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Authors: Rhoda Baxter

Tags: #Romance, #England, #Patents, #Contemporary Romance

Patently in Love

BOOK: Patently in Love
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Patently in Love

 

By

Rhoda Baxter

 

 

Uncial Press       Aloha, Oregon
2012

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events described herein are
products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real.
Any resemblance to actual events, locations, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is
entirely coincidental.

ISBN 13: 978-1-60174-131-8
ISBN 10: 1-60174-131-6

Patently in Love
Copyright © 2012 by J C Mantotta

Cover art and design
Copyright © 2012 by Victoria Conrad

All rights reserved. Except for use in review, the reproduction or utilization of this
work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means now
known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the author or
publisher.

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.
Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the
FBI and is punishable by up to five (5) years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Published by Uncial Press,
an imprint of GCT, Inc.

Visit us at http://www.uncialpress.com

Acknowledgements

A big thank you to my family, especially my very understanding husband who
encouraged me to carry on writing. Also to Jen for nagging me to write and pointing out
things I didn't want to think about. Thanks also to Jude at Uncial Press for a splendid lesson in
editing.

Chapter 1
CAUSE CELEB: The Magazine that connects You to the
Stars!
BEDHOPPERS!

In a shock revelation this week, Triphoppers star Ashby
Thornton has split up with his long term girlfriend Jane Porter.
Jane--25--discovered Ashby--25--in bed with Janelle Shawn--19--who will be appearing
in Hollyoaks next month.

After six years together, the separation was bound to be difficult. "Jane's
devastated," said a friend. "She and Ashby have been together since they were
just students at uni. She stood by him and supported him throughout his career.
She doesn't deserve this."

Sources close to the couple say that this may be a row that they cannot
recover from. There have been increasing suggestions of tension between them
as Ashby's sky rocketing career has made his lifestyle ever more hectic, whilst
Jane is attempting to build a career in the pharmaceutical industry. "The
pressures of Ashby's social life have been taking a toll on Jane," said a source.
"She goes to all the important functions with him and still manages to turn up
for work the next day. It's not an easy lifestyle to sustain."

No one has seen Jane since she stormed out of the flat she shares with
Ashby. Friends suggest that she has gone into hiding in order to mend her
broken heart. Meanwhile, bad boy Ashby has declined to comment.

What do you think Jane should do? Write in and tell us, or log onto our
website at www.causeceleb.com.

Turn to page 7 for an exclusive interview with Janelle Shawn 'How Ashby
Thornton sweet talked me into bed'

* * * *

It was rush hour on Fleet Street. Jane walked briskly, not out of choice, but to avoid
being mowed down by other people. She would have preferred to slow down and look at the
buildings she was passing. Perhaps even enjoy the knowledge that she was walking on Fleet
Street as someone who belonged there, not just a tourist. Being in London was still a thrill.
Even though she loved Manchester, it didn't have the same buzz as London did.

She paused to glance at her watch and was tutted at by a woman in a hurry to get to
her desk. Jane tried to apologise, but the woman was already gone, scurrying away with her
head down against the watery winter sun.

A bus drove past, featuring a huge advert for the new Triphoppers album on the side
of it. Out of habit, Jane ducked her head into her scarf so her face was less visible. Seeing an
alleyway ahead, she made a quick dart and stepped out of the main flow. No one took any
notice of her.

She relaxed a little and paused to get her bearings. The office wasn't far and she was
going to be ridiculously early for her first day as a trainee patent attorney in a large London
firm.

She had always wanted to work in London. She might have got there earlier, after
she'd emerged from university with a chemistry degree and a determination to never set foot
in a lab again. But by then she'd met Ashby and hadn't wanted to be separated from him.

Ashby.

The thought of him still stung, but now that her anger had subsided, she missed him.
Or maybe she missed having a boyfriend. It was better to be single and lonely than to have a
boyfriend who was cheating on you. Wasn't it?

She let out a long breath. A future without Ashby would have been unthinkable a few
weeks ago, but now that was what she was hoping for. There would be no more music
industry parties. No more gigs to shadow him to. No more intrusive pictures in the gossip
magazines. She could concentrate on her career. Ashby's betrayal could be the best thing that
could have happened to her.

A look at her A-Z showed her that the alleyway would bring her out close to where
she needed to be. The road ahead was tarmacked, but narrow. The loading bays and doorways
on either side would have made the alley menacing, if it weren't for the fact that there were
other people around. Not a huge stream like on the main road outside, but a few people
plodding along, not making eye contact. Feeling happier at this pace, Jane carried on.

It was intriguing how people made a conscious effort not to notice each other. As far
as she was concerned, this situation was bliss. She wondered how many of these people
dreamed of being famous. She had felt like that once, but being at the centre of media
attention was not as much fun as people seemed to think.

It had been weeks since she'd left Manchester, but the feeling of being stalked by
photographers, gossip columnists and the public had still not gone away. Since moving to
London, she had tried not to go out unless she absolutely had to, even though the chances of
someone recognising her without Ashby were slim.

When she emerged from the alley, the January sun glinted off the windows of a pub,
turning it into a mirror. She stopped to straighten her jacket. It took her a few moments to
recognise herself. Until last week she'd been blonde and glossy. Now, in her sharp business
suit and with dark hair, she looked every inch the lawyer. She gave herself an encouraging
smile. A stray wisp of hair flew across her face. She tethered it behind one ear as she rejoined
the flow of people, and stepped straight into the path of a runner. His shoulder rammed into
her, throwing her off balance. She staggered backwards.

