passed—an idyllic year spent with sexy new love, Joseph Scott, in the sultry heat of Florence. For best friend, Penny, life has also changed. Having recently given birth to a baby girl, she’s busy embracing motherhood. But, for the runaways, life is never that easy… A chance encounter with Joseph’s ex-girlfriend, Tara, has explosive consequences for the new lovers, and all three are forced back to Cornish shores. Meanwhile, motherhood is not the joy Penny thought it would be—she’s heading for a breakdown and fast! The bubble is burst, the idyll shattered. Tara has a secret and only Joseph knows what it is. Despite being asked to trust him, Layla can’t help but question what the secret is and what it has to do with them. As Penny arrives in Cornwall too, some friends will pull together, others will not. This secret, Layla suspects, will tear them all apart.
Quickly Joseph fell into step beside her.
“Before you say it—” She couldn’t keep her voice from sounding waspish. “Yes, I do trust you. You’re the one that’s paranoid, not me.”
“I’m not paranoid,” Joseph immediately retaliated. “I just get the feeling you’re not being honest with me, that’s all. You say you trust me but I’m not sure you do.”
Oh, and you blame me for that, do you? she thought, but refrained from saying it. Acting the harridan every time Tara’s name was mentioned was not going to endear her to anyone. Still, there was no way she was not going to stand up for herself.
“Joseph,” she said, coming to a standstill outside Uncle Davy’s Cabin, fine purveyors of fish and chips, or so the sign above the black painted door would have you believe. “Just cut me a bit of slack, okay? Tara turns up out of the blue, the one place in the world where you happen to be and you just happen to bump into her.” Briefly she paused. It reminded her of a line from that film, what was it? Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. ‘Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.’ The fact it was a romantic film, a romantic sentiment, irked her even more, but she bit down on that for now. “You then tell me you want her to accompany us back to Trecastle, because she’s in trouble, because she has a secret and not just any secret, but a big secret, a VIP one. Because of it she can’t face coming home alone; she needs a chaperone. I accept all this. And that you can’t tell me what this so-called secret is until the time is right. I also accept that you want me to trust you and I’m willing to trust you because I love you. I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you and I never will. But every now and then, I get a bit antsy about it. Don’t worry though, because I remind myself who I’m doing this for—you, not her.” She cocked her head to one side. “And you know what? In some ways I admire you. What you’re prepared to do for a… friend. But, whatever way you want to look at it, it’s a strange situation. The kind you find in books and think, yeah, right, as if. So forgive me if my enthusiasm wanes every now and then. Like I said, cut me some slack. Because you know what? That’s exactly what I’m doing for you.”
Layla would bet a pound to a penny the look of surprise on his face reflected her own. The pent-up feelings in her since finding out about Tara had obviously needed release—more so than even she had realized. Holding his gaze, she refused to look away. Nonetheless, her breath caught in her throat as she waited for his reaction.
Incredibly, he laughed.
Born and bred in the sunny seaside town of Brighton, one of the first literary conundrums Shani had to deal with was her own name – Shani can be pronounced in a variety of ways but in this instance it’s Shay-nee not Shar-ney or Shan-ni – although she does indeed know a Shanni – just to confuse matters further! Hobbies include reading, writing, eating and drinking – all four of which keep her busy enough. After graduating from Sussex University with a degree in English and American Literature, Shani became a freelance copywriter. Twenty years later, the day job includes crafting novels too. She is the author of contemporary Cornish romance – The Runaway Year – published in 2013 by Omnific Publishing. The Runaway Ex is the second in the Runaway series. Website | Facebook | Twitter