The warm and sexy new novel from the bestselling author of Love Rules and Home Truths. Petra Flint and Arlo Savidge were teenage sweethearts in a chaste, old-fashioned way. They never really told each other how they felt. Now, years later, Petra is a jeweller by day but by night she is a sleepwalker, never fully able to rest. Arlo is living in North Yorkshire, teaching at an eccentric boys' boarding school. Like Petra, he carries with him something that makes it hard to sleep at night. In an ice-cream shop one rainy day Arlo and Petra stand before each other once again. Is this their second chance? Isn't old gold as good as new? However, for love to blossom, they must finally put their pasts to bed. A past Petra can't quite remember. A past Arlo wants to forget.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Freya gave up a Ph.D. to write her first novel, Sally, in 1991. For 4 years she turned deaf ears to parents and friends who pleaded with her to "get a proper job". She went on the dole and did a succession of freelance and temping jobs. Five publishers entered a bidding war for her books, and her first novel, Sally, was published to great acclaim. Her subsequent books, Chloe, Polly, Cat, Fen, Pip , Love Rules and Home Truths have all proved bestsellers.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Something isn't quite right-I have a hunch about this. But I think I'll just tuck it into the back of my mind while I tuck my feet into my wellington boots. Now I'll open my front door and step out into the night.
I'm ready. Where is it I'm meant to be going? I can't quite remember. It'll come back to me in a moment. I'll just put one foot in front of the other and trust myself. I am turning left. If I am automatically taking this direction to Wherever, this must mean it is the right way to go.
Now where am I? I'm glad I'm wearing my gumboots. That was a good idea. I had to rummage for them as I can't remember when I last wore them. I can't remember when I last had a weekend away from the city. No one has ever whisked me away. Not that I've ever asked-that wouldn't be me. That's not to say I haven't daydreamed of it, though.
But enough of this mental meandering, I must walk on. This way. That way. I don't feel very comfortable. I'm rather cold and my feet feel-strange.
I'm hoping for the landmark to loom, to say to me that I've arrived at my destination. I know metaphysics would say that it's not the arriving but the journey that's the point-but I'm going to have to have a sit-down and a rethink if I don't get there soon. Perhaps I've gone the wrong way. I don't want to admit to myself that I don't really know the route because that would call into question the destination which, actually, I can't remember at all.
Well, I'll keep on walking this way. My feet are really sore. I'd love a bar of chocolate. I'm quite tired now. Sleepy, in fact. Something will jog my memory. It was not Petra Flint's memory that was jogged. It was her slumber. By the police. She woke with a start and in a panic; for a split second she thought she was blind. Actually it was very dark and she was lying face down on the ground. Earthy, itchy ground, and wet.
"Are you OK?"
Petra lifted her head a little and glanced up: two police officers were looming over her. The sudden beam from a torch scorched her eye so she dropped her gaze and put her face back to the ground. She was wearing her nightshirt and her wellington boots, which were on the wrong feet, and she felt mortified. She also felt alarmingly cold. She spat. There was a tickle of grass and a crunch of soil in her mouth. The torch beam wavered. Shit. The police. She scrambled up, whacked by nausea as she did so. Disoriented, she still sensed an urgency to explain because it couldn't look good, to the police, that she'd been found sprawled on the ground in an oversized Snoopy T-shirt and wellies.
"Are you OK?" one officer asked, steadying Petra; the firm arm of the law surprisingly gentle at her elbow.
"Oh, I'm fine," she told them, hoping to sound convincing but certain she sounded guilty. She looked around her. She recognized nothing. She didn't know where she was. A park. "Where is this?" She caught the glance that passed between the officers. She just wanted to go home. Warm up. Tuck in tight for a better night's sleep. Better not ask any more questions then, better leave that to the police. Better still, give them answers before they even ask. "My name is Petra Flint," she said clearly, "and I sleepwalk." Oh my God, my grandmother is dead. The shrill of the phone woke Rob with a start; his ailing grandmother his primary thought. He grabbed at his watch, noting it was almost three in the morning as he said hullo. He listened carefully, soon enough faintly amused by how he could be relieved it was just the police. Grandma is fine, Rob thought, though he wondered whether he'd now jinxed her life by anticipating her death.
"Yes-Petra Flint," he said with the measured bemusement of a parent being called before their child's head teacher. "Petra is my girlfriend. Yes, she is known to sleepwalk-though usually she takes measures to prevent this, keeps herself under lock and key. You found her where?"
He scrambled into some clothes muttering that Christ he was tired. As he found Petra's keys and snatched up his own from the mantelpiece, he wondered why somnambulists never managed to subconsciously take their keys when they took off into the night. On one sortie, Petra had filled her coat pockets with onions. On another she had taken the remote control from the television with her, having first removed the batteries and placed them in a careful configuration on the kitchen table. In the ten months Rob had known Petra and on the many occasions she had sleepwalked, only a few times had she made it out into the night yet not once had she taken her keys. Or a penny. Or her phone. And, as he drove off towards Whetstone at the behest of the police, Rob decided that, in this age of mobile telecommunication, it was for sleepwalkers alone that phone boxes still existed, providing shelter and the reverse-charges call until someone arrived to take them home. This was, however, the first time he'd been called by the police.
Her sheepish expression could have been due as much to her Snoopy nightshirt as to the circumstance. Rob thought she looked rather cute, all forlorn and mortified. If he ignored the wellington boots and the dirt on her chin.
"Petra," he said, raising an eyebrow towards the duty officer, "what were you thinking?"
He always asks me that, Petra thought petulantly. And he never listens when I say I don't think, I don't know. Somewhere, in the deeper reaches of my subconscious state which I simply cannot access when I'm awake, I obviously thought that this was a very good idea at the time.
She shrugged. "Do you have my keys?"
"Yes," he said, "come on." He put his fleece jacket around her shoulders and bit his tongue against commenting on her wellington boots. They certainly weren't Hunters, they weren't even imitations. These were old-fashioned: shapeless tubes of black rubber reaching the unflattering point midway up her bare calves. Tomorrow, he'd see the funny side. Tonight he was tired and a little irritated.
"One day you'll get hurt, you know," Rob warned her, before starting the car.
My feet really hurt right now, Petra thought, even though each boot was now on the correct foot. "I'm sorry," she said, pressing the side of her head hard against the car window, the judder at her temples convincing her she was truly awake. "I can't remember a thing. I don't know where I was going."
"So you always say," Rob nodded. "Do you mind if I don't come in?" he said, soon pulling up outside Petra's flat. "I have clients from Japan first thing in the morning."
"Sorry," Petra shuffled, "sorry."
Rob looked at her, his exasperation softening a little. "It's all right. It's fine," he said. "Goodnight, Petra-and lock your bloody bedroom door."
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Book Description Brentwood Music, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007261020
Book Description Brentwood Music, 1983. Ring-bound. Book Condition: New. Library ed. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007261020