Today I’m revealing a very exciting and exclusive excerpt from Cathy Bramley’s new novel, ‘Conditional Love’ which is out in November. I’m a huge Cathy Bramley fan, I reviewed both Ivy Lane and part 1 of Wickham Hall and thoroughly loved and devoured both. So, what’s next for Cathy? You saw it here first, chapter 1 of her new novel, ‘Conditional Love’.
I woke up on the floor, wedged between the bed and bedside table. My hip bone was bruised, my skin was mottled with cold and I had pins and needles in my arm. Painted across my face was the smug smile of a woman who hadn’t got much sleep the night before. Getting up was a priority; I was freezing and I really didn’t want Marc to wake up and find me down here.
It took a full thirty seconds of grunting, shuffling, inelegant flailing of limbs and a carpet burn to my right buttock to wriggle free. Not a pretty sight.
I sighed with pleasure at the slumbering, golden-haired Adonis taking up the entire width of the mattress. He looked so peaceful. He was certainly a deep sleeper; he hadn’t even woken up when he’d pushed me out of bed.
Silently, I opened the drawer, took out the card I’d lovingly made for him with my own fair hands and slid it under the pillow. Then I slipped back under the duvet and perched on the edge, savouring the heat from his perfectly honed body. I propped myself up on my elbow and gazed at him.
It was Valentine’s Day and I had a boyfriend.
I couldn’t help grinning.
Last year – and the year before that, come to think of it – I had been single and I’d had to hibernate for a full twenty-four hours until the dreaded day was history and I could stop feeling marginalized by society. In fact, since Jeremy a few years ago – I shuddered at the memory of my controlling ex-boyfriend – I hadn’t let anyone get close. But Marc was different.
He and I had been together for nine months and last night was the first time he had stayed over. I’d invited him to before now but he had a stall on Sneinton market and usually had to get up for work really early and said he didn’t want to wake me. But last night he’d said he didn’t have to be there until nine, so he might as well stay. How romantic – to choose Valentine’s Day as the first time to wake up next to me!
Right, let’s get the party started.
I coughed lightly but there was no response, not a flicker of his golden eyelashes.
I coughed more sharply and this time he stirred and stretched, threatening my precarious position on the edge of the bed, and I grabbed hold of his arm.
Oh, those biceps!
‘Morning, princess.” He yawned and gave me an almighty slap on the bottom.
I knew this was his idea of being affectionate but it was hardly the most romantic wake-up call. I replied with my own delicate yawn, and smiled in what I hoped was a ‘Sleeping Beauty awakened by a True Love’s Kiss’ type manner.
He picked up his watch, swore under his breath and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
I flopped onto my back and pulled the duvet up, enjoying the extra room in bed. Also enjoying the view of muscles rippling across chest as he pilled his jeans over firm thighs. What a man!
On on, I was a bit slow on the uptake there, he was getting dressed! That wasn’t first on my agenda of love.
Marc looked down at me, his face suddenly serious. Oh my giddy aunt. He was working up to something.
He cleared his throat. ‘Sophie, we need to talk.’
About Cathy Bramley
She now lives in an idyllic Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two daughters and a dog called Pearl.