Straight on Till Morning: Is Our Destiny Written in the Stars? [NOOK Book]

Overview

‘It was then that it struck me, with terrifying clarity. I was going to die. I was going to die at any moment. I was going to die, moreover, in a pair of tartan pyjamas and a grubby black cardigan. For whatever was attached to the headlights in front of me was actually driving on my side of the road…’


So begins Sally Matthews’ date with destiny. She doesn’t actually believe in destiny, of course – she’s way too busy looking after her husband, arranging her step-daughter’s wedding, and humouring her ...

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Straight on Till Morning: Is Our Destiny Written in the Stars?

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Overview

‘It was then that it struck me, with terrifying clarity. I was going to die. I was going to die at any moment. I was going to die, moreover, in a pair of tartan pyjamas and a grubby black cardigan. For whatever was attached to the headlights in front of me was actually driving on my side of the road…’


So begins Sally Matthews’ date with destiny. She doesn’t actually believe in destiny, of course – she’s way too busy looking after her husband, arranging her step-daughter’s wedding, and humouring her mum-on-a-mission (which currently involves Tony Blair). No surprise, then, that she’s out late at night, with nothing but a dog and a cricket bat for company. In short, Sally hasn’t time for a near-death experience. However handsome the man who’s about to run her off the road…

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781435611207
  • Publisher: Accent Press
  • Publication date: 10/25/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 303
  • Sales rank: 944,435
  • File size: 450 KB

Meet the Author

Lynne Barrett-Lee is the author of five novels and was selected to be part of the Quick Reads Initiative with her book, Secrets. She writes a weekly column for the Western Mail and has had numerous short stories published in woman’s magazines. Lynne lives in Cardiff with her husband and three children

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Read an Excerpt

 

It is five twenty-seven in the morning. And, some thirty-nine thousand feet over the north Atlantic, an aeroplane is heading swiftly and silently towards Gatwick airport. Aboard it, and crick-necked beneath his itchy red blanket, Nick Brown has spent much of what passes for night on this flight path trying, and failing, to sleep. His legs, which are long, are rammed hard against the seat-back in front of him, and his head, which feels woolly, against the cream cabin wall. He should be in business class. He should be in an aisle seat. But life, as it seems to a lot for Nick lately, has conspired to relieve him of any expectations of comfort: the plane he should have boarded is grounded at LAX, and this one, on which he has just scraped a passage, could only offer him row twenty-seven, seat A. Thus he has shared ten or so tortuous hours with a small boy called Luke, and his sister, Georgina. And sporadically, their mother, plus ripe smelling baby, who are seated, when seated, in row twenty-six.

The plane heaves on eastwards. The captain announces their imminent descent. Resigned now, Nick abandons his blanket, but the sleep that’s eluded him since tea-time on Thursday now engulfs him with a sudden and irresistible force. He is a chronic insomniac, and this is its pattern. His eyelids are heavy now. Closing despite him. Ensuring that, come the long wait in Arrivals, he will move as in treacle and feel like the pits. The small child beside him has a foot in his groin and one sticky hand on his new silk tie. He’d like to remove it but doesn’t want to wake him. He looks so very like his own son did at that age.

In twenty or so minutes the plane will touch down. He’s not only not slept, he has not eaten either. As the plane begins to make its final approach, his stomach lurches unpleasantly. He feels for his shoes with cold, sluggish feet and, because they have told him to, squirms very gently, retrieves the warm buckle from under him, and does up his belt. He rubs his eyes and looks down at the quilt of landscape beneath him, bisected by a seaside rock ribbon of traffic, and punctuated, here and there, with small huddles of trees. Far beneath him grow clumps of roofscape and garden. The odd swimming pool, stable, and pale, gravelled drive. The faux-rural backdrop of this part of Sussex. Scenery all at once familiar yet strange. They sink lower still. The rock splinters. Becomes car lights. The gardens get flowerbeds. The windows get curtains. He stretches his arms, scans the houses below him. It is five fifty-two. Dawn is coaxing the sun up. He sees, very clearly, a light snapping off.

 

As the plane swoops silently over the north Sussex countryside, carrying Nick Brown to his tryst with a crisp cotton pillowslip in the North Terminal Meridien Hotel, Sally Matthews, chilly in a T-shirt and knickers, switches off the light and pads back to her bed. She has lain wide-eyed on the single bed in the spare room since three thirty, but must return to bear witness to the alarm clock, which will buzz its sharp greeting in seventy-eight minutes. By which time, she knows, she will be deeply asleep.

‘Nnnggch,’ says her husband, Jonathan, exhaling. He has spiralled the duvet, swiss-roll style, around him.

Sally eases the remaining flap over her goose-pimpled legs. There is no duvet inside this bit of cover because the two are incompatible, the latter a generous John Lewis cover, the former a rather scant Debenham’s quilt. The resultant deficit – a good twelve-inch strip along one side (always her side) – barely covers one leg. Were she to move across the bed and snuggle her cold body up to that of her husband, she could have filled duvet cover aplenty. But she can’t do that or she will wake him. And if she wakes him he will be in a mood. And if he gets in a mood he will stay in a mood. So she stays where she is at the edge of the mattress, breathes lightly and quietly and tries not to fidget.

She lies there and looks out. Their bedroom, which is cool, spacious and full of heavy old pine furniture, has a large picture window. It doesn’t afford quite the view of the skylight in the spare room, but, from her place on the left of the marital bed, Sally can still see a big chunk of the night sky. It’s cloudless and black and peppered with stars. Stars and planets and, presumably, comets. There’s movement now, up there. Tiny, but actual. She fancies, as she tends to most nights, that she’ll see one. A shooting star, shooting…to wherever stars shoot. But, no. Not tonight. There’s a red light. An aircraft. Making arrow-straight progress across her window pane vista. A jumbo, she guesses. On its way into Gatwick.

It winks at her now as it passes.

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