Let's Meet on Platform 8

Let's Meet on Platform 8

3.2 9
by Carole Matthews

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After knocking her down while rushing to catch the 6:07 from London, Jamie Duncan bandages Teri Carter's knee, buys her new stockings, seats her on the train with her foot in his lap and taxis her home from the station. Who says chivalry is dead?

Not only is Jamie a romantic hero—tall, dark, with greeny-gold eyes and a Scottish burr—he's witty,


After knocking her down while rushing to catch the 6:07 from London, Jamie Duncan bandages Teri Carter's knee, buys her new stockings, seats her on the train with her foot in his lap and taxis her home from the station. Who says chivalry is dead?

Not only is Jamie a romantic hero—tall, dark, with greeny-gold eyes and a Scottish burr—he's witty, charming and eager to share their daily commute. Suddenly Teri's life is Brief Encounter meets Wuthering Heights. But then she discovers Mr. Right is also Mr. Married. Jamie's not the type to cheat, and Teri doesn't want him to…or does she? After dating Mr. Lazy, Mr. Greedy, Mr. Completely Selfish and Mr. Downright Perverted, can she renounce Mr. Perfect?

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". . .a bestselling Brit with a great sense of fun."(Kirkus Reviews);

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Chapter 1

It was the hole in her pantyhose that made Teri start crying. She looked at them in desperation, as sheer as they were. They were black with added Lycra 'For Working Legs', and she'd paid £7.99 for them. Seven whole pounds and ninety-nine pence for one pair of pantyhose -- and now look at them! Perhaps they would have lasted longer if she'd bought the ones for nonworking legs.

Her knee was scraped, and bright scarlet blood was oozing through the grey, grit-encrusted skin. She hadn't had a scabby knee since she was ten, when she'd fallen off the swings in the local playground in the unenlightened days before the Council used knee-friendly landing areas. To help matters along, her briefcase -- exacting some minuscule revenge, as only briefcases can -- had decided to shed its contents, and her papers blew along the platform in the frantic funnelled breeze from departing trans -- including hers.

'Oh,hell. I'm really sorry. Here, let me help you.' His voice was like being stroked with velvet. Okay, so it was a very romantic-novel type of thing to think in the circumstances. But it was true. The voice was soft and soothing and held the faint trace of a quiet, reassuring Scottish burr whose corners had been knocked off by too many years spent far from home. He looked sort of romantic hero-ish, too. Probably tall, though it was hard to tell, as he was crouched over her briefcase carefully gathering its contents to his chest, while the last breathless stragglers hoping vainly to catch the 18.07 for all stations to Milton Keynes pushed heedlessly past them.

'I was rushing to catch the train,' he explained. 'I just didn't see you. I'm sorry.'

'Damn,' Teri said, fishing in her pocket for a tissue. There was one lurking in the corner, but she could tell by its disconcertingly crispy feel that it was far too disgusting to pull out in public. 'I'd gathered that.'

'I feel terrible.' He put her papers inside her briefcase and clipped it shut. 'But probably not quite as terrible as you,' he added hastily.

'You'll miss your train.' She sniffed and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. Although he had stooped to her level, she looked up at him. There was definite eye contact. Lots of it. His eyes were greeny-gold and bordered with dark brown rims -- as if someone had carefully and lovingly outlined them with a brown felt-tip pen to make the whites look washday-white. They were soft and warm, and she could tell he laughed often. At the moment, they positively oozed concern. Either he was genuinely mortified or he was the leading light in his local amateur dramatics group.

'It's already gone.' He produced a clean white handkerchief from inside his coat with the air of an accomplished magician.' It stopped at every station anyway. It would have taken ages to get home. Here.'

Teri took the handkerchief reluctantly. She had no idea that men under fifty carried handkerchiefs anymore. It was the equivalent of wearing a string vest on chilly mornings or socks with garters or, even worse, those metal armbands that held shirtsleeves up that were otherwise too long. This hanky looked far too clean to wipe dirty things with. Hesitantly, she dried her eyes.

'Now fold it over and do your knee,' he instructed.

She looked at him to check that he was serious.

'Go on,' he urged.

It was a long time since she had been treated like a four-year-old -- probably not since she was four, in fact. And it was even more mind-boggling that, for the moment, she didn't resent it.

Teri dabbed gingerly at the blood and grit, totally ruining the immaculate white linen. She winced. 'Ouch.'

He frowned. 'I think you need to get that properly cleaned up.' He offered her his arm. 'Here,let me help you to your feet.'

He slipped his arm under hers and lifted her easily to her feet. Teri's knees buckled. 'I think I've sprained my ankle!' The tears sprang afresh to her eyes. 'That's just about a perfect sodding end to a perfect sodding day.'

