But before we dive ourselves in this mind boggling novel, we must hear from Isabella May about her favorite cocktail suggestion for tonight.
The Piña Colada. All too often it’s associated with Del Boy Trotter from Only Fools and Horses, but could a cocktail be more exotic whilst retaining its status as a classic? I’ve yet to come across a contender.
A well-constructed Piña Colada (think the Waldorf Astoria’s cocktail bar in New York… or more recently, the offering I sampled at La Bulla Bar in Estepona, Spain), should do three things:
1) Harmoniously blend pineapple, Rum and coconut. Optimum balance is key.
2) Be served simply. Less is more… and a plethora of swizzle sticks, tinsel-coated straws, starfruit slices and umbrellas will not cover up poor mixology!
3) Transport me immediately to a lush Caribbean beach.
Oh, look! It’s time for elevenses…
And now without further delay lets dive into Oh! What a Pavlova:
Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy. Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation. Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future. And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom… But will she escape before it’s too late?
The Piano Bar was a tradition embedded firmly in the top ten of Corny Things to do in Bologna. Whilst the melange of confection and liquor was a feast for the senses (Steph was already cooing over the Zuccoto Semi-Fredo, mentally noting how she could re-create its perfection), the clientele were mainly tragic, brash or both. For a woman, it was a dodgy place to be. People were packed concertina-tight across the width of the bar, so that for someone as petite as me – and sadly we’re definitely only talking height – it could take several hours to wend your way through the maze of conversations. Bottom pinching wasn’t unheard of, pickpocketing either.
But for all that, there was something so compelling about gradually making your way up the stairs, drink in hand, to the famed lounge to feign sophistication whilst something wretched was being hammered out on the keys of the electronic organ, and an overenthusiastic, glitzy, blue-rinsed lady belted out a number from the golden ages, warbling pitifully whenever she hit anything higher than a top E.
As Henry handed me the umpteenth mixer of the evening, I turned a little too quickly, bashing straight into a tall middle-aged man.
“Hey watch it,” he said, flicking drips of liquid marmalade off his rugby shirt.
Oh, okay maybe he wasn’t quite middle-aged. I quickly decided that for a Silver Fox, he wasn’t all that bad looking either.
I felt a sharp tap on my back.
“It’s nearing midnight” said Daisy, as I turned to see my well-meaning colleague had started tapping at her watch as well. “We really ought to head back to the hotel. The morning only heralds Day Two, after all.”
Thanks, Daisy. That was close. I chanced to look over my shoulder, but thankfully he’d gone.
Steph and I followed the advice of our elder, ditched our glasses and turned to say our snappy farewells to the men, who were far too inebriated to understand what our plans were anyway.
“Ah choof off then, why don’tcha?” said Sebastian, at which point I don’t think I’d ever seen him look more like Eton Mess. “Talk about boring… it’s not even officially Thursday yet. Geez guys,” he pointed at Henry and Adrian, “you two really need to train your staff to last the distance.”
We snaked our way to the exit where Silver Fox stood, running his fingers through his hair whilst chatting with a group of men. Something told me – and my pulse – it would be impossible to slip past undetected.
“We meet again,” he said, as I chanced to unsuccessfully squeeze past him, my bust making more than ample contact with his shoulder.
“Hey, I’m so sorry about earlier,” I said with a giggle. “My boss will insist on topping me up every five minutes.” I was too merry to wonder whether that came across as a sexual double entendre.
Silver Fox, amused, seemed to have forgotten the soaking already. And I sensed that all too familiar book-fair-affair-twinge in my stomach as he studied me intently and his grin widened.
“So, I’m guessing you’re a P.B?”
I ignored yet another sharp tap on my back and gave him my ‘excuse me?’ face.
“A Publishing Babe,” he said, laughing cheekily.
Christ, how corny.
“Steph’s managed to hail us a cab, Kate. Time to say goodbye to your friend,” said Daisy, revealing my true identity.
“Well, that’s you told. See you around… Kate,” he said.
“Maybe you will,” I smiled, emphasizing my final word far longer than was necessary as Daisy tugged me out the doorway.
But the fresh air seemed to sober me immediately. As we sped back to the hotel, and Steph and Daisy pondered our four male colleagues’ likely actions over the encroaching hours, I lay my head against the taxi’s window, saddled with remorse.
You can’t keep doing this to him.
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Oh! What a Pavlova is her debut novel… and her second novel, The Cocktail Bar, will be published 13th February 2018.
You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:
Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/
Instagram – @isabella_may_author