Shannon is a young talented movie star celebrating the release of her new blockbuster. Jay is struggling to rebuild her life and hiding a dark secret. They meet and spend two nights together, forging a connection that neither can let go. With their lives heading in different directions, they agree not to stay in touch.
Ten years later, with their fortunes reversed, they meet again and neither has been able to forget the other. Will this time be different? Can they have a real chance at love? Or will Jay’s secret and a tragic event pull them apart again?
Today we get an inside look at where the story takes place. Ms. Darry gives us some fun facts about the place her fictional location is based off. It sounds like a lovely place I wouldn’t mind visiting. Read and enjoy!
Time is set in the fictional village of Topley. While the setting may be fictional I based it on a real place in Essex called Debden. When my grandmother was alive, I used to drive the longer route to visit her just so I could pass through it.
I’m pretty sure there are thousands of villages in Britain that could go toe to toe with Debden on the loveliness front, but none will ever worm their way into my heart like this one did. I guess a good looking village, like beauty in general, is in the eye of the beholder.
When I first began writing Time, I was hoping to set the story in Debden but it wasn’t to be. One of my main characters decided she was a hops farmer and despite my best research efforts, I could only find hops grown in the West Midlands or the South East (also beautiful parts of the country). Jay forced me into a compromise. I renamed my village and moved it to Sussex. Hopefully one day I’ll write a character who wants to live there as much as I want her to.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with a strange little story.
When I was at university I actually met a chap from Debden. We were studying in Wales (which is many miles from either Essex or London) and I found it quite a coincidence.
If you’re interested, I’ve included a link below to Debden’s website: http://debden.org/
Jesus, what I am I doing here? Jay spun around on her stool, and came face-to-face with a nervous dark-haired woman.
“Hi, I’m Claire.” Clearing her throat, Claire extended her hand and waited. Jay watched Claire’s hand as it hovered awkwardly between them before she dropped it limply to her side. Jay had no intention of shaking.
“My employer has asked me to come downstairs and invite you to join her for a drink.” Claire looked uncomfortable.
“What are you, her pimp? Who’s your employer?”
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you that. I’ll need you to sign a nondisclosure agreement first. My employer is a well-known celebrity.”
Claire’s voice was tinged with pride, despite the strange situation.
“You’re kidding?” Jay smiled humourlessly. “A nondisclosure agreement?”
“Yes—” Claire nodded. “—to prevent any negative press coming to light.”
“Listen, love.” She leaned forward on the stool, bringing her face close to the other woman and doing her best to be condescending. “I’m not interested, okay?”
Claire flinched. She obviously wasn’t used to being told no.
“Maybe you should think about it? My employer—”
“I’m not for sale. It doesn’t matter who’s paying. Understand?”
Something in her eyes must have convinced Claire. Nodding, she backed away and hurried off.
Jesus, a nondisclosure agreement? Time really does march on. She could remember when you bought someone a drink, made small talk for an hour, then went back to her place. Of course, she’d never had a celebrity want to shag her before. Jay wondered briefly who it might be. As if you would even know. It’s not like you’ve kept up to date with show business since you’ve been away. Even before, when other girls were poring over gossip magazines, she read books about gardening.
Before. That was how she thought of it now. There was before, when things had all looked bright and filled with promise, and now.
Now was something she didn’t really want to dwell on too much.
She nursed the beer for a few minutes longer, unsure why she didn’t just leave.
“Hey.” A soft American voice roused her from her thoughts. “Did you really call my assistant a pimp?”
The voice alone got her blood up. Husky and low, it had to be the sexiest voice she’d ever heard.
She turned slowly on her stool, taking in the woman before her. Long, wavy, golden-brown hair, and large grey eyes. Surprisingly, Jay knew who she was. Shannon Somebody—she couldn’t remember her last name. Jay raked her gaze over the woman’s body and lingered purposely on the full, creamy swell of breasts. Jesus, she is hot.
Shannon usually got pissed off when someone blatantly stared at her tits. She wasn’t sure why it didn’t bother her this time. Even from another woman, it should have. Maybe because the woman ogling her was the same woman who’d just turned her down.
“So, are you going to answer me, or just carrying on fucking me with your eyes?” Shannon asked as she slid onto the barstool beside the woman, pushing her tits out a little more. That’s right. Have a good look at what you just turned down.
When Claire had come back, flustered and embarrassed, and relayed her conversation with the hot barfly, Shannon hadn’t hesitated in marching downstairs. It wasn’t often she got turned down—in fact, she couldn’t remember it ever happening before.
Who the hell does she think she is? Calling my assistant a pimp? Shannon caught herself at the bottom of the stairs. The woman was still on her stool looking moodily around the room with a slight air of bored arrogance which, to her surprise, Shannon found appealing. She felt the familiar tingle between her legs and decided maybe this prey would be worth chasing.
“Drink?” the woman asked, ignoring Shannon’s eye-fucking comment with a half-smile on her full lips.
“Honey, my drink costs eighty pounds a glass,” Shannon replied. She leaned forward and offered another view of her chest. To the woman’s credit, this time her eyes didn’t leave Shannon’s face.
“Fuck that then. You can buy me drink.”
Shannon frowned. She didn’t know what to say because this never happened either. The woman broke into a smile, and it was like the clouds had parted—she looked even sexier when she smiled.
Shannon grinned in return.
Eden lives in London with her partner and their small, earless rescue cat. She runs her own business, and when she’s not working or writing, can usually be found rowing up and down the Thames.
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