BOTM January 2017

Almost A Bride, always an optimist

January Book of the Month

 

Prologue

 

D-day—A year ago

 

I knew something was wrong the second I walked up to my front door.

Call it intuition. Call it a sixth sense. But I just knew.

I blame the shoes. The shoes were undoubtedly the cause of all the problems that day. It was the shoes’ fault that I came home early, and the shoes’ fault I was fired.

I suppose I can’t blame the shoes for making me late, though—that was the alarm clock’s fault for rudely deciding not to do its job. And when finally, through the thick haze of sleepiness, I realized that it hadn’t gone off, it was too late. I was already late for work. And when I say work, I mean my brand-new job—job of my dreams—as a fashion assistant at Glamorous Girl mag. The quintessential magazine for the “fun, fierce, and fabulously stylish South African girlTM.”

I’d just made a total career change, leaving behind a successful job as a stylist in advertising to pursue a job in the magazine industry. It was early days, so I was still desperately trying to impress by being perfect, polite, and oh so obliging. Whether it was the request for the latte to be served at 97.7 degrees with no sugar, soy milk froth, and a sprinkling of organic cocoa powder flown in directly from the foothills of the Andes. Or whether it was for the jasmine-and-lavender-scented candles to be burned in the office for ten minutes before my boss arrived—that was me.

Little Miss Annie Obliging.

Because let’s face it, the word assistant is just a glammed-up euphemism for slave. But I was ambitious and determined, so when I realized I wouldn’t be able to attend to the scented candles, or fetch the latte, I panicked. So much so that I left the house without the said troublemaking, life-ruining, world-annihilating shoes.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the shoes. They weren’t ordinary shoes, oh no, they were none other than the just-off-the-Paris-catwalk-and-not for-sale-to-mere-mortals-yet Christian Louboutins. They also happened to be the centerpieces for that day’s shoot.

The same rushed panic that had caused me to forget the shoes in the first place had also left me with barely enough time to scrape my hair back into a casual bun and slip on a creased T-shirt and pair of jeans from my floor.

The latter is a bigger sin than you think. Because where I work, wearing anything other than the most fashionable apparel is sacrilege. People practically throw holy water at you and start wailing in Latin, for fear that you’ve been possessed by the demon of bad fashion. In fact, a real demon possession, complete with a backward-rolling head and the ability to speak in tongues, would be preferable to the demon of last season’s handbag and Crocs sandals.

So when I finally got to work, underdressed, out of breath, without the shoes, and over an hour late, I was in serious trouble.

My boss was throwing a hissy fit, due to lack of flowery scents in her office, and her personal assistant Cedric was in the throes of an overly dramatic caffeine withdrawal, due to lack of latte.

And it kept getting worse.

Two hours later the panicky fashion director summoned the Louboutins. Those shoes had been troublemakers from the start. It had been an absolute trauma getting them in the first place. They’d been flown into South Africa late the previous night, and I’d been tasked with collecting them. Everyone was holding their collective breath for the grand arrival. So when I was forced to confess to their absence . . . well, you can only imagine.

When lunch finally arrived, I jumped into my car and sped home. I had exactly one hour to get in and out before the photo shoot, more than enough time.

I pulled into my driveway at breakneck speed, ran for the front door, slipped my house keys into the lock, and turned—

But . . .

Something made me stop.

Something told me not to go inside.

Something was very wrong.

I looked around nervously. Everything seemed normal. Peter across the road was blasting his TV as usual, the ratbag Chihuahua from number 45 was running up and down the garden perimeter yapping at an unseen force, and Mildred, my neighbor, was outside watering her hydrangeas.

So why was I hesitating?

I took a deep breath and inched the door open.

Nothing looked out of place.

Everything was exactly the way I’d left it.

Yet everything felt wrong.

I slunk down the corridor toward the kitchen, where I knew I’d find the shoes perched next to the coffeepot. But once inside, I was hit by a terribly eerie sensation . . . someone was in the house. A shiver licked the length of my spine when my suspicions were confirmed.

Creeeeaaakkk...A noise was coming from my bedroom directly above me.

Shit, shit, shit, there was an intruder in the house!

I launched myself at the cutlery drawer, grabbing the largest knife I could find while simultaneously dialing the police and still managing to hold on to the shoes for dear life.

“Police! Help, there’s an intruder in my house. Forty-Seven Mendelssohn Road, Oaklands. Quick.”

