Authors: June Tate
Table of Contents
RICHES OF THE HEART
NO ONE PROMISED ME TOMORROW
FOR THE LOVE OF A SOLDIER
NOTHING IS FOREVER
FOR LOVE OR MONEY
EVERY TIME YOU SAY GOODBYE
TO BE A LADY
WHEN SOMEBODY LOVES YOU
THE TALK OF THE TOWN
A FAMILY AFFAIR
THE RELUCTANT SINNER
BORN TO DANCE
THEIR GUILTY PLEASURES
HER FATHER'S DAUGHTER
GAMES LOVERS PLAY
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First published in Great Britain 2013 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
9â15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.
First published in the USA 2014 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
110 East 59
Street, New York, N. Y. 10022
eBook edition first published in 2013 by Severn House Digital
an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited
Copyright Â© 2013 by June Tate.
The right of June Tate to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Tate, June author.
Games Lovers Play.
1. AdulteryâFiction. 2. Triangles (Interpersonal
relations)âFiction. 3. Southampton (England)âFiction.
4. Love stories.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-8328-5 (cased)
ISBN-13: 978-1-78010-471-3 (ePub)
Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.
This ebook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
With love to Ann Jones and her delightful family
and remembering Pat with great affection.
With thanks to Rachel Simpson Hutchens for her meticulous copy-editing and as always my love to my two daughters, Beverley and Maxine.
Madge Morgan looked disparagingly at Connie, her granddaughter. âYou and your flighty ways! It'll all end in tears â you'll see.'
âFor goodness' sake, Nan, I'm nineteen, not a child any longer. I'm perfectly old enough to know what I'm doing!' And she flounced out of the room, slamming the front door behind her as she left the house.
âMiserable old bat!' she muttered as she walked down the road. Her grandmother had moved in with the family after her husband died and had cast a cloud of enmity over the household ever since. She was full of doom and gloom, giving her opinions on everything and interfering â or trying to.
âWell, she's not ruining
life,' Connie vowed. Life was to be lived. She wasn't going to grow old and embittered like the old girl. Not her! She was going to have a good time if it killed her!
She caught the bus, alighting at the Civic Centre which was near to Tyrell and Greens, the large prestigious department store in Above Bar, where she worked in the haberdashery department. Hanging her coat in the staff room, she hurried to her counter ready for the first customer.
John Baker, the floor manager, walked over to her. âGood morning, Connie, you look nice.'
âThank you, Mr Baker,' she said, trying to look demure. Then she smiled softly and in a very low voice said, âYou look good enough to eat!'
He tried to keep a straight face as Betty, her friend and workmate, joined them.
âWell, girls, let's hope we have a profitable day today,' he said as he walked away.
âYour boyfriend checking up on you, is he?' Betty asked sarcastically.
âHe's not my boyfriend!' Connie snapped back at her.
âBloody right he isn't. The man has a wife and kiddie. You should remember that. Oh Connie, I'm only worried about you. When a married man comes sniffing round a young girl, he's after only one thing.'
âHe's only ever kissed me, that's all.' She didn't tell her friend of the intimate caresses she'd shared with him, in a dark corner of the town, when they had met occasionally for a quiet drink. John Baker was fourteen years her senior, but to Connie he was a man of enviable sophistication. The way he dressed, his carriage, his knowledge â and when he kissed her, he stirred unexpected longings in her.
She knew he wanted her, he'd told her often enough. He'd said that he wasn't happy with his wife, but as they had a child he couldn't leave her, he had a duty to stay and bring up their daughter. So far, she'd managed to fend off his more amorous advances, but she knew it was just a matter of time, and she'd decided that she would eventually lose her virginity to him.
âHow about going to the Guildhall tonight?' asked Betty. âIt's the best night of the week there. All the people who can really dance turn out. What do you say?'
âYes, I'd love to!' It was just what she needed. She was getting bored. Nothing exciting was happening, and how much longer could she wait for Mr Baker?
That evening, Connie waited outside the Guildhall for her friend Betty. They both loved to dance, and every ballroom was full of eager young men, out for a good time. There were very few wallflowers these days, and she was never without a partner. Connie was an attractive girl with short, naturally curly hair and wide green eyes. There was an exuberance about her personality that was charming.
