Thursday, October 22, 2015

Guest Spotlight ~ The Final Straight by Charlotte Howard

Guest Blog

Thanks for hosting! The Final Straight is the story of Max and April’s friendship, and how it is torn apart when her ex, AJ, comes back onto the scene. With lies, betrayal, and secrets coming out, it shows the angst felt in a love triangle, and that is the subject of today’s guest blog.

Anyone who has been in that situation knows how painful it can be. In the case of The Final Straight, April is torn between her ex and her best friend, both of whom profess to be in love with her, and neither of which could be titled The Ideal Man. AJ comes across as a self-obsessed businessman, one who can provide for her, but is known to be less than caring. Max cares for her, but is known for being a womanising cheat. The two men are rivals right from the start, there is certainly no love lost between them.

Some women may dream about having men fighting for their attention and love – the idea of two men wanting you can be erotic. But the reality of it can be heart-breaking.

Many years ago, I was friends with someone who I started to date. It became an on-off relationship, but eventually we split up and agreed to remain friends. It worked for a long time, but I knew how he really felt about me, and I will admit that I played on that. If I needed something, or a lift to somewhere, guess who I rang? Then I met someone who I truly did fall in love with. I hoped that my friend and boyfriend would get on, and for a while they did. But it became strained. It was obvious that my friend was jealous, and one drunken night things got out of hand. Although we’ve stayed in contact, we haven’t really spoken since. And I miss that.

Even though neither of them ever told me to make a choice, I knew that I had to, and I chose my boyfriend. I don’t regret that decision. But I do miss my friend sometimes. I grew up in a house full of women, and he was the closest thing I had to a brother. I miss that relationship.

That’s why love triangles are never a good thing. Despite the initial grab of attention, despite the adrenaline and endorphine flood at the sight of two men arguing over you, it’s going to end with at least one person being hurt.

Fortunately, life goes on and we are all happily married with children now. Read The Final Straight to find out how April resolves her love triangle...


Max stood in the doorway, watching April as she slept. She shuffled under the weight of her nightmares. Stepping to the side, he let a shaft of light sweep from the landing to the bed. April rolled to her side, her arm flopped over her face. She murmured. Her breathing quickened.
“It can’t be morning,” she groaned, turning onto her stomach and burying her head in the thick pillows.
“You were having a nightmare,” he said, as if that would explain his voyeurism.
Turning to face him, she forced herself to sit up. “Was I?” She pressed her knuckles into the corners of her eyes, then reached across for the pair of black rimmed glasses on the bedside table.
Max half-smiled as she placed them on her nose and peered at him. She’d stopped wearing them in public, ever since he’d teased her for having four eyes when they were younger.
“You’re going to have to tell me at some point.” He shoved his hands into the pockets of the loose tracksuit bottoms he wore, and moved into the room.
“Tell you what?”
“Whatever it is that’s bothering you. You’ve been even more pissy than normal.”
April reached up to rub her shoulder and neck. “What time is it?”
“Couldn’t this have waited until the morning?” She swung her legs out of bed, tugging at the hem of the oversized T-shirt she’d borrowed from his drawer.
“Technically it is morning.” Max rubbed his toes into the carpet, staring at his feet. “I couldn’t sleep.”
“So you thought you’d wake me.” April stood, raking her fingers through her hair and pulling it into a tight ponytail before letting the curls loose. She walked past him, towards the bathroom. He followed until she shut the door in his face.
Leaning against the frame, he pressed his head against the wall. “I don’t believe that this is all over the Banks girl. Or the board meeting. Something else is bothering you.”
She opened the door, releasing the sound of a flushing toilet, and looked up at him. Something burned in her eyes. Her green irises glistened, a sheen of sadness and regret. He’d seen it before.
“Have I done something to upset you? I mean, really upset you,” he added on seeing the look she gave him.
“No.” She headed back into the bedroom. “Please Max, I have a banging headache and need to sleep. I’ve got to ring the college tomorrow, and there are still a thousand and one things I didn’t do yesterday.”
“I need to know what’s going on, April.”
She licked her bottom lip, then ran her teeth over the smooth edge. It was a bad habit of hers, one she did when she had a secret she wanted to spill. She took a breath and opened her mouth, but closed it before any words slipped out. She blinked.
“In the morning,” she assured him, rubbing her hand up and down his arm. She turned and walked back to her room. The hem of the T-shirt rose with each stride, showing the curve of her backside.
He felt himself stirring. Not for the first time, he found himself thinking of something mundane to try and avoid the temptation to grab her and kiss her, hard. But he couldn’t risk fracturing their friendship.
She was right when she’d said they wanted different things. April wanted marriage, an official and legally binding commitment, added pressure to a relationship. And children? Well, that was an altogether different problem. Kids were hard work. Kids meant sleepless nights and a funeral for his social life.

Blurb / Buy Links
April Miller works for her best-friend, Max Knight on his livery and competition yard. Their friendship has withstood many turbulent times, and while April is deeply in love with Max, she is also aware of his womanising ways and has refused to succumb to his flirtatious charms. When her ex, AJ, suddenly comes back with a business proposal, April finds herself torn between the two men.

Bio / Links

Charlotte lives in Somerset with her husband, two children, and growing menagerie of pets and can always be found with a cup of tea in her hand. When she's not writing or running around after small people and animals, she loves to eat curry and watch action films.

Charlotte is an active (and vocal) member of the Yeovil Creative Writers.

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