Now what? I’d never been in a situation like this before. What was the correct protocol? Should I hide, evacuate the house, attack the intruder, scream loudly? Or perhaps a combination of the above?

I thought for a second before deciding to get the fuck out of there! But just as I had one foot safely installed outside the front door, I heard another noise. This time it was different. It was . . .

It sounded like . . .

My blood ran cold.

But it couldn’t be. Trevv was at work. Trevv had a very important day in court, he told me. His client’s final hearing was today. Right now, in fact. I’d called him from my office about an hour ago and he’d told me he was in court.

He was in court, dammit!

I started climbing the stairs.

More noises.

Two voices?

But that was impossible . . .wasn’t it?

The noises grew louder and louder the farther up the stairs I went. I’m not really sure at what point I knew what the noises were or knew what I was going to see when I opened the door. But I just knew.

It’s one thing walking in on your boyfriend having sex with another woman, but it’s another thing entirely walking in on him the second the other woman is coming. She was facing the door, straddling him, furnishing me with a full-frontal view that has been permanently burned into my visual cortex. She threw her head back, arched her back, opened her mouth, and let out a high-pitched wail. As if that wasn’t self-explanatory enough, she decided to toss in a few words for good measure.

“Yes, Trevvy, yes. Oh my God, oh my God, oh Trevvy. Yes! Yes! Ah, Ah, Ah.” *Pant, pant, pant* “I’m coming!” *Long high-pitched scream*

Now...there were several things wrong with this picture, aside from the obvious. Firstly, who the hell screams like that in bed? No one does! Sex is not so good that you have to break the sound barrier with your squealing dolphin sounds. Secondly, what the hell was she wearing? She was clad in some kind of leathery studded number that looked like it had been worn by one of the Village People. And to make matters worse, Trevv was blindfolded with the tie that I had bought him two Christmases ago and . . .OH MY GOD. . .were those, were those . . . nipple clamps?

I felt sick to my stomach.

And thirdly, who was this mystery woman without an ounce of cellulite, the tiniest trail of a stretch mark, or the slightest smidge of fat, and with boobs that seemed to defy all know natural laws of gravity and motion? Which woman can be that damn perfect . . .

. . .and then her features came into focus and the answer dawned on me.

Tess.

Tess Blackman.

My boyfriend’s “coworker.” The woman I’d invited into my home on several occasions for dinner. The woman that I always phoned when I couldn’t get hold of Trevv, because I knew they were probably together working on a case, tired and exhausted and burning the midnight oil when they’d rather be at home with their significant others. She had a fiancé after all.

Poor overworked Trevv and Tess.

God, I was naive.

But the show didn’t end there. Tess’s eyes were still closed when Trevv started making some delightful sounds. He’d never made sounds like that with me before. His sweaty hands reached up and grabbed at her hungrily.

Faster.

Harder.

Loud, long moan.

I was frozen. It’s hard to know what to do when you watch your partner of two years with his penis somewhere you wouldn’t even like to imagine, let alone witness in full blinding daylight.

Once all their postcoital panting had tapered off, Tess opened her eyes and saw me standing in the doorway. The look on her face was indescribable. Shock and horror and fear all at the same time. And then she opened her mouth and screamed.

Trevv then turned his head toward the door and whipped off his blindfold. Our eyes locked and then he did something truly bizarre. Unexpected. He grabbed Tess by the hand and dragged her to the other side of the bed.

“Anne, please...You don’t want to do this.” Trevv threw his hands in the air defensively. He looked terrified. She was bleating hysterically by this stage.

What was going on? Wasn’t I the jilted one? Wasn’t I the one that was supposed to be upset? I started walking toward them, which seemed to only make matters worse.

“Anne, please. Please.” He seemed to be begging now. “Think about what you’re doing. I know this is bad, but this isn’t the way to handle it. Please don’t do this.”

Things happened pretty quickly after that. Suddenly, the room was filled with armed police officers. I was about to tell them they could all go home when Trevv cut me off.

“She has a knife. She’s going to kill us!” he shouted, pointing at me.

What knife? I glanced at my hands and that’s when I realized I was still holding the large knife, and it was pointed in their direction.

I quickly turned to explain, “I wasn’t going to—”

“Ma’am. . .” One of the police officers cut me off and started creeping toward me as if I was a feral pit bull that hadn’t eaten in a week. “Put down your weapon.”

