For Adele and Nick Hughes this idyllic evening for two is the last place either of them wants to be. Their marriage over, they never believed they could find their way back to each other. But stranded in this picturesque cottage, Adele and Nick find they cannot resist the spark that has always fizzed between them.
As the twinkling firelight begins to work its magic, this couple discovers that the wonderful thing about breaking up is making up...
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August 06, 2007
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Excerpt from Break Up to Make Up by Fiona Harper
Adele fought the urge to run from the bathroom screaming. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and ordered her hands to stop shaking. When she felt her heart rate slow a little, she opened her eyes again.
inhabited her bath. She took a few steps backwards, never letting her gaze off the spindly legs, checking for any twitch that indicated it was thinking of making a sudden move.
Once the edge of the tub obscured her view of the intruder, she fumbled on the shelf above the sink. Toothpaste and toothbrush went flying as she grabbed the glass they sat in. All she needed now was something flat and not too flexible. Her eyes darted round the room, hardly taking anything in. She made herself look again, more slowly this time.
Balanced on the washing hamper was the magazine she'd been reading last time she'd been having one of her ritual soaks. The sort of soak she ought to be having right now, if it weren't for the intruder. Righteous anger bubbled in her chest. How dare that nasty little...squatter...spoil her plans for the evening?
She seized the magazine and marched towards the bath, trying not to let her steps falter as she drew close. It had been much easier when she'd had someone else to do her spidercatching. But those days were gone. This was between her and eight-legged Freddy over there.
She lifted the upturned glass in her hand, hoping it wasn't going to slip. Even her fingertips seemed sweaty. Her breath came in gasps, punctuated by long gaps when the air stayed locked in her chest. Two more steps and she'd be close enough.
The glass was only inches away from the creature now. Everything went very still. Even the spider--as if it sensed her approach. And then it darted. Straight towards her up the side of the bath.
Adele didn't stop to think; she just threw both glass and magazine in the direction of her attacker and raced out of the bathroom. And while the sound of shattering glass echoed in her ears, she slammed the door and leant against it. Just in case it was thinking of trying the door handle.
See? This was why she shouldn't be doing this! Her phobia made her irrational. She would have moved away from the door at that point, but a noise from inside the bathroom made her grip the door handle tighter.
No, she wasn't going to do it. She wasn't going to wish him here.
She did not need a man to catch a spider. Especially that man.
Her fingers forgot the door knob as she let out a long sigh and ran them through her long dark hair.
I can do this, she thought as she stood there in the silence. I've got to. No one else is going to do it for me.
Her hands shook as she smoothed down the folds of her spotlessly white towelling bathrobe and tightened the sash. It was a pointless gesture. Her furry friend in there didn't care what she looked like, but somehow she needed to present a calm and cool front, to be the Adele she knew how to be, the Adele who wasn't fazed by anything or anyone.
She turned to face the bathroom door and imagined herself in one of her business suits, her hair in its usual coil at the nape of her neck, not fanning over her shoulders and falling over her face. It was all about mental attitude, wasn't it? You could do anything if you put your mind to it.
She'd been sent on some stupid training seminar when she'd worked at Fenton and Barrett. She had pretended she was listening, but really she'd been plotting how she was going to start her own firm of management consultants. She'd made her dreams come true since then and she could certainly use the same trick now.
What had those people waffled on about? Oh, yes. Visualisation. She concentrated, and in her mind's eye the creature in the bath became a butterfly, brightly coloured and fragile.
Anyone could pick up a butterfly, couldn't they?
She wrenched the door open and marched over to the bath. Shattered glass covered the bottom, but the creature she sought was now halfway up the side under the taps. If she didn't know better she'd think it was giving her a cocky look.
"Butterfly," she murmured under her breath as she extended her hand forward and closed her fingers over it. The distance from the edge of the bath to the window suddenly stretched to the size of a football pitch. She tried to walk slowly, but after a step and a half she was running. "Butterfly!" she shouted as the legs started to twitch in her hand and she fought the reflex to gag.
"Yuck! Spider, spider, spider, spider!" she yelled as she opened the catch with her free hand and threw the horrible thing out of the window. Then she shivered and rubbed her hand on her robe over and over again until she thought she'd wear the little loops away.