The Year of the Blue Reindeer [NOOK Book]


The Year of the Blue Reindeer is the story of one man and three women: one who breaks his heart, one who steals his heart, and one who will have his heart forever. Stephen Andrews faces the hardest and most illuminating year of his life.

When his wife of twenty years, Janet, suddenly leaves him for another woman while their daughter is away travelling, Stephen finds himself alone and struggling to cope. His situation is further complicated by his daughter’s announcement of her ...

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The Year of the Blue Reindeer

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The Year of the Blue Reindeer is the story of one man and three women: one who breaks his heart, one who steals his heart, and one who will have his heart forever. Stephen Andrews faces the hardest and most illuminating year of his life.

When his wife of twenty years, Janet, suddenly leaves him for another woman while their daughter is away travelling, Stephen finds himself alone and struggling to cope. His situation is further complicated by his daughter’s announcement of her unexpected pregnancy, his ex-wife’s illness, and his own developing affair with Daisy, his business partner’s wife.

Stephen must somehow navigate his chaotic life, acting as a go-between with his ex-wife and daughter, Cassie, and trying to deal with his irresistible feelings for Daisy. They may be the most important people in his life, but they also prove to be the most challenging and heart-rending, too. When an old letter to Janet comes to light, it raises questions that threaten to ruin Stephen’s relationships with all three women. Torn, he must decide which path he wishes his life to follow.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781909902015
  • Publisher: RowanVale Books
  • Publication date: 7/31/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 167
  • File size: 454 KB

Read an Excerpt

I'm convinced that high blood pressure is a self fulfilling prophecy. I'd started worrying that I hadn't done anything about checking my blood pressure, and worry is not a good thing when it comes to blood pressure. When I saw the doctor everything seemed inconsequential and irrelevant, but, as my mental state has improved, concern over my physical health has escalated. I couldn't face going back to the Gulag that doubles for a doctors' surgery, so I did the next best thing and bought myself a do-it-yourself blood pressure monitor.

I'm lying on my bed breathing deeply and trying not to think about the blue band strapped around my arm. This will be the third test I've taken in the last ten minutes. The first reading was high, the second even higher. One last breath and I press the test button. I try to relax, but the noise and the constricting feeling in my arm makes it impossible. When it finishes, there's an ominous silence before the LED screen flashes up the result.

Shit! It's higher than the second. I decide to give up. The only time I can get a normal reading is after drinking a bottle of wine, which is a bit of a medical paradox. I decide to move on to the other piece of equipment I've bought to improve my physical wellbeing - a bike turbo. I'm don't know what effect it has on blood pressure, but presumably a doctor would advise against extreme exertion if my blood vessels are likely to explode at any moment. But I don't feel fit at the moment and if I don't feel fit, I feel bad, and if I feel fit, I feel good. I think the wine test proves that when I feel good, my blood pressure goes down.

The heart rate monitor reaches one hundred and fifty five beats per minute, the highest it's ever been. Sweat runs down every part of my body and drips onto the floor. My lungs are at bursting point and my legs are screaming with lactic acid overload. I hear an alarm telling me that thirty minutes of purgatory is over and I grab the bike's gear selector to select a lower gear. Slowly my legs and lungs recover. My God that was hard, but I feel, well - good.

I bought the bike three years ago and, other than a few rides in the first few months, Janet's prediction that it would be a five minute wonder proved irritatingly accurate. A month or so ago I realised that I needed something to fill the weekends. I tried to arrange squash games, but most of the people I play are family men who struggle to get out on Saturdays or Sundays. I then remembered the bike and realised that cycling would be an ideal solution.

My first ride was a disaster. I started out with the romantic notion of cycling into the countryside, only to get a puncture just outside Northolt. I was lucky to find a hatchback minicab able to get me and the bike back home.

It was a guy at work who suggested a turbo trainer - basically a roller which you fix your bike to and pedal for all your worth in the comfort of your own home. Bike and fitness magazines are now devoured feverishly and I've altered my diet to fit in with my training regime. It's become an obsession, but at least it's a healthy one. Janet's credit card treated me to the turbo and an expensive bike computer with a heart rate monitor. I'm staggered the card hasn't been stopped, and it makes me think that her company's financial control is somewhat lax.

I have a recurring daydream about a warm summer's day where I've taken the day off from work and cycled into the countryside, and by some strange quirk of fate find myself in Daisy's kitchen drinking chilled Chablis. Of course the daydream doesn't deal with the reality of turning up on her doorstep, sweaty, smelly and looking totally ridiculous in brightly coloured, tight fitting cycling clothes - no man has ever looked good in Lycra.

Despite thinking about Daisy occasionally - okay, a lot - I've managed to keep convincing myself that I did the right thing by not replying to her text and deleting her mobile number. Any notion that she might get back in touch with me diminishes each day. I know that, if I really wanted to, I could get in contact with her, but I'm happy to leave her as an uncomplicated warm daydream.

Cassie's e-mails used to create warm feelings. I still love to hear from her, but there are niggles. Maybe it's my fault that she no longer asks how I am and how I'm coping. I've probably disguised my state of mind too well and she thinks that I've been able to replace her mother with a piece of bike equipment and a new diet.

I find it strange that Cassie never mentions her mother and has never asked any questions about her leaving. I would have thought that by now she would want to know why or how it happened, not that I'd be able to tell her, of course. I've also no idea if she's in contact with Janet or not. Cassie's e-mail after they'd met in Bangkok was full of vitriol aimed at Janet, but maybe they've made up.

There's something else in Cassie's e-mails that's beginning to grate - Ben. It's Ben this and Ben that, he's just bloody marvellous. It seems I've been replaced as Cassie's favourite man. He's from Australia and the reason she's changing her plans. After the Far East, she was due to go to Australia and New Zealand, but of course Ben's not going there, he's going to America, so of course that's where Cassie's now going. To cap it off, her travellers' ticket doesn't cover the total cost and guess who she's asked for extra money? What else are fathers for - maybe I should ask Janet for a contribution.

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