When I read the blurb for Pink Ice Creams, I was disappointed to realise that I wouldn’t have time to read it in time to review it on the blog tour, so you can imagine how happy I was when Jo Woolaston kindly provided me with an extract from the book to share with you all. Many thanks to Jo, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.
Intent on fixing her broken marriage and the alcohol-fuelled catastrophe that is her life, Kay Harris arrives at her grim and grey holiday let, ready to lay to rest the tragedy that has governed her entire adulthood – the disappearance of her little brother, Adam.
But the road to recovery is pitted with the pot-holes of her own poor choices, and it isn’t long before Kay is forced to accept that maybe she doesn’t deserve the retribution she seeks. Will the intervention of strangers help her find the answers she needs to move on from her past, or will she always be stuck on the hard shoulder with no clear view ahead and a glove box full of empties?
Pink Ice Creams is a tale of loss, self-destruction, and clinging on to the scraps of the long-lost when everyone else has given up hope.
Kay’s excessive drinking brings its own set of problems – memory loss and drunken encounters with strangers who she must then try to extricate herself from. But not all strangers remain so. Pete is not exactly the catch of the century but, if she lets him into her ordinarily closed world, perhaps he could be the diversion that leads her away from it for the better, who knows. But for now, he is just a pair of unfamiliar feet sticking out of the end of her bed…
So do the feet belong to Sanctimonious Sean or Brother Bollock-Head? Maybe neither, there was that toothless old geezer who drew a cartoon of my arse on the bar with spittle and a split finger nail.
‘Not seen you around these parts.’
‘Is that the same as ‘do you come here often’?’
‘On your holidays are ya?’
‘Yes, but not looking for romance.’
‘No thanks. And my arse is not that big.’
‘Well, a peanut here and a peanut there and you’ve got yourself a cracking pair of tits.’
People with so few teeth shouldn’t eat peanuts, I can barely read the answers on his quiz sheet under the debris. Quito, whatever that is. Question nine.
I knew Beachy Head was in Sussex not Dorset, and I would have said something but felt such an idiot after saying Di Caprio when I meant Da Vinci so whoever is in my bed I haven’t exactly lured here with my sparkling intellect. I need a plan. If I sneak out of bed and go out, he might get up and leave, avoiding any morning after awkwardness. But then if I move he might wake up. How old are his feet? They’re a bit manky but the toe-nails aren’t yellow and curled up, just a bit unkempt. If I stay still and pretend to be asleep then when he wakes up he can sneak out. But what if he’s pretending to be asleep and waiting for me to sneak out of bed and go out, so that he can get up and leave? Bloody hell Kay, just get up
There, he didn’t even move a muscle, where are my clothes? Quiet, quiet… Eeeeee… sssshhh ssh, ow ow ow, what a stupid place to put a radiator! Same toe as yesterday too, no wonder it hurts, the nail is split right down the middle.
Whoever he is he’s a heavy sleeper, that clang was loud enough to wake the dead. Is he breathing? My God, is he alive? Waking up with a stranger is one thing but waking up with a corpse is another thing entirely, what was that? Oh thank God, thank God! He farted, hallelujah! Jesus, oh for heaven’s sake get out of the bedroom quick, that is quite ripe. Stale ale.
Oh no, he’s the conversational type.
“Got any Marmite?”
“Bacon? My mouth tastes like a sewer, that landlord ain’t cleaned his pipes for years.”
But you just have, and in my bed you stinky-arsed cretin.
“Pete. The other Bollock-Head. The handsome one.”
“Oh I know. I know all about you, Jesus, I got your life story last night, over and over and over again.”
What was I worried about? No awkwardness here. Just simple, polite conversation taking place amidst the rancid stench-fog of a complete stranger’s innards.
“Well if a bacon butty is off the cards you can just make us a cuppa.”
“No I won’t. I’m sorry, but… I’d like you to leave.”
“Charmin’! You wouldn’t have got home if it wasn’t for me. I only stayed to make sure you didn’t choke on your own vomit, which incidentally is all down my Sunday best. My soaking wet Sunday best from jumping in the brook to save your bloody mobile phone.”
“You should have slept in the bunk room.”
“I’m not six! I was tired and I was pissed, it was the best option available even if it did mean sleeping next to a jabbering crackpot. And I may be neither Leonardo Di Caprio nor Da Vinci, but I can assure you I wouldn’t offer you a walk home again for all the thanks I get.”
He is clearly more adept at manoeuvring around a tight space than me, and is clothed and taking his leave far quicker than I thought imaginable.
“I’m sorry… about the Marmite.”
“Lost my appetite, you don’t get much ventilation in these places, eh? Fuckin’ reeks in here.”
I follow him to the door, all thanks and sorrys and questions about what may or may not have occurred between us sticking in my throat. The sooner he goes the better. I can put this out of my mind, whatever this was. He hesitates at the door. No, please, just go. GO!
“We didn’t… you know”
“Me and you. There was none of… that.”
“Oh thank God!”
“Steady on, I’m not that bad!”
“I didn’t mean it like that. I’m married. Happily married.”
“What do you mean, ‘Ha’?”
“He’s left ya, or if he hasn’t – he will.”
“We had a row, but it’s just temporary.”
“You reckon? After what you’ve done I wouldn’t go near you with a barge pole.”
Hopefully that little snippet has sparked your interest as much as it has mine. If it has you can order your copy of the book here:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jo Woolaston lives in Leicestershire, England with her extreme noise-making husband and two lovely sons. She tries to avoid housework and getting a ‘proper job’ by just writing stuff instead – silly verse, screenplays, shopping lists…
This sometimes works in her favour (she did well in her MA in TV Scriptwriting, gaining a Best Student award in Media and Journalism – and has had a few plays produced – that kind of thing) but mostly it just results in chronic insomnia and desperate tears of frustration. Pink Ice Creams is her first novel, she hopes you liked it.
To find out more about Pink Ice Creams, why not head over to the other blogs taking part in the tour.