She turned at the sound of her name and grinned when she saw her friend running towards her. Betty was renowned for being late. Connie sometimes teased her, saying she would be late for her own wedding. But Betty would just laugh and say that would be the one time in her life when she'd be early in case the groom changed his mind!
After leaving their coats in the cloakroom, the girls walked upstairs to the ballroom. The band was playing Cole Porter's âNight and Day'.
âOh, I love this song,' said Connie. âIt's so romantic.' She looked quickly around the room. Apart from the boys in civvies, there were several British servicemen in various uniforms. This pleased Connie because they were usually good dancers and good company.
âCome on,' said Connie and dragged her friend to the edge of the floor where they could pick out the best of the dancers. âKeep clear of that one,' she said, pointing out a soldier. âHe's got two left feet. He'll be standing on yours more than his own. Look â¦ see what I mean?'
The soldier's partner winced as he stepped on her toes.
âIf that were me,' Betty remarked, âI'd make my excuses now and leave. Last week some twit literally walked me round the room. After that I swore to myself I'd never put up with another bad dancer, it wastes too much time.'
The music stopped, and they watched the girl in question limp off the floor.
âThere you are! Her night is ruined,' Betty said angrily. âSilly girl.'
As the band started to play a quickstep, a young man sauntered over to Connie. âCan you jive?' he asked, grinning broadly.
âOf course I can!'
He held out his hand. âThen let's do it.'
He whirled her round the floor, spinning her in time to the music. Her layered petticoat swished this way and that until the number finished.
He looked at her with some admiration. âYou were good,' he said. âYou deserve a drink, I'm thirsty after that. What's your name, by the way?'
âWell, hello, Connie, I'm Sam. Come on.'
He was good company, and he made her laugh. She learned that he was a car mechanic and at weekends he raced old cars at various rallies around the county. To Connie it sounded exciting.
âI'm racing next Sunday,' he said. âWhy don't you come with me?'
She thought, why not? It was just the change she needed at this moment. âI'd love to,' she told him.
They spent the rest of the evening dancing together, and when the last waltz was played he held her close. âCan I walk you home, Connie? Then I'll know where to pick you up on Sunday.'
She agreed, and they left the Guildhall together after she'd found her friend Betty, who was also being taken home by a man she'd met.
âWe'll swop stories tomorrow,' Betty said with a chuckle.
Sam held her hand as they walked through the park and up Hill Lane to Archers Road. He was different from John Baker in every way. He was younger, full of youthful enthusiasm, and Connie felt at ease with him as they talked and she learned of his ambition.
âOne day, Connie, I'll specialize in racing cars. I like building engines, getting them ready for the track. It's a specialized job, and I'm good at it.'
She liked his air of confidence, his self belief, his honesty. There was no hidden agenda here, as far as she could tell. She wondered just what Sam would think of her if he knew of her liaison with a married man. She thought he would be disappointed.
They stopped outside her house, and he walked her up the side path. âDon't want your old man opening the door on us, do we?' He took her into his arms and kissed her.
He was strong and held her tightly as his mouth explored hers. She kissed him back, surprised to discover how experienced he seemed to be, and she wondered how many girls he had bedded and then felt guilty at such thoughts. But he didn't attempt to touch her other than to hold her, and for this she was relieved. It would have spoiled the evening.
He brushed a stray hair from her face. âI'm so pleased we met, Connie, and I look forward to Sunday. I'll pick you up at nine o'clock.' He waited until she'd opened the door and stepped inside and then with a wave, he left.
As she walked upstairs to her room, she smiled. There, Mr Baker, she thought, you're not the only pebble on the beach by a long chalk!
Sam was very punctual and arrived at Connie's door at nine o'clock on Sunday morning. When she opened it she was surprised to see a racing car outside painted a bright red with a white circle with a number nine in the middle.
Seeing her dismay, Sam grinned. âThis is Gracie, my racer. Get in!'
As she did so she saw the curtain of the front room twitch and smiled to herself. She knew it would be her grandmother, who could never keep her nose out of other people's business. Well, this would really give her something to think about!
Sam started the engine, which seemed to roar as he put his foot on the accelerator, and drove away. As they journeyed through the town, people stopped and stared at the vehicle as it passed, and Connie felt privileged to be sitting beside the driver. They headed for the New Forest, and Connie sat back and admired the view. Sam didn't say a great deal other than to ask her if she was all right, as he was concentrating on the traffic.