So, One More Tomorrow launched at the beginning of the week and wow!! It has been without a doubt the best launch I have ever done. Reviews have been coming in, and sales are steadily growing day by day. It is always such a pleasure to share a book with the world and to get a good response in return, so thank you all so much for your love and support with this project.
I thought it might be nice to share the first chapter with you here for those who are on the fence about picking it up. Right now you can get the book on kindle, and I’m in the process of organising the paperback as we speak. I’ll leave the links at the bottom of the page.
Roxanne Bowen never wanted to have a baby. Until she realised she couldn’t. Now it’s all she can think of. She had everything she could ever want, the fulfilling career, the doting husband, but now he can’t stand to touch her and her perfect life is falling to pieces.
After five miscarriages her whole existence revolves around just one dream – holding her child in her arms. But Lucas has reached his limit. He won’t see her kill herself for a wish that can’t come true.
Roxy is determined to keep fighting until she can call herself a mother, but when she’s dealt a devastating blow, she learns that some things are out of her control.
Will she get the family she so desperately craves, or will she lose everything that matters to her?
I can’t remember a time in my childhood when I ever dreamed of being a mother. Whilst my sisters were cooing over their Tiny Tears dolls, rocking their chubby plastic bodies and jamming magic milk bottles into their oddly triangular mouths, I was in the garden digging a hole to Australia, or climbing up the tall oak tree to launch my teddy from the topmost branches, testing out the latest parachute I’d invented out of a paper napkin and a tangled ball of my mother’s wool. I was reading about how planets are formed, or making clay sculptures – which I was sure would make me a famous artist. I was busy, and curious and relentless in my thirst for knowledge. Babies did not interest me in the slightest.
Susie next door had one, a dribbly, demanding six month old brother called Davey – runny gravy, I called him behind her back – who I heard squealing and crying through the thin walls of our terraced house every morning before the sun was even up. I would roll over, huffing and grimacing, pulling my pillow hard over my ears as I tried to block out his piercing intrusions. Babies did not let people sleep, I’d deduced from these frequent unwelcome awakenings.
Susie was a typically proud big sister. She would grin indulgently as he knocked over her carefully constructed tower of bricks, not caring that he was rudely interrupting our game, dragging us out of our imagined world of pirates, magic and adventure to wave a chewed rusk in her face. I hated him.
As I lay in my huge, grown up sized bed now with the pre-dawn haze filtering through the sheer blue curtains, Lucas’s warm strong back pressed up against my side as he slept, I wondered if that was why I was being punished. If I had brought on my own misery through some sort of wicked karma. My disdain, or at least my disinterest in babies had carried on right up until I turned twenty-eight. I’d managed to come through school, university, marry Lucas and get a job teaching anthropology – a subject I adored – without ever considering the possibility of motherhood. Lucas had been surprised at my certainty that children were not to be on the cards, but he was willing to box up that dream if it meant keeping me. Everything had been just as it should have been. Life was ticking by, following my carefully crafted plan. Everything was perfect. Until my twenty-eighth birthday.
There had been too much vodka for both of us. Laughter, fumbling in the dark, wrapped together in a tangle of limbs and lust. A torn condom that went unnoticed until it was too late. A shared glance of panic and bewilderment in the morning that followed. And then, though I held on to my sense of normal, my orderly, controlled reality, though I grasped onto it with all my might, there was nothing I could do to take back that night. In a few moments of reckless passion everything had changed.
Suddenly, those doors which had been bolted shut, the lock rusted and unmoving, had been burst open with an explosion that shattered them into tiny little splinters. We had done something that could not be undone, and all at once a whole new path lay before us, shining with possibility. And for no reason I could fathom, without reason or logic, I just knew, I knew that I had to follow it. As soon as I realised a heart beat other than my own was fluttering inside my womb, depending on me for it’s very existence, I knew. I was going to be a mother. I wanted it more intently than I had ever wanted anything. I felt fierce and strong and primal. This was what I was meant to do, I knew it.
Except it wasn’t.
Eleven weeks. Eleven precious, wonderful weeks. That’s how long I managed to keep him alive. Don’t ask me how, but I knew it was a boy. My son. Eleven weeks he grew and developed and changed me in ways that could never be erased. And then, in a wave of crippling cramps and clotted blood, he was gone. My son. My angel.
After he left me, I found I was no longer complete. I was not the person I had been before, I was something new, something empty and lost. I couldn’t go back now that I had seen what could be. I couldn’t forget how it had felt to be a mother, to be needed so deeply, to love so hard. I couldn’t undo it.
Lucas stirred beside me and I glanced through tear fogged eyes at the small silver clock on the bedside cabinet. It had been my mother’s and hers before that, and every time I looked at it I remembered with vivid clarity how it had felt to wake up in her big bed as a small child, her tanned arm slung loosely over my torso, the shining silver clock ticking quietly beside us.
She would wake groggy and grumpy, and I would have to cajole her into the day, convince her it really was morning time, though she would groan and refuse to open her eyes. “Just five more minutes, my darling. It’s still dark,” she would moan from under the covers. I would huff and sigh and fidget impatiently beside her as she ignored me, trying to get a few more precious moments of rest. Then, as if a switch had been flicked on, she would suddenly be ready, throwing the blankets to the ground and grabbing me tight, pulling me in for a hug and kissing me all over my face. I would squeal and try to get away, though really I loved it. She would jump out of bed singing at the top of her voice, her grumpiness forgotten and buried, at least until the next morning. The clock filled me with nostalgia and sadness, yet I refused to part with it. Painful though they were, the memories of my mother were all I had left. They were better than nothing at all.
