This is how it began. My sister Anna, a brilliant and witty writer, suggested that we should try to write a romance novel according to the guidelines published by Mills & Boon. Not as easy as it sounds, apparently. She created a finely judged opening paragraph and sent it to me. And, intoxicated by the stylistic possibilities that are simply not offered by my usual literary output of press releases on Bedfordshire’s latest social housing project, I have taken up the gauntlet. The idea is that we will take it in turns to develop the story, in full view of you, dear reader.

We are taking this project seriously, but I am already acutely aware that writing about simmering desire with one’s own sister might be possible only with tongue tentatively in cheek. We have agreed not to discuss our plot ideas, so the novel will unfold as unpredictably to us as to our readers. This could lead to trouble later on, but for now it seems a very liberating way to start.

Who knows where this project will take us? To the dizzying heights of publication by the world’s leading romance brand? Probably not. But wherever we end up, it should be fun getting there…

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Part 24 – Miss Whiplash

Bit S&M, this, but frankly what do you expect when a sound ‘like’ a pistol shot (but presumably not a pistol shot) sounds out on a bare mountain? Whips were the only thing that sprung to mind. Sorry.

Part 24 (by Oliver)

Startled back to now, Topaz looked up at a large figure that towered blackly above her, silhouetted against the strengthening sun. For a moment – a breathless, precious moment – she wondered how Cleft had found her here so soon. But then she saw that the outline was not the taut, slim figure of Cleft but that of a small, middle-aged man. Even against the sun, she could see that he was bald, sweating, his breath laboured and a bullwhip swinging in his hand. The air seemed to hum still with the explosive crack of that whip.

‘What do you want of me?’ whispered Topaz, recalling with a thrilling jolt the other time she had uttered those words.

‘You give me money, quick,’ said the man, in urgent tones. ‘I no have time for wasting; before you give me thirty euro to bring you here – you rich, I know.’

And then Topaz remembered that day – so long ago it seemed, yet only a week before – when she had urged the cab driver to bring her to Paradise Heights as fast as he could. Funny how one could never really escape the loops of destiny, she thought.

‘I have nothing,’ she whispered.


  1. ooooooooo, I knew it would be a whip! Next installment please....what will happen to Topaz now?

  2. That's got you going, Mrs Slayer! I give you full credit for anticipating this unexpected development...

  3. That's not what I had in mind at all! That sounds dirty. How am I going to whip it into shape now?

  4. What did you have in mind, then? Her knicker elastic snapping?