Thursday, 7 August 2014

Nestled at the heart of the French Alps, Charlotte Young and her five closest friends ring in the New Year on a ski vacation in Chamonix France.

With the same idea in mind, many of the world’s celebrities are in town. Including the King of Romantic Comedies, Des Bannerman. Charlotte and friends join forces to help her realize her lifelong fantasy, to meet Des Bannerman.

Using bait in the form of her Sophia Loren lookalike friend to blaze a trail to Des Bannerman, Charlotte finally meets her man. His girlfriend, the latest Bond Girl, proves an insurmountable obstacle. Unexpectedly, Charlotte finds herself happily reconciled to an innocent evening of drinking champagne, gambling, and chatting to the celebrity of her dreams.

With the wave of her well-manicured hand, lighthearted banter turns into tabloid fodder. Lewd headlines and suggestive photographs provide worldwide entertainment. It also leaves Charlotte saddled with a restraining order.

Des Bannerman flees, leaving Charlotte to cope with the paparazzi and feeling very wronged! With her entire life impacted, Charlotte sets about dealing with the fallout of her fifteen minutes of fame. The only problem is, how does a mere mortal make contact with a celebrity god?

Girl meets boy. Boy disregards girl. Girl tracks down boy to get some answers! Along the way and with the help of her friends, Charlotte finds the answers to life’s biggest questions!

Chapter Eleven

After having completed the mundane task of unloading my suitcases and sorting laundry, I hunkered down on the leather sofa in an old sundress with my hair knotted on top of my head. While perched in front of the TV, I sipped a glass of iced tea while flipping through the channels, finally finding a sappy movie that inevitably gets aired on Sunday afternoons. I was crying at the death of the leading lady when Taylor walked in the door.

“You’re already here? When did you get home? What are you watching?” Taylor asked anxiously as she crossed the room. Glancing at the screen, she looked at me with disgust, grabbed the remote control, and turned off the television.

“What are you? A masochist? Who watches a movie designed to make them hysterical the day their boyfriend leaves? Why not at least watch something romantic or funny?” She gave me a pathetic look.

After sizing me up, I was ordered into something presentable and told to get ready for an evening out. “Make sure you wash your face. You look like a raccoon.” She continued to order me about even though I repeatedly moaned that I didn’t want to go out. “Too bad,” was her response.

An hour later, we arrived at one of the latest and greatest trendy bars in Manhattan. I was perched on a shiny chrome barstool at a glass-topped bar sipping on a brutally cold gin and tonic, trying to pretend I was happy, when Taylor smiled and waved to someone. The next minute I was gasping into the faces of Marian, Kathleen and Hillary.
“Oh my god! How perfect is this?” I gushed in amazement. It was hard to take in such an unexpected surprise.

“Well, we couldn’t leave the mopping up to just one poor woman,” Marian responded. Her glance darted around the room. “Where in the name of Jaysus is the waiter? We’ll be needing a few bottles to sort this one out,” she pronounced as she took in my pathetic state.

While I dreaded the state my head would be in tomorrow, I was speechless with delight.

“Now, isn’t this better than an iced tea and some sad movie?” Taylor asked. The lot of them groaned and moaned at me, wondering how I could be so cliché. Just about then, my phone rang.

“Just a minute,” I shouted over the friendly harassing,


“Ciao, bella, how are you?” It was Tiziana! After a minute of chatting, she apologized for not being there and advised, “Don’t let Marian dance on any tables. You know her legs aren’t her best asset! Take care of yourself, remember to drink lots of water.” We hung up with the promise to talk tomorrow.

Miraculously, a waiter arrived to tell us that a table had opened up and took our cocktail orders. Marian, in a low-cut, figure-hugging green dress, leaned into him while perched on her own chrome barstool, batting her big green eyes, and said, “Bring us two bottles of the best white wine you have, and don’t stop until you close!”
“Certainly,” he said, maintaining eye contact.

After he left, she said, “He had to be gay! There isn’t a straight man alive that can resist this dress.” Clearly Marian knew what her best assets were.

“Alright, tell us all about him. Get it out of your system! Bring it on,” Kathleen demanded.

Since I’d barely chatted with her since the trip to France, she knew the least about Liam. I rambled on and on about how wonderful he was, how kind, and handsome. After a few return trips from the waiter, I had segued into how sexy he was, how perfect his bum fit into my hand, how gorgeous he was. At some point we sat hunched over my cell phone so the girls could see pictures of Liam.

After having passed the phone between themselves, Marian, was back to lamenting. “How the feck is it that she met him here, this fine Irish boy? God’s truth, there aren’t any like this left in Ireland. I’d know. I’ve been actively searching for years!” she continued, straight-faced until the wine glass had returned to her lips.

Hillary, having just drained her glass, suggested, “Have her take you out. Clearly she knows where to look. Did you see those arms? That chest?” Hillary was referring to a picture I had taken of Liam while he was rowing us around the lake in Central Park. I felt quite smug.

“Alright, Kathleen, let’s have it. Rumor has it that you’re trying to woo a certain Danish prince or something,” I said as I returned my cell phone to my purse.

“Well, he’s only a distant relation to the Danish royal family. He’s 278th in line for the throne, or something like that. While he may not have the same raw manliness that Liam has, he has his own appeal. He’s elegant and, refined!” And with that, Kathleen whipped out her cell phone and proceeded to show us pictures of, Frederick.

“Frederick? What kind of name is that? There isn’t anything masculine about that. Wasn’t that the name of the fat one on The Flintstones?” Marian teased.

“Are you saying Liam isn’t elegant and refined?” I challenged Kathleen. I felt very Tammy Wynette-ish (Stand by Your Man, and all that.).

I looked to Taylor to defend Liam’s refinement. She gave me a look that clearly stated she wanted to be left out of this competition. As Kathleen and I were comparing our men digitally, I heard Taylor shout to the passing waiter, “Two more bottles, please!” I looked at her with a grin. This was far better than sitting at home, crying my eyes out.

At some waning hour, closer to morning than night, we stumbled, more than a little tipsy, to the curb to hail cabs. While we stood there, I had the sudden realization that I had never asked how they came to be in New York or where they were staying. I was surprised to find out they were staying at the very hotel Liam had just vacated.

“How amazing is that?” I said when I found out, swaying with the summer breeze.

About the Author

Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on an American military base. Her parents' penchant for traveling the world, via a Volkswagen Minibus with a Porsche engine, sparked her imagination. Staring out the window, sometimes through fog and rain, at other times at sunny blue skies, she began to make up stories for the places and spaces they passed by. The in-between time, the most fascinating to her.

The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Design, and pretty much every other subject matter. Like her childhood, it was the ride that was the most entertaining, arrival at a degree, not anywhere as important.

Mark Twain said, "Write what you know." When combining this concept with her unusual life experiences (working at a nuclear submarine base when Chernobyl blew, testing software Bill Gates kept close tabs on, travelling extensively while quite broke, or falling in love with her boyfriend's close friend) thinking of what to write about isn't challenging; there just needs to be more hours in the day.

Celia published Charlottes Restrained in December of 2012 and Venus Rising in August of 2013. Look for Kathleen's Undressed, a companion novel to Charlottes Restrained, to be published in 2014.

Currently she lives in Washington State with the loves of her life.

The overall giveaway is a signed copy of the book plus an Amazon Gift Card £15/$25.

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