Lucas stirred again. I wiped my swollen eyes against the pillowcase, though I knew he would know right away that I’d been crying for hours. That my night had been filled with the endless pacing and wicked nightmares I was fast becoming used to. He always wanted to talk, to get me to tell him every little detail of what was upsetting me. To share the horror of the nightmares, the stories I told myself in the dark quiet hours. It was pointless. He knew that as well as I did, but he kept on trying, pushing, wanting to be there for me, to fix everything. But I couldn’t be fixed. He knew that too.
Sometimes Lucas would wake in those dark, lonely hours, despite my tooth-marked fist, my swallowed, muffled sobs. When he found me in such a state, he would look at me with those big brown eyes glistening in the moonlight with tears he wouldn’t shed, his mouth pursed in indecision and sadness. He would take me in his arms and hold me tight until I pretended to fall back to sleep. His comfort never helped. I didn’t deserve it. I wanted to suffer alone. I didn’t want to see the look of anguish in his eyes.
On this occasion though, I had managed to get a hold of myself before he woke. He would know I’d been crying again, of course. He could always tell. But I wouldn’t flaunt it. I never did. Perhaps this morning we could pretend it hadn’t happened. I didn’t have it in me to talk about it again. At least not yet.
I felt the feather-light touch of his fingertips as they grazed their way through my hair, making their way down my spine. I shivered, instinctively leaning into the security of his warmth. “Good morning,” he said, his throat raspy with the after effects of sleep as he nuzzled into my neck.
“Good morning yourself,” I replied, my voice falsely bright as I turned to face my husband. He pursed his full lips into a scowl as he caught sight of my puffy eyes and blotchy cheeks, his thick, dark brows furrowing. Even so, I thought, he was still indisputably good looking. His cheekbones were defined and strong. His eyelashes thick, his eyes a pool of rich chocolate. And under the thin sheets, I could make out the defined muscles of his chest and shoulders.
He was a big man at six and a half feet tall. Being only five feet and two measly inches myself, I had always liked that about him. I used to love it when he wrapped me in those massive arms, and made me feel like nothing could hurt me. These days, though, even he couldn’t protect me from my pain.
“Rox…” he began, his voice deep and serious. I shook my head.
“Don’t Lucas. Don’t. Not today.” He twisted his lips again and gave me a long, stern look. Indecision flickered in his eyes. He gave a quick nod and pulled me wordlessly into his chest. I felt myself tense against him as he kissed the top of my head and sighed. Fearing his kindness would only make me start sobbing all over again, I cleared my throat and pulled away, hopping out of bed without meeting his eyes. I could feel his stare burning into my back. I wrapped my cotton dressing gown around my shivering body, pulling my thick dark hair out from under the collar as I headed for the bathroom. “Don’t forget, we’ve got my sisters coming over for lunch today,” I told him over my shoulder.
“As if I would forget a visit from the Cormack family,” Lucas said, smiling, though it didn’t meet his eyes. I paused by the bedroom door, looking at a framed photograph on the wall of my family from last summer. It made me smile every time I saw it, though I never failed to notice the empty space where my mother should have been. My younger sisters, Isabel and Bonnie were identical twins, yet their personalities could not have been more different. Isabel was introverted, sweet, and bordering on genius. We’d expected her to become a physicist, a computer programmer, an entrepreneur, or something equally brilliant and fitting to her intelligence. Yet, she’d surprised us all by choosing to go into social work. She’d actually turned down several promotions because they meant moving away from the personal, one on one duties with the families and children she worked with, to go and push papers around an office instead. Isabel had explained that no pay rise in the world would be enough to pull her away from the people who needed her most. I suspected she thrived on the drama and excitement. Isabel was at her absolute best in a crisis. She was down to earth despite her brilliance, and barely a day went by without us seeing one another.
Bonnie had a polar opposite character to Isabel. Her personality was nothing short of extreme. She was loud, flakey and possibly the most honest person I had ever known. She would say whatever she thought, no matter the consequences. Lucas had once told her she had no filter, to which she’d told him filters were for shifty people and at least he knew what she really thought of him. Thankfully, I had been informed, she liked him. A couple of her exes had not got off nearly so lightly. Though she could be wild and unpredictable, Bonnie was also the most empathetic person I had ever known. She could see right through pretence, right to the source of the pain. A skill she used often, and which proved more than a little annoying when I was trying to pretend I was fine, thank you very much!
As sisters, and as friends we were as close as it gets. Our father had passed away from cancer when the twins were just two. I had been four. And then, we had lost our mother fourteen years later. Now it was just the three of us left from our little family, and the losses had created an unbreakable bond between us. I turned from the photograph, facing Lucas now, and gave him a genuine smile, not the false happy mask I had been pasting on all week. “I know you would never forget,” I said. “Thank you.” He nodded as he watched me pick up my wash-bag and walk into the bathroom. I could feel his pitying stare burning into my back.
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