Sunday, 23 August 2020

Book Blog Tour Stop Spotlight with an Extract: The Two Lives Of Maddie Meadows by Sharley Scott

The Two Lives Of Maddie Meadows by Sharley Scott

Maddie Meadows adores her family and loves her work. But she has good reason to keep them separate.

For single mum Maddie, home is a flat on a run-down estate. And family consists of an excitable toddler, a lonely Dad and a younger brother mired in a love triangle.

Meanwhile, professional Madeleine balances a tricky day job, made worse by a jealous colleague. No one at work knows about her other life, and she needs to keep it this way: one of the bosses has made his feelings very clear about single parents and the people on her estate.

Thank goodness for her fun-loving and loyal friends - although Maddie wishes they’d believe her when she insists she has no time for love. Or so she tells herself as she fights to quell her hidden feelings for her gorgeous colleague, Oliver, who comes from the posh part of town.

When her friends line up their ideal man for her – Sean, more beanstalk than Bean – Maddie wishes she’d told them the truth. It’s hard enough juggling two lives. But, with all the added complications, how long will be it be before Maddie’s carefully created world comes crashing down?

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Maddie Meadows fancies Oliver, a colleague from work, but has been coerced into making up a foursome with her friend Leah, her new boyfriend and his friend, Sean, who is more beanstalk than Bean. With money being tight, Maddie is worried about the price of the meal but she has other concerns too. Not only is she shocked to find the restaurant is much pricier than she had expected – not the typical all-you-can-eat Chinese she had anticipated – but she is worried about Leah’s plans for Maddie and Sean.
I tried to push away anxious thoughts about how I would afford it, especially when we finished our soup and my favourite, duck pancakes, appeared. It took all my willpower to not steal an additional wrap, on the basis that I hadn’t noticed it stuck to another one, but I let honesty win and asked who hadn’t had their second pancake yet.
Me,” Sean said. “But you can have it. If I could become anything right now, I’d ask to be a duck wrap. Look at the lust in your eyes.”
I couldn’t deny it. With that, he became my favourite person on the table and – by the look on her face – Leah’s least favourite. She glanced across at Paul, who stuffed his second wrap into his mouth so his cheeks bulged.
Leah’s expression of distaste transformed into a sickly smile and she patted Sean’s hand. “Well, you’ve already worked out the way to her heart. Cupboard love.”
I fired her an angry glance. Don’t use that four-letter word here! But then I realised that I couldn’t have it both ways. Accepting Sean’s pancake might be a tiny notch upwards on his ladder of expectation – and I don’t mean sex, just plain old dating – but I didn’t want to lead him on.
No, honestly. You have it,” I said. “I’m saving myself for the main.”
I’ll have it if you’re not hungry,” Leah said.
Sean shrugged. “Be my guest.”
I had a feeling that neither he or I were happy with this outcome. As the waiter removed our plates, Leah told a story I’d heard before about a job she’d once had in a restaurant. I found myself half-listening and people-watching. I didn’t recognise anyone here from work or the public meetings I’d attended.
A man at the neighbouring table placed his menu at the edge of his table but misjudged it and it clattered to the floor beside my feet. As I lifted it to hand back to him, I noticed the set menu we’d chosen. And the price. Seriously? Thirty pounds a head. That was before drinks were added on.
A quick tally told me the bill would be forty-five pounds each, most likely more. Although Leah had paid for the drinks in the pub, I hadn’t banked on this. I’d spent the little I’d saved on the Easter break with Josh, and tonight would bust a hole in my bank balance. He needed new shoes more than I needed posh food. Why hadn’t I told Leah that we couldn’t go anywhere too expensive? The all-you-could-eat in town was half the price of this. As the waiter placed our dishes in front of us, the duck pancakes congealed in my stomach. We couldn’t possibly eat all this food.
My companions tucked in, digging their serving spoons into mounds of rice and strips of meat. Candlelight reflected on my glass, the flame brightening the bubbles. Mesmerised, I watched them spinning to the surface like a soothing lava lamp until Sean broke in, giving me the line I’d expected to hear earlier.
Penny for them.”
Right now, I could do with more than a few quid for them. Then I shrugged to myself. Eating less wouldn’t reduce the bill, so I might as well enjoy it. Smiling at him, I reached for my glass to take a sip while I waited for the others to finish serving themselves, but I clipped the edge with my fingers. As if in slow motion, the glass tumbled forward, evading my desperate grasp, before toppling onto the lemon chicken dish, soaking it – and the table – with Prosecco. The glass hadn’t smashed, but that was all I could be thankful for. Moments earlier I’d been worrying about the cost of all this food, and now I’d just ruined it.
Oh!” I lifted the empty glass from the dish, its side smeared with sauce. “What have I done? I’m so sorry.”
Leah’s lips were poised in an ‘o’ of surprise, her hands clasped to her cheeks, while a hush had fallen over the restaurant. All eyes focused on us. Or me, to be precise. If I’d felt as if we’d been sitting on view before, now I might as well have created my own circus ring, with me starring as the clown. My face burned brighter than the crimson lanterns above.
Sean grinned. “You’re brilliant. How did you guess?”
Ignoring the waiting staff who scurried over to dab our table dry, he stretched over to take the Prosecco-ed chicken dish and heaped a pile on his plate.
He must have caught sight of my stunned expression, as he chuckled. “I just love coq au vin.”

Sharley Scott is the author of the 'Devon Seaside Guesthouse' novels - Bedlam & Breakfast and B&Bers Behaving Madly.
Her latest book 'The Two Lives of Maddie Meadows' is being published in early July 2020. The second in the series 'The Gift of a Rose' will be available in the autumn.
Sharley is a guesthouse owner in South Devon. She is thankful to have been blessed with lots of amazing and kind-hearted guests, who are nothing like some of the characters featured in the Devon Seaside Guesthouse series.
The Two Lives of Maddie Meadows is a fictional account, but Sharley has never forgotten how interesting life can be with a toddler. Some of the mischief Josh gets up to will be familiar to all parents. Sharley has carried out the threats she made to her son decades ago and now embarrasses him by telling tales to his girlfriend, although he gets her back by recounting stories about his mum.

Sharley can be found on Facebook at:
Or follow Sharley on Twitter: @SharleyScott