I am still shaking slightly from the experience of being interviewed on the radio today. It was at 1.15 this afternoon on Radio Solent. I was interviewed by a lovely young woman - Alina Jenkins. She made me feel very welcome and at ease but still the adrenaline flowed and I was scared to death of saying something stupid. We got through the few minutes somehow though and now I'm recovering. If you are interested in hearing it - it will be online for a week - on 96.1 FM on The Katie Martin Show. Alina asked me many questions about Caught in the Web - the story, my research and own experiences, and all about the publishing process. If you are interested in reading the whole novel it's now available through all good bookstores as a paperback as well as from Amazon both in Kindle form and in paperback. If it's not on the shelves of your local store get them to order it in. My next excitement will be on Friday when the local News come to interview me - and then, of course, the book-signing session at Waterstones, Commercial Road, Portsmouth on the 1st September from 12 noon to 3.00pm. Hope to meet some new people there.
Peter was in the White Swan, drinking with Dave. They'd been friends since he'd joined the firm after leaving university and they often shared a drink before going home.
'I don't know what's going on with my missus these days.' Peter leaned against the bar.
'What's up, Pete?' asked Dave. 'You're always going on about her being such a good woman.'
'She used to be. Always there for me, dinner on the table when I got home - that sort of thing.'
'What's changed then?'
'It's been since she started work at Highclere. You know, I told you about it before.' Peter swallowed a mouthful of beer. 'I’m not happy with her working there with all those nutters but the more I say anything to her, the more she digs in her heels.' He slammed the pint glass down on the bar. 'Now she tells me she wants to train as a nurse there. It's not even proper nursing,' he complained. 'Psychiatric, they call it. All the staff are weird. There's even a load of male nurses working there as well.'
'You should just let her do it - let her get it out of her system,' Dave suggested. 'She'll soon get fed up with it, and when the kiddies come along she'll have too much on her plate to think about all that. She's probably bored.'
'That's just it. I want us to start a family now but she won't even think about it until she's made a start on what she laughingly calls her career!' Peter glared at the barmaid.
'Oh well,' said Dave. 'They all think that they're feminists don't they? Only they still rely on us to keep them. I mean, how much does she earn at this job?'
'Peanuts. But she says that's not the point.'
'If she didn't have your money coming in, she wouldn't be able to pick and chose what she does, would she?' Dave reasoned. 'They don't realise how much they need us.'
'You're right,' Peter agreed. 'But I still don't know about her doing this. She's applied to do the training and it's for three years. I can feel her slipping away from me. It's like it's changing the way she thinks.'
'What do you mean?'
'Sometimes she looks at me like I'm a stranger to her,' Peter tried to explain. 'Then sometimes she seems to be trying too hard to be nice, like it doesn't come naturally and more. And when I try to talk to her she won't listen to my point of view and comes out with stuff that I'd never have expected from her.'
'Like what?' Dave asked.
'I don't know,' Peter was trying to remember. 'She just says things sometimes. For instance there's this one woman she looks after. She was talking a lot about her the other day. I was only half listening but I'm sure she thinks she's related to her or something.'
'You're joking.' Dave laughed.
'She said that she felt a connection with this woman,' Peter sneered. 'Just because the woman had lost her baby and didn't know where the kid was. Karen started on about wanting to find the child. It's probably because she was brought up without knowing who her own mother was. She thinks she’s going to find her in that place. I told her to keep her nose out but she just gave me one of her looks and shut down.'
'She's going through a phase, I expect,' Dave offered. 'Maybe working with those people is getting through to her. You know, when she gets used to it, she'll soon get bored with that and realise what's she's got in life.'
'I hope so,' Peter said. 'I just want things to be how they used to be.' He finished his pint. 'Another?'
'Go on then.' Dave emptied his glass. 'It's my round. Same again?'
Peter made his way through the crowded night club towards the toilets. It was late and the room was filled with smoke and dancers moving on the floor to the music which was loud enough to make conversations impossible. The rhythm of the music throbbed through his body making him want to dance.
He spotted a couple of women on the floor, their short skirts revealing long, shapely legs. One of them smiled at him invitingly as he passed. He grinned back and moved on. Making his way back to the bar a few minutes later, he noticed her again and made up his mind.
'There's a couple of girls over there,' he shouted to Dave as he leaned on the bar. 'Let's go and have a dance.'
Dave shrugged and followed Peter across the floor. When they reached the women they both nodded and smiled at the two and began dancing to the music.
The women looked at each other, leaned their heads together and shouted something to each other. They laughed at some unheard joke and danced, facing the two men but avoiding eye contact with them, feigning indifference.
Peter felt great. ‘I've still got it,' he told himself. He wondered where this would lead, as he tried to push all thoughts of Karen from his mind. 'She's just not there for me anymore,' he thought. Memories of her going off on her own to the party forced to the surface feelings of jealousy and resentment. 'What's good for the gander...,' he justified.
The music slowed and Peter took hold of the woman and danced closer, swaying to the gentler rhythm. He felt the curves of her body moving against his, and realised that he was becoming aroused as he stroked her shoulder. His hands moved down her back as he held her, breathing in the perfume in her hair.
'This is just what I need,' he thought. 'A woman who appreciates me.'
'What's your name?' she asked.
'Martin,' he replied without even hesitating.
'That's nice,' she breathed. 'I'm Katie.'
'My favourite name,' Peter said.
Dave was tapping him on the shoulder.
'You coming?' he shouted in Peter's ear. 'I'm off now. I've got an early start tomorrow.'
'No mate,' Peter shook him off. 'I'm staying a bit longer. I'll make my own way home. See you later.'
'Are you sure?' Dave sounded reluctant to leave Peter alone. 'You're not driving home, are you? You've had a skin full.'
'I'll be alright,' Peter snapped.
'Fine. I'm off then,' Dave said. He turned and was gone through the crowd.
Peter turned back to Katie.
'Fancy a walk along the seafront,' he smiled.
'We can go back to my place,' she replied. 'It's not far.'