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Mel leaned forward and put a hand on his arm. He sat back, shaking his head. Instinctively, I moved in front of William to block his view. My first thought was to go over and check Mel was OK, but not with our son in tow. Mel was gesturing with her hands now, Ben staring at her, frowning, shaking his head.

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We got the elevator back down to the parking lot level and returned to my car. Mel's number was at the top of the favorites list on my cell phone. It went straight to voice mail. Please do leave a message, and I promise I'll get back to you as soon as poss. Give me a call when you get this? Just wanted to make sure you're OK Call me. I sat five minutes more, starting to feel slightly foolish. I was supposed to be at home by now, running my son's bath. Drinking a nice glass of red. Thinking about making a start on tonight's marking. But instead I was here, in an underground parking lot just off the North Circular, trying to work out what the hell was going on upstairs.

I wanted to check on her but didn't want to leave William. My suit shirt felt grimy and claustrophobic, a bead of sweat tracing a path down my rib cage. So what's the plan, Stan? What if Mel isn't OK? What's up with Ben? How long are you going to sit here with one bar of cell phone reception, waiting and wondering? I opened up the Angry Birds app on my iPad and passed it back to William, flicked on the radio for my own distraction. Five Live was running a piece about dating websites, featuring a series of quick interviews with women describing what they were looking for in their perfect mate.

Expectations seemed to be pretty high. Their ideal man had to be at least six feet tall, in possession of a good sense of humor, a nice smile, and a six-pack.

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He had to be strong but not macho. Sensitive but good at DIY. Confident but not full of himself. Make decent money at work but still be around to do his share at home. Mel's cell phone went straight to voice mail again. I buzzed the window down and rested my elbow on the sill, absently turning the black leather bracelet on my right wrist as the radio presenter chattered on. Mel had given me the bracelet as an anniversary present: leather for three years. Now a big one was approaching — ten years — and there were already a few ideas on my list for that one.

Ten was supposed to be tin, but someone had said you could substitute diamond jewelry for tin. That was good. My plan had always been to give her a bigger diamond than I could afford as an early-career teacher when we first got —. I smiled at my son in the rearview mirror as he played on the iPad. My son, the image of his mother. He was going to be a heartbreaker when he was older, that was for sure.

His mother's face, her coloring, her big brown eyes. And then there she was across the parking lot, walking quickly to her car: my pretty wife, dressed for tennis in her pink Adidas hoodie, blond ponytail tied up high. You stay here like a good boy, and I'll be right back. Then after a minute, you can see Mummy. You'll be able to see me, and I'll be able to see you. Cell phone still in my hand, I got out and locked the car with the remote. The underground air was flat and sour in my nostrils.

The VW pulled off sharply, Mel pulling her seat belt across her chest with one hand as she accelerated hard toward the exit ramp. She hadn't seen me. Threading my way between the parked cars, I almost tripped on a low concrete divider between the rows, stumbled, shouted again, my voice flat against the low concrete ceiling.

Her car disappeared up the exit ramp, and then she was gone, out into the Thursday night traffic. There was a soft chime from the elevator at the far end of the parking lot. The doors slid open, and Ben emerged, briefcase in hand, cigarette between his lips. He lit up and lifted his head to exhale, seeming to spot me out of the corner of his eye as he took his cell phone out of a jeans pocket.

He slowed, stared at me for a second, raised a hand half-heartedly as I walked over to him. He stood by his car, a pearl-white Porsche Cayenne with the number plate W1NNR, dressed in that casual-but-not-casual way you get when you spend a lot of money — designer jeans and tailored jacket. He looked at me like I was the last person he wanted to see, taking another drag on his cigarette.

How's it going, big fella? I had never been good at Awkward Guy Conversations.

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And Ben had never looked on me as an equal — more a bit of runner-up just another public- sector softie who wouldn't last five minutes in the dog-eat-dog world he inhabited. He almost flinched at the mention of her name, but caught himself. Instead, he just shook his head, dark eyes shifting toward his car. It was weird seeing him like this — evasive, reluctant, almost shifty — compared to his usual alpha-male demeanor. At the one and only poker game I had played at his house, he had regaled the table with a story about a former employee of his company who had quit to set up on his own, in competition with him.

Ben had felt betrayed — so he had made it his personal mission to trash the guy's reputation in the industry, warning potential customers off, until the former employee's new company went bankrupt and he lost his house in the process. Ben had related the story with a trace of pride in a rival destroyed, an air of screw with the bull and you get the horns. It was the kind of guy he was. You didn't want to get on the wrong side of him. It looked like serious stuff. My tie suddenly felt too tight in my collar. He made to move past me, and I instinctively put a hand on his arm.

He whirled on me and grabbed two handfuls of my shirt, slamming me against the side of his SUV. He was surprisingly strong for his size, and his anger caught me off guard. Cigarette breath close in my face. You have no idea! Bloody classic underachiever, that's all you are, all you've ever been. He had anger, but I had size. At six foot two, I was six inches taller than he was. And at least forty pounds heavier. With that, he pulled me forward so he could slam me back against the big Porsche again, and pain surged at the base of my skull.

My hands bunched into fists, but some long-lost playground code said I couldn't hit someone smaller, shorter, lighter than I was. There was no way it could be a fair fight.


Instead, I grabbed his hands and prized them away from my shirt, giving him a little shove to put some space between us. Hemmed in between two parked cars, he couldn't get his arms out to break his fall. There was a heavy wet smack as his head hit the concrete.

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See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. What if your whole life was based on LIES? Logan lives in Nottinghamshire. LIES is Logan's first novel. William continued calling out cars. Mummy car. Look, Daddy. It does look like Mummy's car.

KK59 DWD. Doing work things. Honking from the car behind me as the traffic lights turned green. It was almost Friday, after all. Made a spur-of-the-moment decision that would change my life. I hit Like below her comment. A sign on a concrete pillar read: Parking lot for use by patrons of Premier Inn only. Let's go upstairs and find her. There's an elevator. Let's find her.

Hey, there. Something was wrong with this situation. This is not something William should see.

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Let's go back downstairs. We'll be close by. I hung up, redialed. Voice mail again. This time I left a message. There wasn't a plan. I wasn't going to do anything, just sit there and wait. Surprise my wife. I didn't have a plan. It just happened. It was exhausting just keeping track of it all. My plan had always been to give her a bigger diamond than I could afford as an early-career teacher when we first got — "Daddy?

We'll see. Parents' code for I won't mention it again, wait for you to forget. She had her head down, a frown on her face. Looks like she's about to cry. I was suddenly glad we'd made this detour. Mel's VW was reversing out fast. Two lines of parked cars between me and her. I waved. He had seen me, I was sure of it. He carried on walking as if he hadn't. There was a moment of silence, the smoke coiling lazily between us.

Really good. As the book goes forward so does their unique friendship now well on its way to something more than that. Harry now must face the hard decisions to reconcile a private life with her and his public passion to become a force in the world of literature. They are the most difficult of his life.

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Michael Burns was a writer throughout his professional career. He published his first work of fiction, Sunset House in Formats Softcover. Other Books By Author. Mallard Lake. The Transformation of Harry Logan. Book Details. Language : English.

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