Reading Romance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Charlotte Evans has a problem, she is addicted to Romance novels! Everyday she finds herself in Bright and Sons bookshop in order to fulfill her craving with the latest amorous offerings. Until one day her romantic charges need defending and Lucy realises romance might not only be in books she reads!

Submitted: May 23, 2009

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Submitted: May 23, 2009

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My breath catches in my throat, a buzz of excitement as I see it. A flutter of happiness that spreads across my face so that I force myself to control my smiles in case anyone happens to see. After all they wouldn’t approve of my obsession.
Ok, obsession, that’s a little strong, I like to think of it as a hobby, a regularity that I just have to do. Not the most normal thing for a 24 year old woman to do but hey, it’s cheaper than shoes and healthier than chocolate so who’s to judge? Quickly I cross the street and push open the door entering the musty shop, and I am surrounded by my love. Books. Covering ever corner, every surface, as far as the eye can see, a floor filled with a million sleeping butterflies ready to awaken as soon as their pages are turned. Bright and Sons Bookshop, the words alone are shimmering gold.
The advisor gives me a dismissive glance as I enter, as I said, I am not a first timer and I know exactly where I am going. I head purposefully for my destination, past the colourful travel guides, the self help and spiritual journals, the crazed murder mysteries and graphic novels that fill the shelves to my romantic haven. I sigh with content as the tinged pink and cream spines come into view, a pillar of happy endings. The romance section is set back in the corner of the shop, far away from the main section of the shelves, hidden amongst a jungle of poetry and literary reviews. I almost feel sorry for it cast away remotely, unworthy of the attentions the others receive with their idiots guides and biographies. Still, if it means that it’s just me and my novels then that suits me fine.
Call me bookish, call me geeky, whatever, but I love my romance novels, Mills and Boon, the Classics, modern Chic Lit, I will devour it all. I skim the titles eagerly, my fingers running across the top of the row, Cowboy Dreams, The Unwilling Bride, Maids Honour. I can’t help but laugh, the names are terrible and the blurb on the back is even worse! Although you can tell a good romance book a mile off, that tiny paragraph of writing on the back cover is a sure give away. Boisterous cowgirl gets swept off her feet by southern proprietor, making her an offer she can’t refuse, or Sir Henry has everything he could ever need but when will he need feisty Amelia? Anything that has the words tempestuous, heart blazing or soul mate and I am there, my head burrowed in it, quicker than you can say Amy Winehouse and back in rehab.
And there it is, book number 452, my current lunchtime getaway courtesy of this bookshop. Weird I know, I mean I could go to the library, I’m sure that would make the sales advisors happier, no grubby finger prints over their precious stock, but as its only Romance I read they don’t seem to be that bothered.I f it was the new Dan Brown they’d probably tell me to naff off, but it’s not, so they don’t. The funny thing is, I do like the library but I just prefer the bookshop. For one thing it’s handy, only across the road from the tiny office where I work, plus no one in the office is ever likely to venture there, they’re just not really book types. Don’t get me wrong, lovely bunch of people, but ask them about the latest romantic offering and the conversation turns to love triangles in Hollyoaks for the next half an hour.
Hmm book 452, lovingly entitled The Mistress’s Master, otherwise known as he wants her, cant have her and its then he realises her loves her. Not exactly a plot shocker but a good one none the less. I take my usual place leaning against the bookshelf and settle into the 1790s, it’s June in sunny England, and my heroine is currently at the races. Brilliant.
“Well, Lady Maverly, how are you enjoying Cheltenham in the summer?” Captain Bridgingtons eyes glittered as he assessed the young woman. She was looking very pretty today, wearing a silk dress of jade facets which shimmered in the late afternoon sun, clinging to every curve.
“You know I have no desire to talk to you, Bridgington!” The young woman shot back with contempt, “How dare you tell my father that I have been flirting with you! Nothing could have been farther from the truth!”
“Ahh but Lucille, how could you deny your flirtatious actions the other night after Dame Mortons garden party?” The lord teased, a cheeky smile crossing his handsome face catching her wrists playfully as she turned away from him, pulling her close to him with one swift motion.
“Hey!” a jolt had knocked me out of my 1790s dream, the novel falling to the floor, a jolt I might add, with such force that I had to grab onto the bookshelves to steady myself. A guy a few feet away was setting a ladder against that same bookshelf and was ruthlessly removing my romance novels from the top shelf, their thin fragile paperback covers falling to the floor in a waterfall of crimson and ballet pink.
“Do you mind?! Someone might want to buy those!” I announced huffily, slightly miffed at the disrespect of my romantic charges. After all there wasn’t anyone else there to defend them.
“I doubt it,” The guy mumbled back at me, flicking his floppy brown hair out of his eyes in disdain.
I felt the flush of anger rise to my cheeks. Who was this guy to come and disrupt my peaceful lunchtime, I am a customer! I have rights! Well browsing rights I’m sure!
“Uh, I might want to buy one!” I snapped and he looked down at me with quiet interest carefully descending from his ladder.
“Well? Why don’t you?” He offered, his deep blue eyes locking onto mine. “Hmm, The Mistresses Master, a literary classic I’m sure,” he smirked reaching down and handing me the now slightly crumpled paperback.
