BLURB: Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV. Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women. Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is… When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings. When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?’
Helen clapped her hands delightedly. ‘Oh Charlotte! Derry Cullinane? Don’t tell me you don’t know his by-line. I thought all you journalists knew each other.’
Charlotte looked bemused. ‘How do you know him?’
‘Well I always read his mid-week fashion feature. He’s a terrific writer…what?’
‘You read him, but you never read me?’
Helen smiled a little sheepishly. ‘Hey, nothing personal. Sport just doesn’t do it for me…’
‘Anyway, Fiona was obviously playing matchmaker,’ Charlotte continued, ‘but I’m not sure about him…’
‘What’s he like? His picture looks really hot! Oh God, please don’t tell me it’s airbrushed! Is he a troll? Oh wait, is he gay? He does write about fashion…’
Charlotte rolled her eyes. ‘That would make the matchmaking a bit pointless. No, he’s definitely not gay.’
‘So, what…three ex-wives? Does he still live with his mother?’
Charlotte bit her lip thoughtfully. ‘It’s nothing like that. We’re just very different. We have nothing in common.’
Helen nodded sagely. ‘No chemistry?’
‘Um well, no. I think there probably was.’
Helen started to laugh. ‘Charlotte, you’re blushing! Let me get this straight: the guy is gorgeous, available and you’ve got the hots for him.’
Charlotte shrugged. ‘It doesn’t matter. I don’t think I’m his type at all.’
‘So you turned him down?’ Helen looked disappointed.
‘He hasn’t even asked me out.’
Charlotte shook her head. ‘Not ever. He’s Saville Row. I’m Wrangler jeans. He wouldn’t be interested. One of the other women there said he has a new, stunner of a girlfriend every time she meets him.’
‘Yeah, you wouldn’t stand a chance,’ Helen teased.
‘Well seriously, why would he be interested? I spend half my life out on the side of some football pitch or racetrack…’
‘Charlotte Regan, you have an exciting job,’ Helen interrupted sternly.
‘…and in my down time I do the kind of stuff most men prefer to do with their mates. The most expensive thing Iown is a wetsuit. He complimented me on your dress, by the way, he actually recognised the designer! I’d no idea.’ Charlotte paused. ‘How have I reached twenty nine without owning one designer dress?’
‘But there was a spark?’ Helen said, as if Charlotte hadn’t spoken. Charlotte rolled her eyes again.
‘Maybe. So what? This guy won’t stray from his comfort zone: women as deep as their cosmetics!’
SHARON BLACK Biography.
SHARON Black grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University. She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner. She had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition. When she is not writing, she reads, walks and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction and good stand-up comedy. She lives in a coastal village in Dublin, with her husband and their three children.