“I swear, this isn’t what you think, I was just trying to—”

BAM! Face on floor, handcuffs around wrists.

Three really painful things happened at that point: One, the knife slipped and cut the entire length of my palm. Two, some of my newly acquired, gorgeous nails broke off. And three, the crystal-encrusted, six-inch heel of the priceless Louboutin snapped off, rolled across the floor lifelessly, and disappeared under the bed. As I was being dragged out, I glanced up and saw that Trevv was clutching Tess in his arms. He gently planted a kiss on her forehead.

“It’s going to be okay, baby, it’s going to be okay.”

 

ALMOST A BRIDE, the laugh-out-loud rom-com, is out 31st January!

 

Headline Eternal

Almost a Bride

By Jo Watson

'I couldn't stop laughing ... this was outstanding' Goodreads reviewer

From the author of the ebook bestseller, Love To Hate You. Newly single. Holiday of a lifetime. Bumping into 'the ex'. Jo Watson's Almost A Bride whisks you away to Mauritius in this riot of a rom-com. Perfect for fans of Lucy Vine's Hot Mess, Coleen Coleman, Keris Stainton, Joanna Bolouri and Cate Woods.

That moment you catch your boyfriend in bed with another woman and then mistakenly get arrested. #awks

Annie doesn't want to dwell on the fact that she walked in on her bf wearing nipple clamps on the day he was meant to propose to her. She just wants to move on - cue escaping to a tropical paradise.

Life is dreamy on the beaches of Mauritius, until the nightmarish appearance of her ex and the 'other woman'. Faced with the enemy, Annie refuses to look like the sad, lonely single she actually is. She needs a decoy - and fast. Enter Chris, a sexy screenwriter who agrees to play her pretend boyfriend.

But as a battle of the exes commences, the white sand, tropical heat and a pina colada (or five) might just be the cocktail for a real romance - and the adventure of a lifetime.

For more laugh-out-loud, swoon-worthy hijinks from Jo Watson, don't miss her other titles Burning Moon, Finding You and Love To Hate You!

Preorder Jo's new rom-com After the Rain now! Just search: 9781472257734

Top Pick! Almost a Bride put a smile on my face more than once. The dialogue was witty, the words were well-written and the heroine was one-of-a-kindTop Pick! This book is even better than the firstPraise for Jo Watson's hilarious romantic comediesFull of pure-joy romance, laugh-out-loud moments and tearjerkersWitty, enjoyable and uniqueFound myself frequently laughing out loud and grinning like a fool!Heart-warming, funny, sweet, romantic and just leaves you feeling good insideI absolutely loved this book. It has humour, romance, heart-wrenching grief and the excitement to live life to the fullestWell written and lovable ... a bundle of laughsEasily a 4.5-star read for me... Add this one to your TBR, because it is a treat of a book and I highly recommend itHeartwarming and raw... I urge you to go on this journey with Lilly as she reclaims back her happiness, life, and heartCompletely lovableEscape to the exotic island of Mauritius in this flirty, funny, riot of a rom-com. Fall in love, cry with laughter, and have a whale of a time. Jo Watson is a South African writer who has worked as a TV scriptwriter and storyliner, play write, copywriter and features writer for the past ten years. Her romantic comedies were originally published on Wattpad and were sensationally popular, with over 5.8 million views and more than 400,000 reads. When Jo's not writing she can be found watching copious amounts of TV series and listening to Depeche Mode. Follow her on Twitter @JoWatsonWrites and find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jowatsonwrites.WATTPAD SENSATION: Jo's first novel, BURNING MOON, was a Wattpad smash-hit. It won a 2014 Watty Award for being one of the site's most downloaded titles and it has now been read over 5.8 million times. ALMOST A BRIDE, the second book in the series, has been read over 2.5 million times. The Headline Eternal edition is newly revised and expanded with all-new material to entice fans. As of March 2018, Headline Eternal has sold over 100,000 copies of her titles in ebook.AMAZING TALENT: Jo is a hugely exciting up-and-coming talent. She was chosen as a Cosmopolitan South Africa 'Woman of 2015' for her runaway Wattpad success.INCREDIBLE VOICE: Jo's writing is smart, high-concept, funny and engaging. Her characters jump off the page, her storylines are larger than life, and her charming romances will sweep readers off their feet.HEADLINE ETERNAL: Whether your taste runs to sizzlingly passionate erotic romance, thrillingly exciting suspense, out-of-this-world, provocative paranormals, irresistibly sexy and heart-warming contemporaries or intense, emotionally powerful new adult, this is the home of exceptional romance for every mood.
Headline Eternal

Burning Moon

By Jo Watson

'I'm kicking myself for not reading this book sooner!' Goodreads reviewer

From the author of the ebook bestseller, Love To Hate You. We promise this rom-com will make you laugh out loud! Again and again and again. Perfect for fans of Lucy Vine's Hot Mess, Coleen Coleman, Keris Stainton, Joanna Bolouri and Cate Woods.

