Kez frowned and twirled a strand of hair round one finger.
“I feel as though I’ve forgotten something. Can’t think what it would be.”
Martin lowered the book he’d just opened and contemplated his wife over the top of his glasses.
“Of course you can’t. You’ve forgotten it, remember.” He returned his attention to the book, shaking loose papers from it onto his chest. “Someone’s forgotten they’ve left all this stuff in here.”
“Looks like library receipts,” said Kez, reaching over to snatch up the nearest. “Gosh! Who borrows nine books at once?”
Martin pretended to snatch it back, but Kez held it out of reach, reading out book titles at arm’s length.
“ ‘Old Filth’. There’s a title to conjure with. ‘Eros Defiled’, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, ‘Love in a Cold Climate’, ‘Nights in Rhodanthe.’ Whoever it is, she’s definitely reading to a theme. I suppose it’s a her. Oh damn!” She swung her legs out of bed, tossing the receipt to one side. “That’s what it is! Supposed to meet the White Knight for coffee this morning. Damn! Have to rush now. I’ll turn up looking a right mess.” She disappeared into the ensuite.
As usual, Martin smiled at his wife’s name for her friend, Barb. It was an apt nick name for a woman who affected an all-white wardrobe and a reputation for marrying lame ducks. He picked up the other pieces fallen from the book and unfolded the largest. It was an overdue book notification, complete with name and address.
“Hey, Kez,” he shouted against the noise of the shower. “Guess, what?”
Kez lowered her latte to its saucer and asked, “Read any interesting books lately, Barbie? Like…visited the library?”
“Silly. Book groups are your hobby. When do I have time to read? Real life is much more interesting.”
“Just wondering. Thought your ‘latest’ might like you to read aloud to him.”
“Not like you to be catty, Kez. He hasn’t had a great education, but I’m proud to be Mrs. Roger Black. He’s got charisma, and he’s willing, and with a bit of help from me he’ll turn his life around and make something of himself. He’s got real potential.”
“As a writer, that’s what!” Barb flicked her blonde mane and adjusted the lapel of her cashmere jacket. “Oh, Kez, he shuts himself in the study for hours, won’t let me interrupt. And then, at night, he reads it to me. He’s got talent, he really has.”
Kez wasn’t convinced, but Barb had once worked in the publishing world, and she used to be a reader, before she started collecting husbands. It’s possible she’d recognise a potential best seller.
“Well, I’d be happy to read the manuscript. Copy edit, too, if he wants,” she said, stroking a few ruffled feathers.
“Would you? That would be wonderful! Especially as I’ve got a publisher who’s agreed to look at it.”
“Yes.” Barb giggled. “At least one of my exes came up trumps.”
By the time his book hit the shelves Roger had moved on to join Barbie’s list of exes. Not only did he still have a library card in her name, he had signed a contract for further titles to be published under the pseudonym of B. Knight-Black.
“Barb should have him for identity theft,” said Martin.
“Yep. Right after Bernard sues him for plagiarism, I reckon,” said Kez.