“It happens to be quite well written I assure you,” I bristled snatching my selected novel from him in defiance.
“Well then, I suggest you purchase it post-haste, uh Miss Evans,” he paused to glance at my office pass on my shirt “before the masses come in and nab it,” he continued, a smile playing his lips.
I am at a loss as he stands in front of me expectantly, one hand leaning lazily against the shelves, that annoyingly mocking smile on his face. Fuming I spin on my heel and stalk off with as much dignity as I can muster towards the pay desk.
“That will be 8.99 please” the disinterested advisor requests, reminding me why I only read the novels in the bookstore and don’t actually buy them. Begrudgingly I hand over my debit card.
“Um, have you got any new staff working here at the moment?” I ask her still indignant at my earlier encounter.
“Nope,” disinterested cashier finishes,
“Because I have just…” I begin but the sales advisor just shakes her head.
“Your receipts in the bag,” she concludes and I frown as I leave the store.
It has been 3 days since I have ventured into my book shop, still sore about my earlier confrontation.I can’t help but run the situation over in my head, although I know it won’t change anything, and thinking about it certainly doesn’t stop me from missing my novels. By Friday I am officially a wreck, yes, “my name is Charlotte Evans and I have a problem,” and I have to go in.I stand cautiously at the side of the road before crossing and after taking a deep breath I enter the store. They have been busy in my absence; the travel books have replaced the revision guides, the popular culture books invade the children’s section. I cautiously look for the rude assistant but there is no sign of him and I feel myself sigh in relief. Swiftly I head to my corner, but it has gone, the romance novels no longer safe in their sacred unit, instead uncomfortable bulky computing guides have taken over. Eventually I find them, abandoned amongst the fiction as if they were no more classified than A to Z. In silent protest I sink to the floor carefully straightening the line.
“Back for another? So soon?” a curious voice asked from above me. It was him! Waiting for me, to pounce, to wreck my lovely novels again!
“Yes, thank you” I reply haughtily standing up a little too quickly nearly bumping my head on his arm.
“Good read?” he asked smoothly leaning back against the books as I pretended to ignore him, looking at the back of another paperback I had clutched.He was very close, and despite my desperate attempt at avoiding his comments he still continued to look at me intently.
“ I see, a passage from a bodice ripper more engrossing than a conversation with me,” he laughed, “well there is a first for everything I suppose.”
“Look,” I hissed, “We both know your feelings on romantic novels and more than likely the people that read them and quite frankly I do not need to be judged by you, a man who reorganises book shops, shabbily I might add as well, so if you don’t mind I would like to finish my book in peace!” My eyes were blazing and my chest tight, who was this assistant that came to irritate me so?! Assistants were meant to assist not un-assist, or whatever!
“Mr Bright!” the disinterested cashier ran over unusually enthusiastic, “please can you help? I have a gentleman enquiring about the new encyclopaedias” she breathed, suddenly alert and she seemed to be playing with her hair coyly flashing a ub wide smile at Mr Bright who looked mildly annoyed at the disruption.
“Miss Evans,” Mr Bright nodded briskly at me before he strolled off with the cashier, leaving me alone and pale faced.Mr Bright? Not Bright and Sons Bright? Oh god, but he was young, he couldn’t have been Mr Bright, not even one of the Sons, I mean they had to be old too right? Maybe it was another Bright. Yeah, and maybe my romantic heroine wouldn’t fall into the clutches of the dastardly rake, unlikely. Oh no, I can’t believe that I said all that to the owner of the store! Slowly I could feel my deathly pallor turning a shade of pink that Playboy would be proud of. Another wave of embarrassment washed over me, everything I said! and all over a stupid book! Sighing I placed back the offending paperback and swiftly exited the store, vowing never ever to go in there again.
It was getting easier, it had been 2 weeks since I had gone into Brights and Sons and for a former addict I was doing pretty well. To be fair I had my staples of Pride and Prejudice, PS. I love you and of course The Mistresses Master and so far I was handling it ok. Until today that was. It was today that I found the flyer for Bright and Sons major refurbishment and today that I was dragged over the road by my soap loving work colleagues, and today that I found myself once and again in Bright and Sons booksellers. I bit my lip as I looked at the newly refurbished shelves, the browsing tables and the new clear markings. Dejectedly I looked for my romance section, I was certain that Bright Jr would have removed it probably to make way for Introduction to computing or something equally bestselling.
And there it was, in its little corner all new and organised… and with a chair! Gosh you’d think I’d never seen a chair before the way I looked at it, mouth open, a sudden surge of excitement that I struggled to contain.
“So what do you think?” a voice came from behind me and I span round to see him, Bright Jr, part owner of one of the biggest chains of bookstores in Britain. I am astounded, unable to speak a word.
“I’ve been watching you for weeks with your romance novels, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to spy but you get so into them leaning against the shelves, I felt the least I could do was give you a chair,” he smiled his blue eyes sparkling,” Do you like it?” he asks, but I am unable to speak, my breath has caught in my throat, a buzz of excitement as I see him. A flutter of happiness that spreads across my face but this time I can’t force myself to control my smile in case any one happens to see, and I don’t care if they do.


© Copyright 2020 Alexandra Daniels. All rights reserved.

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