The runner stopped and turned. As he approached, she felt a moment of fear. Was
there such a thing as jogger rage? She drew a deep breath and prepared to defend herself.

"Are you okay?" he pulled his earphones out as he approached her.

"Um...yes," She rubbed her arm where he'd bumped into her. It would probably
bruise. "I'm fine."

"I'm really sorry," he said. "You stepped into my path, I didn't have time to--"

Jane held up a hand. "It was my fault." She looked up at him for the first time.

His face was shiny with sweat and his hair was tucked under a beanie hat. Even under
such unflattering conditions, it was a handsome face.

"Really," Jane said with a smile. "I'm fine."

"Well, if you're sure..."

He gave her a quick smile. A dimple appeared briefly on his right cheek. It was
definitely a handsome face. "Okay then." He turned and set off again.

"Have a nice day," Jane shouted after him.

He slowed and looked over his shoulder. She had a brief impression of brown eyes
before he nodded his acknowledgement and picked up the pace. Without really thinking about
it, she checked out his legs. Long. Muscular. Nice.

It had been a long time since she'd been able to admire any man other than Ashby.
Maybe moving to London was just what she'd needed. She rechecked the address on her paper
and carried on walking with a renewed sense of hope.

* * * *

From: Stevie Winfield
[email protected]
To: Marshall Winfield

Morning Marsh
Are
you in this evening? Can I call you?
Love
Stevie
PS: Have you
got an exciting day planned?

##

From: Marshall Winfield

To: Stevie Winfield

I'm a patent agent. Patent
agents don't have exciting days.
As it happens, I'm not in this evening.
Why? How much do you want?
M

##

From: Stevie Winfield

To: Marshall Winfield

I'm affronted! Can't a
girl call her big brother without it being about money?!
More important
though-- you're going out this evening! What's the special occasion? Have you
got a date?
Okay, you got me. It is about money. I need to get the car
MOT'd...
love
Stevie

##

From: Marshall Winfield

To: Stevie Winfield

No. No date.
There's a
new trainee starting in our group today, so we're all going to the pub after work
to get to know her. I don't really want to, but I have to, in case Keith turns it
into a 'Marshall is anti-social' thing. He's trying his best to undermine me
before the Partner's meeting.
Why do I have to pay for your car to be
MOT'd? What happened to your allowance?
M

##

From: Stevie Winfield

To: Marshall Winfield

Ooooh. A girl trainee!
There's hope. There's hope.

##

From: Marshall Winfield

To: Stevie Winfield

I have work to
do.
M

* * * *

The offices of Ramsdean and Tooze were a mixture of open plan desks and glass
fronted rooms. Jane was shown into a small office with two desks facing each other. At one
sat a petite girl with a neat bob and square glasses.

She looked up and smiled. "Hi," she said. "I'm Ruth."

Jane put down her handbag and attempted an easy, confident smile. "I'm Jane."

"I know," said Ruth. "We had an email telling us about you."

"Really? What did it say?" The minute she said it, Jane wished she hadn't. The
question had come out too eager.

"That you used to work for a pharmaceutical company..." Ruth looked at her
intently. "Why? Were you expecting there to be something more?"

"Oh, no. Just wondered, that's all."

Ruth's eyes rested on her a little longer. "Okay. I'm supposed to be your buddy for the
first couple of days. Would you like me to give you a tour of the office?"

Ruth chatted as she showed her around the building. The office adjoining theirs was
empty. Next to it was a desk where a woman with short grey hair and dangly earrings was
frowning at her computer screen. "This is Val," said Ruth. "She keeps this place running
smoothly."

Val looked up, over the rim of her glasses and gave Jane a warm smile. "If only. I can
help you with any secretarial support though."

Ruth indicated the empty office next door. "Where's Marsh?"

"Meeting," said Val. "Poor boy had to run off almost as soon as he got in."

"You'll meet him soon enough, I guess," she said to Jane. "Since Susan's not in today
and Marsh is busy, I suppose I should take you to meet Keith."

"He's in," said Val, not meeting Jane's eye. "I saw him a few minutes ago."

There was a pause. Ruth and Val exchanged a glance. Jane waited for an explanation,
but received none.

"Come on," said Ruth, starting off. "It's a shame you didn't get to meet Marsh. He's
nice. You'll like him."

Did that mean she wouldn't like Keith?

"Keith's one of the partners," Ruth said in hushed tones before she knocked on a door
on the other side of the building. "I often have to work with him."

When Ruth pushed the door open, the man at the desk looked up from his work.
"What is it?"

"I'm showing Jane round the office." Ruth let Jane go in ahead of her.

Keith scanned Jane from head to toe and back again, his gaze resting fractionally
longer on her legs than anywhere else. His demeanour changed from slightly irritated to all
charm. "Ah. Jane." He stood, tall and broad in a rugby player sort of way. "Welcome." When
he leaned across the desk to shake her hand, he gave it a small, and unnecessary, squeeze.

Jane resisted the impulse to back away.

"I'd love to chat, but I'm a little tied up at the moment." Keith gestured to the files on
his desk. "But, I will catch up with you later in the day, I promise."

BOOK: Patently in Love
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