Chase your dreams. Dance under the stars. Fall in love at the festival of Burning Moon.

WARNING: Being jilted at the altar in front of 500 wedding guests can lead to irrational behaviour, such as going on your honeymoon to Thailand alone.

On the way to paradise, symptoms may include getting arrested, setting yourself on fire, turning up on a 'Missing Poster' and going viral.

Side-effects may include desert island stranding, star gazing and jungle trekking.

Recovery will lead to partying the night away at Burning Moon festival - and falling in love with the person you least expect...

For more hilarious, romantic hijinks, look out for Jo's other unmissable rom-coms, Almost A Bride, Finding You and Love To Hate You!

Preorder Jo's new rom-com After the Rain now! Just search: 9781472257734

The descriptions of Thailand were beautiful ... well written and lovable ... a bundle of laughs'Witty, enjoyable and unique. If you're looking for a fun and romantic read, this is for you!I absolutely loved this book. It has humour, romance, heart-wrenching grief and the excitement to live life to the fullest. Jo has the talent for writing and she beautifully brings to life the story of Lilly and Damien ... a talented new author on the blockA woman abandoned at the altar who goes on her honeymoon to Thailand alone - just like we would! Hijinks ensueBURNING MOON was easily a 4.5-star read for me... Add this one to your TBR, because it is a treat of a book and I highly recommend itHeartwarming and raw... I urge you to go on this journey with Lilly as she reclaims back her happiness, life, and heartI really loved the heroine, Lilly ... I was able to really connect with her ... an absolute winHeartwarming, funny, sweet, romantic and just leaves you feeling good insideReminds me of Bridget Jones Diary ... emotional and heartfeltLilly is a completely lovable character ... you are pulling for her the whole timeFull of pure-joy romance, laugh-out-loud moments and tear-jerkers, BURNING MOON has it all

Burning Moon is really about more than just a trip and a chance encounter. It is a tale of self-discovery, understanding, and self-acceptance. There are parts of the book that are poignant and heart wrenching but also parts that are hysterically funny. I . . . found myself frequently laughing out loud and grinning like a fool!
If you are looking for a book with a unique premise, a fun setting, great dialogue, and lovely characters I highly recommend you try Burning Moon

Escape to the gorgeous beaches of Thailand in this flirty, funny, riot of a rom-com. Fall in love, cry with laughter and have a whale of a time in Jo Watson's Burning Moon. Jo Watson is a South African writer who has worked as a TV scriptwriter and storyliner, play write, copywriter and features writer for the past ten years. Her romantic comedies were originally published on Wattpad and were sensationally popular, with over 5.8 million views and more than 400,000 reads. When Jo's not writing she can be found watching copious amounts of TV series and listening to Depeche Mode. Follow her on Twitter @JoWatsonWrites and find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jowatsonwrites.WATTPAD SENSATION: BURNING MOON was a Wattpad smash-hit. It won a 2014 Watty Award for being one of the site's most downloaded titles and has now had over 6 million reads. The Headline Eternal edition of BURNING MOON is newly revised and expanded with all-new material to entice fans. As of March 2018, Headline Eternal has sold over 100,000 copies of her titles in ebook.INCREDIBLE VOICE: Jo's writing is smart, high-concept, funny and engaging. Her characters jump off the page, her storylines are larger than life, and her charming love stories will sweep readers off their feet.AMAZING TALENT: Jo is a hugely exciting up-and-coming talent. She was chosen as a Cosmopolitan South Africa 'Woman of 2015' for her runaway Wattpad success.ENGAGING AUTHOR: Jo Watson is fantastic on social media. She's very active online, connects with her fans and her voice and humour shine through. She has an impressive profile of almost 15,000 Facebook likes and 7,000 Twitter followers.