Authors: Joanne Rawson
Tags: #romance, #love, #christmas, #short story, #lust, #restless, #chic lit, #mother daughter relationship, #get laid, #mr wrong, #joanne rawson, #something missing, #unlucky in love, #always mr wrong
Melange Books, LLC
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Always Mr. Wrong, Copyright 2014 by
Smashwords Edition, License
Names, characters, and incidents
depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher. No part of
this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system, without
permission in writing from the publisher.
Published in the United States of
Cover Design by Lynsee
ALWAYS MR. WRONG
Clare Darby is feeling restless, but can’t
quite put her finger on why. Her life is in order, so what is the
problem? When her daughter asks
she really wants for
Christmas how can Clare tell her all she wants is to get laid. All
her life she has fallen for Mr. Wrong. Will she
Table of Contents
For Yummy Mummy and her Yummy
Tonight was all about me, Clare Darby, moving
on. Well, actually, it was all about my best friend Jess’s cheese
and wine party. Her Ladies Circle was raising money for sick
children. Or was it animals? I’m not sure which. To be honest I
hadn’t taken much notice when Jess invited me. All I could think
about was how, although it had been eight months since my divorce,
it had been over a year since I’d got myself dressed up, gone out
and engaged in adult conversation.
For weeks now I had been feeling restless. I
couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I had a good job as a midwife
at St. Andrews teaching hospital. Twice a week I went to the gym
with my girlfriends to Tums and Bums. Afterwards, sweaty and
knackered, we would indulge in a couple of glasses of wine and
gossip at the bar next door. My finances were in order; I had a
wonderful home, a perfect daughter, and a caring family. So what in
the world was wrong with me?
Then two weeks ago, even though it was the
middle of October, my seven-year-old daughter, Olivia, pondered
over her Christmas letter to Santa. For a seven-year-old, she is
very methodical, a chromosome she has inherited from her father.
Unfortunately, her father’s meticulous discipline ceased when it
came to fidelity. Before she wrote her letter she made two lists,
presents she desperately wanted and presents she would like, but
not imperative. Finally, lists cross-checked and narrowed down to
one main present and a handful of smaller ones, she asked what I
really wanted for Christmas. She would like to add it to her
“You never ask Santa for anything, Mummy.
What would you really like most?”
The answer shone as bright as the star of
Bethlehem. I was almost positive as I contemplated my answer the
Angel Gabrielle manifested in front of my dining room window,
telling me to go forth, and seek, but how could I tell my
seven-year-old that what Mummy really wanted was a man. More
importantly...to get laid?
It all came to a head just before Christmas
last year when Phil, my then husband, a Detective Inspector for the
North London Metropolitan Police, came home unusually early one
Friday night. As he went straight upstairs, I should have known as
I stood in the kitchen and heard him moving around in our bedroom
and then appeared a while later with a suitcase in his hand, it
wasn’t full of dirty laundry for the laundrette. I’d been
suspicious for months that his relationship with his partner, the
stunning Detective Sargent Maria Stephanopoulos, was more than
professional. A typical Greek goddess, all olive skin, flowing dark
hair, legs up to her armpits and tits so perky that every man, even
the criminals, couldn’t take their eyes off them. To be honest,
when I think back, the last seven years of our eight-year marriage
had been like skating on a lake of thin ice, even before Maria. How
many times had Phil assured me after each affair it was purely a
fling, it would never happen again. I’d lost count of how many
lonely sleepless nights I’d lain in bed wondering when the pressure
of the three people in our marriage would be too much, and the lake
would finally crack.
So it came as no big surprise to find divorce
top of Phil’s Christmas list that year.
* * * *
I’d been so up for tonight. As I got myself
ready, I’d lashed on another layer of mascara that, if the TV ads
were correct, I would have men mesmerized as soon as I walked into
the room. My two nights a week at Tums and Bums had rid me of the
spare tire I had been lugging around with me for the last seven
years after having Olivia. Juggling Atkins, the F Plan diet and the
cabbage diet—one diet never seemed to have enough food—had proved
to be worth all the pain and hunger as I slipped into my
figure-hugging cocktail dress that hadn’t seen any excitement since
my twenty-eighth birthday eight years ago. Come to think of it,
neither had I.
Despite all my efforts there wasn’t a chance
in hell that I was going to find Mr. Right here tonight. It was
hardly a wine swilling, loud music playing, hurling up at the end
of the night in the bushes kind of a party. To be honest, as I
sipped my wine and nibbled on cheese, I had never felt more like a
leper. Apparently, to the hoity-toity married women, I was on a par
with Orphan Annie as they sympathetically asked if it worried me
that I would never find a decent man who would want to take on a
thirty-six-year old divorced woman with a seven-year-old. Yet when
they saw me innocently chatting away to their husbands, I suddenly
became a threat, dragging the men away from me like I was some kind
of neurotic nymphomaniac.
To be fair Jess had asked her husband,
Martin, to invite a few of his single friends. Bless his Marks and
Spencer’s cotton socks, the only unmarried men Martin knew were
from his fishing club. Under normal circumstances, I would never
have given them a second glance. After only a couple of
introductions, that was well and truly enough for me. I had to bite
my tongue when Jess asked me had I found anyone I liked or me
asking her where had Martin found them? Geeks R Us?