'Let me have a look.' She hopped round on her good leg, holding on to his shoulder while he examined her ankle. 'No bones broken, but I think your diagnosis is right. Looks like you've twisted it.'

'Are you an expert then?'

He stood up and rubbed his hands together. 'No, but I've watched Match of the Day often enough to know when a footballer is really hurt or when they'll be running around the pitch the next minute as if nothing's happened,' he replied earnestly.

He straightened up and raked his fingers through his hair. It's amazing the details you notice when you're in pain, Teri thought. His hair was dark and wavy, slightly flecked with grey. Mid- to late-thirties, she guessed. It was receding slightly at the sides, giving a hint of the baldness that would rob him of his youthful looks later in life. But then, nobody was perfect. She should know. She'd dated more men than she'd had low-calorie, low-fat dinners and still hadn't found Mr Right. She'd been through all of the other Mr Men though, in a short history of painful relationships -- Mr Lazy, Mr Greedy, Mr Bump, Mr Completely Selfish, Mr Looking-For-Mother-Substitute and Mr Downright Pervert -- but, as yet, no Mr Right.

'If I put my arm round you, could you manage to hop to the public loos? They're not far -- just at the end of the station.'

It was possibly the most original chat-up line she'd heard recently -- if indeed that was what he was trying to do. Surely there were easier ways to hit on women?

'Can you manage this?' He passed her handbag to her and gripped her briefcase in the same hand as he held his own.

Teri nodded and hung on to him.

'It would help if you could just relax your grip a bit,' he said breathlessly, as he shifted her weight to his shoulder. 'I've nothing against blue, but I'd rather my face wasn't that colour just at the moment, thanks. Otherwise, we might not make it to the ladies' loos.'

'Sorry, sorry,' Teri said. God must have a really warped sense of humour to put her in this predicament with the most decent-looking man she had bumped into in ages -- quite literally. 'You really don't need to do this, you know.' It was hard to hop and talk at the same time.

'Call it a salve to my guilty conscience. And anyway, there isn't another train for twenty minutes.'

'I'm glad to be able to fill in the time for you.'

'Oh, sorry, I have the knack of saying the wrong thing.' He looked like a scolded schoolboy.

'Then let's just concentrate our efforts on getting me to the loo in one piece.' Hopping up the steep concrete slope from Platform 8 back on to the main concourse at Euston Station was an experience Teri wasn't keen to try again in a hurry. But, as usual, in the rush-hour no one gave her a second glance. All commuters worked on the same premise. If they simply looked the other way, there was no chance that they could be called on to provide assistance which would delay their flight from the City to the relative sanity of the suburbs -- for the few brief hours of respite before they turned round and did it all again.

They reached the entrance to the ladies' loo. 'I'll wait here,' he said. 'Take your time.'

The loos weren't very clean -- not enough to warrant a twenty-pence entrance fee, anyway. Teri looked at her face in the smeared mirror. Or more accurately, her smeared face in the smeared mirror. Wiping the panda-like circles of mascara from under her eyes, she noted regretfully the decreasing amount of white on the borrowed linen handkerchief that she still clutched like a security blanket. She dragged her fingers through her hair and fluffed it up hopefully. It fell flat to her head instantly. She would bet a pound to a penny that Kelly Ripa didn't have bad hair days. Especially when she had Mr Fanciable Of The Millennium dancing attendance on her -- even if it was in slightly less-than-romantic circumstances.

'A nice young man asked me to give you these, dear.' A white-haired old lady thrust a packet of pantyhose into her hands.

'Thank you.' Teri raised her eyebrows appreciatively. Thoughtful with a capital T. 'Wait.' Teri touched her arm. 'How did you know they were for me?'

'He told me to look for the dishevelled woman with a scabby knee,' she replied sweetly. 'It had to be you, dear.' 'Thanks.'

Teri smiled a tired smile. 'Thanks a bunch,' she muttered under her breath.

One attempt at trying to lift her foot into the wash-basin whilst balancing on her good leg told her that it was far too acrobatic a manoeuvre to consider in a tight skirt, considering the indignity she had already suffered. As the paper towels were too rough to bathe her knee with, Sir Galahad's handkerchief was pressed into service again. Then she dried her knee under the hot-air blower that was thankfully broken and was blowing cold. As an afterthought she gave the sodden stained handkerchief a cursory blast.

Teri nipped into one of the cubicles to change into the new pantyhose and meditated on what kind of man would even think to go and buy her a replacement pair. Okay, they weren't anything flash -- no Lycra, no Tactel for velvet softness, no satin sheen for enhanced elegance, no elastane for a perfect fit. But they were the right size, although with one size you couldn't go too far wrong, and the right colour -- again, with black you were pretty safe. At least he had noticed.

