It’s the final day of the blog tour for the second instalment of Jane Lythell’s StoryWorld series, Behind Her Back and I’m closing it down with an awesome extract.
First, here’s the blurb …
Head of Zeus (10 Aug. 2017)
In a TV station run by men, how do the women make themselves heard?
Liz Lyon is a television producer at StoryWorld, the UK’s favourite morning show. Her job is stressful and demanding, but she is determined to show her teenage daughter that women can succeed.
Then a new female colleague joins the station. In this predatory climate of toxic masculinity Liz and Lori should be helping each other. But when Lori starts secretly building her power base with the bosses, Liz is desperate to know what’s going on behind her back…
Here’s the extract …
Saturday, 11 a.m.
Douglas had told me he was going to an away match with his son Stewart. I’ve taken to checking Norwich City Football Club fixtures and results, which I know is stalkerish of me but there you go. It was a bright blowy autumn day with clouds scudding across the sky. I’d already cleared the backlog of washing, deadheaded the flowers, restaked my tomato plant and swept our garden. I was itching to get out and do something nice with Flo, to heal our horrible breach. Maybe I could suggest we go out with Rosie.
Teenagers seem able to sleep the sleep of the dead till lunchtime. I took in mugs of tea for them and they sat up.
Flo’s face was puffy from sleep and her hair mussed up.
‘Thank you,’ Rosie said.
‘Did either of you hear me last night?’
‘No, nothing,’ Rosie said.
‘Mr Crooks brought in a full-grown frog. It made the most awful shriek, almost human-sounding.’
‘Did he kill him?’ It was Rosie again. Flo was sipping her tea and looking at me over the top of her mug.
‘No, I managed to get it out in one piece.’
‘He’s Hunter Cat,’ Flo said proudly to Rosie.
‘I was thinking let’s do something today. We could go to Regent’s Park and hire a boat again. And you’d be so welcome to come, Rosie.’
‘Thanks, but I’ve got to go. Mum has plans,’ she said.
‘A rowing boat, not one of those silly pedalo things,’ Flo said.
Boating Lake, Regent’s Park
I rowed us away from the boathouse, the water dripping off the oars. We watched a mallard dip, his rear sticking up as he tugged at something below the water.
‘What do ducks eat?’
‘All kinds of things; snails, worms, even small fish and fish eggs,’ Flo said.
‘I thought they lived on weeds and algae,’ I said.
‘They eat that too. They have to forage all the time to get enough.’
Flo knows a lot about birds and animals. It’s a major area of interest with her and I think in time she may study zoology.
‘Do you want a turn on the oars?’
We swapped places and she rowed us round the lake. I felt a fragile peace growing between us. She went near the edge where a tree leaned its branches into the water and the leaves made their own little current. She rested the oars and we sat looking at the eddies in the water. There was a distant rumble from the traffic like a low bass accompaniment. A pair of swans glided past our boat.
‘Is it serious with that man?’ she said.
It was a sudden change of topic but we needed to talk about Douglas.
‘We’ve been on a few dates. It’s early days.’
‘But you had sex with him?’
‘Yes, I did. I like him a lot.’
‘Are you going to have a baby with him?’
‘Oh, darling, whatever made you think that?’
‘When he calls you your face goes all moony,’ she said.
She pulled a silly face and I laughed.
‘No babies planned at present.’
‘Good! There’s this girl at school and she went to fourth base and she may have got herself pregnant but she refuses to do a test.’
‘Poor kid, she’s probably frightened.’
‘You should hear the things the boys are calling her,’ Flo said.
This must be the girl I had heard Flo talking about with a friend.
‘I hate that. There are such double standards, aren’t there? I mean, when I was your age a girl who had a few partners was called a slut or a slag but if a boy had several partners he was a bit of a lad and was sowing his oats.’
‘It’s rank. But she’s been an idiot, Mum. She should have known they would do that.’
‘She may have been mad about the boy. I bet she’s feeling very alone now. I think you should give her some support,’ I said.
Later, I treated her to ice cream. She wanted three flavours and sprinkles on top and I think she has forgiven me for the fashion shoot.
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