I knew it would be rude to leave after only
one hour, so I gathered a few dirty wine glasses and empty plates
of canapés to make myself useful in the kitchen. Standing at the
kitchen sink, up to my arms in soapsuds, I muttered away to myself.
“This party sucks. I wasted a good afternoon grooming myself like a
bloody gymkhana horse, polishing my nails, applying nail varnish
that I know I have to take off before work on Monday. Spent hours
on my chestnut mane, washing, conditioning, moussing, and
scrunching to achieve the I-just-washed-and-left-it look. And for
“Um, I’m sorry.” I felt a tap on my
As I swung around in surprise, accidentally
taking with me half a sink-full of water, a large splodge of
soapsuds landed and stuck to his chest.
Well, ding-dong, this party perhaps didn’t
suck at all. Things might be starting to look up at last.
eyes wandered across his chest, the charcoal grey lamb’s wool
sweater he wore was tight enough to see the honed muscles of his
shoulders and arms. Suddenly I felt the urge to touch them, run my
hands over his shoulders and down his arms. Drawing in a deep
steady breath of appreciation, I found myself curling my fingers
into a fist, to stop any urges to touch.
This man should have
one of those polite notices attached to him like they have in china
It’s nice to look, but don’t touch.
I shifted my gaze slowly, allowing myself to
enjoy the magnificent sculpture before me. His smooth
coffee-coloured skin tone could only be a genetic of being mixed
race. A small goatee beard, tinged with silver, made him look
distinguished. Thick, short corkscrew black hair flaunted a
sprinkling of silver around his sideburns and, I have to say as the
butterflies fluttered in my tummy, was still devilish attractive.
Did I just say, STILL devilish attractive?
I took a closer
No, it couldn’t be? It had been almost twenty years, but
Dad did tell me only just the other day Dr. Guy Foreman was to take
over from him as head of Orthodontics when he retired next
At the time, I hadn’t thought much about it,
but now, seeing him in the flesh, caused an eruption of feelings I
had not experienced since being a teenager.
When I was sixteen, I’d refused point blank
to allow my father to fit me for braces for my two very prominent
front teeth, demanding to be treated by his prodigy, Dr. Foreman,
an orthodontic surgeon under the wing of my father at St. Andrews
It all became frightfully embarrassing to
find, as soon as I clapped my eyes on him, I had the most awful
I would spend my appointments in a haze of
delirium, perpetually blushing every time he asked me a question.
Lying back in the chair, having a mouth full of wires tightened,
filling my nostrils with the CK1 aftershave he wore. I would listen
as he spoke to the nurses who evidently were in as much awe as me
with the dashing doctor, taking careful note of the actress, music,
and books he loved, hatching my plan.
The day before the unveiling of my new
nashers, I spent all afternoon hogging the bathroom, dying my brown
hair ash blonde. Copying make-up from Just 17 that promised to make
me look older and sophisticated in the hope that when Dr. Foreman
detached the mouthful of metal that for the last twelve months made
me look like Jaws from James Bond, he would stand back in
amazement, as Lionel Richie crooned ‘
background. The ugly duckling would have turned into a beautiful
swan, and he would fall helplessly in love with me.
The next day I glided into his surgery,
hoping I resembled Sharon Stone or at least Glen Close, only to be
devastated when a complete stranger stood there. The new doctor
informed me Dr. Foreman had moved onto a new appointment in
For the next week I locked myself in my
bedroom after school, sobbing that I would never find another man I
loved as much. That was until Timothy Knowles asked me to the
end-of-term disco, timidly uttering he liked my new hair colour.
“It makes you look like Sharon Stone.”
I do not know how long I stood gawking at
him, but he managed a smile and jokily said, “This is obviously a
bad time. A party that sucks, and on behalf of all us geeks, I’d
like to say sorry. But do you happen to know if there is more ice?”
He scooped off the suds from his grey sweater and flicked them into
OMG I’m sixteen again!
I ran my tongue
over my teeth, just to make sure I wasn’t wearing a brace.
be stupid, Clare. You are twenty years older. You are well and
truly over your teenage crush. You’ve been married, divorced and
have a child for goodness sakes. Get a grip!
Clutching my wet sodden hands to my throat, I
finally caught my breath. I could feel the warm soapy water running
down the cleavage of my dress.
“Here, let me help.” He grabbed a towel from
Dreamily taking in the musky smell of his
aftershave, the distraction had failed to alert me to what Dr.
Foreman was doing until I finally looked down and realised he was
not dabbing but rubbing the front of my dress. Yeah gods, the water
had soaked through the chiffon that was now transparent, exposing
my bare boobs, and my nipples sticking out like church organ pegs.
Was this a breach of patient privacy? Even after twenty
“Please, it’s fine,” I protested.
“It’s okay. I’m a doctor.” Yeah, famous last
words. The old ones are always the best, as he still kept rubbing.
His nose now inches away from my bosom.
“Doctor Foreman, please,” I stepped back,
slipping on the pool of water. He reached out and grabbed me. “It’s
me, Clare Darby. Well, Clare Coleman, that was.”