And so what if his description of her had been a little less than flattering; it was accurate. He could have said 'attractive, but dishevelled woman', it's true. But then, Teri was a firm believer that actions speak louder than words.

He was still waiting outside. Which was just as well, because he had her briefcase. But she wouldn't have been surprised if he'd disappeared. After all, he could have just dumped it and cleared off. He could have just dumped her and cleared off, too. He'd done enough already really -- despite the fact it was his fault she had been knocked down in the first place.

Her knight in a crumpled suit was lounging against the glass wall of the tanning salon tucked incongruously into the corner opposite the toilets. How many people clamoured to top up their tans in the salubrious setting of Euston Station was another one of life's little mysteries that deserved further consideration at a later date.

She hopped towards him. 'Thanks for the pantyhose.' She showed him her knee, which through black nylon looked reasonably presentable.

'I hope they were okay. I didn't know if you wore pantyhose or -- ' he blushed ' -- or well, the others, you know.' It was years since she had seen a man blush.

They didn't anymore, did they? Good grief, it was endearing. Carrying a handkerchief and blushing at the thought of a garter belt -- this one was a prize. 'Well, you wouldn't, would you?' she teased.

'I got them in Knickerbox,' he said by way of explanation, gesturing towards the glass kiosk filled with pastel shades of frillies in every shape and size imaginable, marooned in the middle of the concourse. 'They have nice things in there.'

'Really?' Teri arched her eyebrows. His skin flushed to a deeper shade of beetroot. She wondered briefly if he was a pervert.

He cleared his throat. 'We'd better move it or we're going to miss this train, too. How's the ankle?'

'I'll live. But I may miss my salsa dancing class.'

'Come on then, take my arm again.' It had in fact improved to two limps and a hop, and they struggled back to the platform for the next train. He paused to look at the display board.

'Which stop?' he asked.

'Leighton Buzzard. And you?'

'Milton Keynes. This one will do us. It leaves in five minutes on Platform Eight.' They set off again.

'Look, you're helping me marvellously -- ' Teri paused for breath ' -- with my Long John Silver impersonation.' Limp, limp, hop. 'And I don't even know your name.'

'Jamie,' he puffed. 'Jamie Duncan. I'd shake your hand, but you don't seem to have one free.'

'I'm Teri Carter,' she said breathlessly, trying to co-ordinate breaths and hops to synchronised intervals. 'Pleased to meet you. I think.'

The train was sitting, waiting patiently, and already most of the seats were taken in the first few compartments. 'There are two together in here.' He opened the door.

'Look, I'll be fine. You've done enough.'

'I insist. My guilt complex still hasn't gone.'

They both sat down gratefully, opposite each other, and Jamie dropped the briefcases on the floor with a sigh of relief. 'Thank goodness for that! I'm not sure which is heavier -- you or your briefcase.' Several newspapers in the surrounding seats lowered to look briefly at the object of his derision.

'Well, next time you decide to knock a woman over, choose a smaller one.'

'Sorry.' He winced. 'Put your foot up here. It stops the swelling if you elevate it.' He indicated the seat beside him.

'More information gleaned from Match of the Day?'


'I didn't have you down for an ER watcher.'

'I'm not. My secretary tells me all about it -- usually in its full Technicolor glory. She's obsessed with watching operations.

'Animal Hospital is her favourite.' He gave Teri a sideways smile. 'If you'd been a pregnant rhinoceros, I'd have known exactly what to do.'

'That's very encouraging, but it probably would have involved more than a pair of black pantyhose and a strong shoulder.'

Jamie shrugged. 'Infinitely more.' Again, he patted the seat next to him. 'Foot.'

Obligingly, after adjusting her skirt to provide a modicum of modesty, she raised her foot. He touched her ankle, stroking the swollen area gently. His fingers were cool against the hot skin that throbbed through her pantyhose. Why was her mouth suddenly dry? It was probably delayed shock. She should have bought a drink from the End-of the- Line Buffet.

'I don't like the look of that.' He tutted and shook his head ponderously. 'I don't like the look of that at all.' His eyes travelled up to her knee. 'Does it hurt anywhere else?'

'Only when I laugh,' Teri said tartly and wriggled her skirt down.

The guard blew his whistle, and there was a succession of slamming doors. Their carriage door was wrenched open, and a sweating businessman with a florid face and a wet, bald pate squeezed himself onto the seat next to Jamie, smiling genially at him as he lowered his bulk, sandwiching Teri's foot with his bottom. Casually, Jamie lifted her foot and put it on his lap as if it were something he did every day.

