Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy here - Tirgearr Publishing
Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic, and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite so sure as she seem. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.
Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist, and sophisticated man-about-town – The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking . . . and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain, and shallow women.
Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but soon is drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist, The Squire, and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just who the opponent is.
When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings. When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?
• • •
Charlotte had waited years for Donal to utter those magical words. This morning he'd finally said them.
'We're trying you out as a columnist, Charlie. Go grab 'em by the–'
'Thank you, Donal,' Charlotte replied fervently. Yesssss!!!! She mentally punched the air. 'I won't let you down.'
Maybe not the magical words every girl longed to hear but for Charlotte Regan – sports reporter for Ireland Today – they were music to her ears.
Now she sat at a blank computer screen in the noisy sports department and thought hard about her first column. The sports editor had given her carte blanche. She grinned mischievously as she typed her introduction.
What witless wonder dreamt up the idea of men's underwear with the logo 'Small' emblazoned on it?
And what was English striker Adam Small thinking when he recently dunked his two big feet into the tacky world of big brand fashion?
'What are you down to do this weekend?'
Oh, let's see. Paint my toenails. Bathe in goats milk. Have wild sex with that gorgeous new reporter in the newsroom.
'I'm covering the hurling match on Sunday...'
'I need you to get down to Cork. There's open war! Nine months stand off and the players have called a strike from next week. No one gets that GAA bloodletting the way you can.'
'Uh hmm. I was there yesterday. Just drove up last night.'
'Yesterday? Monday? You were in Cork?' Donal's eyes widened. Charlotte nodded. What other yesterday was there? Maybe he was surprised she'd gone down on a day off.
'And I got a story.'
Donal rubbed his nose as he stared in bewilderment at Charlotte. 'What are you talking about, Charlie?'
She smiled patiently.
'I mean I went into the dressing room last night and got a story. JJ Nevin's not being disciplined. The selectors haven’t been stood down. Nevin’s switching codes. He’s going to sign for Galway. He’ll be playing soccer in the Airtricity League.'
Donal, Charlotte thought, not for the first time, did a great goldfish impression.
'When were you going to tell me?' he managed finally. Then, as an afterthought added, 'hang on, you went in where last night?'
'The dressing room.'
Donal glanced over at the deputy sports editor, Tim Hanlon, who grinned and shrugged. 'They let you in?' His eyes narrowed.
'Not the first time I've been in a men’s dressing room,' Charlotte said, enjoying herself now. 'Well yes, but...'
'What am I supposed to do? Let the male reporters steal a march? Who'd stop me anyway?
After JJ was substituted, he was taking a shower. I'd never get a story if I were shy!'
'Nobody could accuse you of being shy, Charlie,' John Dempsey, the soccer correspondent announced as he strode in and threw a newspaper down on the adjacent desk. 'We talking about the weekend activities?'
Charlotte rolled wide-set, hazel green eyes and grinned.
'Not yet.' She switched her attention back to Donal. 'Anyway, Nevin – clothed in a towel I might add – and I had a long talk. He filled me in on the whole thing.
They're announcing the signing on Thursday.'
'And we lead with the story tomorrow in the supplement!' Donal said, slapping his hand down delightedly. 'You boys hearing this? None of you will ever be half the man Charlie is!'
• • •
Sharon Black trained as a journalist and worked for The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner.
She has had short stories published and she won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.
She lives in Dublin with her husband and their three children.
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