Jul 2 2016
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?
So, did you get lucky?’ a deep voice drawled….
Charlotte spun to find Mr Panama Hat grinning down at her. Bloody hell, she thought, smiling back despite herself. Any other man she knew would look utterly ridiculous in what seemed to be a tailor-made, striped linen jacket and trousers, combined with that damned hat. But he carried it off with a self-confidence that bordered on swagger.
‘Yes actually, I did,’ she admitted, still smiling. ‘What about you?’
‘I lost. My own fault. I took a flier on somebody else’s tip.’
Charlotte grinned sympathetically.
Mr Panama Hat shook his head, scowling briefly.
‘I read some bloody sports columnist from Ireland Today. Had a few winners earlier this week. As I said, it’s my own fault. I never normally bother with racing tips. Whoever it is, he obviously doesn’t know a horse from a three-legged stool.’
Charlotte swallowed hard.
‘So how much did you lose?’ she managed, trying to sound casual.
‘A thousand.’ He caught Charlotte’s horrified expression and laughed. ‘Hey, don’t look so worried! I’m a big boy.’
Charlotte stared at him in amazement. Who did that? Maybe he was a rich eccentric, the kind of guy who hung around the race courses betting big. Not caring whether or not he won – or lost everything on the day. That said, she was damned if she’d come clean!
IRISH author Sharon Black is a diehard screwball comedy enthusiast. Her first novel, Going Against Type, a contemporary romantic comedy set in Dublin, was e-published by Tirgearr Publishing in September, 2014 to great reviews.
She has had short stories published, and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition. She worked for a number of national newspapers.
She writes a fortnightly blog, This Funny Irish Life, featuring light, fun, personal columns, and also has regular updates on her work, guest bloggers, and links to blogs where she has been honoured to write guest posts.
She has an author page on Facebook, is a member of Cold Coffee Café, and tweets at Authorsharonb.
When she’s not writing, she reads, walks, sees friends, and drinks far too much coffee. She co-founded a local book club 15 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, every romantic comedy ever made, and edgy stand-up. She hates shopping.
She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.