Teri didn't know which would be more embarrassing, to move her foot away or leave it there throbbing as acutely as her temples. The train jerked out of the station, and she decided to leave it there for the time being until she could devise a way to extricate it without drawing too much attention to herself.

'So what do you do when you're not discussing ER or Animal Hospital with your secretary?' she asked, more in an attempt to deflect his eyes from her legs and the fact that one of them was resting ever so comfortably in his lap than out of sheer unadulterated interest.

'I'm a database manager for an insurance firm -- the Mutual and Providential.'

'That's interesting.' Jamie smiled. 'That's polite.' He had perfect white teeth, like the ones in a toothpaste advert. The sort of teeth that meant you needn't care less whether there was added fluoride, chloride or bromide. The sort of teeth that made you want to get your own teeth very, very close to them and have first-hand experience of that fresh-breath ring of confidence that toothpaste advertisements were so keen on.

Copyright © 2004 Carole Matthews

Meet the Author

Carole Matthews was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Romantic Comedy RoNA for 2012 and inducted into the Reader Hall of Fame by the inaugural Festival of Romance. Her novels dazzle and delight readers all over the world. Carole is the Sunday Times bestselling author of over twenty novels, is published in more than thirty countries and her books have sold to Hollywood.

For all the latest news from Carole, visit www.carolematthews.com, follow Carole on Twitter or join the thousands of readers who have become Carole's friend on Facebook.

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Let's Meet on Platform 8 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Lindsie More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book mostly because it was unlike many of the chick lit books that are out there. This book looks into the life of two woman; a mistress and the wife, as they try and figure out which direction their life should go in; stay with Jamie and allow him to leave his family, or make it on my own. While the ending caught me off guard and left me hanging with questions that story really pulls at your heart. B-
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found it hard to like any of the characters. I couldn't identify or root for any of them. There was little resolution at the end and it left me feeling dissapointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so fascinated with the book that I finished reading it for 11/2 days.I'm a married woman with children and should feel sorry for Pamela,the wife but surprisingly I was wishing the story will end with Jamie and teri together.Are you going to write a sequel of this as you ended the story kind of hanging?.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very great book, with something of a different ending. I would have loved to see it end differently, but not all books can be the ending that you are predicting. Once again Carole Matthews has written a fantasitic story that kept me reading for a few days on end just to see how everything turns out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a little put off by the whole affair business. This is mainly because every marriage in my family, except for my parents, has ended over an affair. I did enjoy the characters to a point, however, I was put off by Terri's character... Ok, so the whole thing made me sick and then the ending wa just an irritation, because it leaves it open. If you're going to write a book, finish it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed in this book. The characters were selfish, shallow, and poorly written, and the plot was even more dull. When I was supposed to feel sympathy , or anything for that matter, for the characters I was just annoyed and didn't even want to finish the book. There are far better chick lit books out there, don't waste your time on this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book didn't really have much depth to the plot of the story, although the characters and their lives were written pretty well. I had a hard time trying to finish because it didn't keep me entertained enough. However, I am happy with the outcome at the end of the story. The one part that kept me entertained was when the two women characters end up meeting face to face ( I won't give it away).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book took a while for me to finish. It started off pretty fast then it just remained stagnant, going back and forth thru his mistress Teri's emotions, his wife's emotions, and Jamie's (the husband) emotions. I couldn't really connect with any of the characters, for there really isn't a picturesque description and personality to any of them. Towards the end, I just wanted to see who the husband would end up with. But the last part of the story was disappointing. Is there a sequel to this novel or what? I thought it could have been written better than it was.
harstan More than 1 year ago
While rushing to catch the 6:07 from London on Platform 8, Jamie Duncan cannonballs through Teri Carter. Instead of continuing his mad dash, Jamie stops to help Teri by bandaging her scraped knee, giving her new stockings to replace the ones he ruined, allows her to place her feet on his lap, and finally takes her home. Teri thinks she has finally found a sensitive charming soulmate................................... However, Teri learns there is one obstacle to her having a permanent relationship with her dream. He is married to a nice woman. Though Jamie wonders if that is all there is, Teri has doubts about braking up a marriage although she believes he is Mr. Right..................................... This is an interesting chick lit tale that stars several perceptive nice people stuck in a commuter triangle. The story line is terrific when it emphasizes relationships (the good, the bad, and the boring) to include that of Teri¿s best friend. The story slows down when the tale delves into the specifics of the commute as it seems to target Londoners. When the plot digs deep into the feelings of real people, LET¿S MEET ON PLATFORM 8 is fabulous as the lead couple, his wife, and her pal make for a strong character study that provides multiple perspectives................................................. Harri et Klausner