Extract: Mistletoe and Mayhem by Catherine Ferguson

extract

Mistletoe and Mayhem by Catherine Ferguson

I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t phoned. I’m going to have to shout to be heard and the man at the newspaper stand will hear every word.

Nathan says something else but his words are swallowed up by the Bad Signal Monster.

‘We can talk later,’ I yell as quietly as I can.

‘Sorry?’ Crackle-crackle.

‘Nathan, the phone’s not working properly. You’re breaking up on me.’

There’s a great rushing sound, like wind, in my ear.

Then Nathan’s voice reaches me so loudly and clearly, I nearly drop the phone.

‘I know, Lola,’ he says, his voice weirdly amplified. ‘It hasn’t been working for some time, has it?’

He sounds like he’s talking through one of those old-fashioned megaphones.

Right above my head. Must be the acoustics in here.

‘I completely agree,’ he’s saying. ‘Breaking up is absolutely the right thing to do.’

My heart stalls.

What?

Breaking up?

But I was talking about the phone signal.

Not us!

‘No,’ I shout into the phone. ‘I didn’t mean I didn’t want to see you again, Nathan. You misunderstood me.’

‘Ah, that’s great, Lola,’ he says, in his God-like boom. ‘Because I really want to stay friends.’

Friends?’ I gasp in a panic.

No, no, no!

‘We may not be totally compatible,’ God/Nathan announces majestically. ‘But I hope we will always be friends.’

‘Nathan,’ I whisper/shout, desperate to prove we do have things in common. ‘Listen to me. I’ve decided to do the Great Brig Run.’

I catch the eye of Mr Newspaper Lurker. His mouth is curved in the hint of a smile and I turn away, irritated.

I can’t stand big, muscle-bound men who spend every waking hour honing themselves to perfection. You can tell by the way he fills out that green waterproof jacket and the way his thighs are straining against the denim of his jeans that he’ll be the type who likes to ‘max it up’ and ‘beast it out’ in the gym.

I try a glare but he smiles back.

I just wish he’d get back to his bloody weights and stop ear-wigging on my private conversation!

There’s a crackly pause and I’m sure I hear the sound of female laughter. Through my weirdly amplified phone, it sounds like a witch’s cackle.

‘Great Brig Run,’ I prompt Nathan. ‘I’m doing the Great Brig Run.’

‘Great Big Bum?’ booms God. ‘No, of course you haven’t got a Great Big Bum, Lola. I mean, yes, it’s fairly sizeable, but that’s absolutely not the reason I don’t want to see you any more.’

The Hulk is pointing skywards with a doubled-over Financial Times.

Urgently.

It’s as if he’s heard every word of the conversation.

A bolt of horror zips through my entire body.

Oh my God, he really has heard every word.

It’s that bloody faulty Tannoy system!

That’s why Nathan sounds like an omnipotent being from on high. He’s accidentally talking into the frigging Tannoy!

 

 

Mistletoe and MayhemLola Plumpton can’t believe her luck.

Christmas is coming and her gorgeous boyfriend, Nathan has offered up his swanky apartment to host the Plumpton family’s festive celebrations. It looks set to be a Christmas to remember. And it is – but for all the wrong reasons.

As the 25th December draws closer, Lola unexpectedly finds herself missing some key components:

1. A job (but who needs one of those anyway, when you’ve got the ultimate family Christmas to prepare for?)
2. Money (no job equals no money, it turns out.)
3. A boyfriend (yup, Nathan the hunk has said adios to Lola – and in the *most* embarrassing way possible…)
4. Somewhere to host her fabulous family Christmas (because of course, no Nathan means no des res apartment.)

Lola’s at a loss about what to do. But one way or another, she’s going to make this the happiest Christmas her family’s ever had…

Mistletoe and Mayhem by Catherine Ferguson, released 15th October. Click here to get your copy.

With huge thanks to Helena at Avon.

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