The first chapter of A Time for Change.
The dawn broke, flooding the bedroom with light. Danielle stretched and moaned. Her eyes widened when she touched the clammy skin of the person sharing her bed. Crap!
She shimmied out of bed, careful not to wake her sleeping companion, and jumped in the shower. She had hoped that standing underneath the water would wash away the shame she was feeling. Going over what had taken place the previous evening, made her question if she really wanted to continue to live like this.
Her handsome partner, Dean was nice enough, but recently his faults outweighed the kindness he'd once shown. Faults which grated and tried her patience daily, maybe her heavy schedule had something to do with that too. But all the same his attitude toward her over the past couple of weeks had left her wondering if their relationship was doomed. Hence her amazement to find him asleep, tucked up in her bed.
The evening had begun as usual, with her being exhausted after a mentally tiring day's work. Interior designing didn't always live up to its glamorous TV image. She encountered arguments and disputes between builders and clients even on the smallest project. Anyway, Dean had rung her at lunchtime, his lunchtime not hers, nowadays she only had time to grab a sandwich in the car between locations. He'd ordered her to be ready at seven. She had tried to argue with him, but he'd insisted she'd been working too hard lately and she needed a break.
His timing was out of sync with her schedule as usual, but during the afternoon she'd upped her already hectic pace, and called on her sister, Claudine to help out at the office, to ensure she'd get home early that evening.
She'd been with Dean for three years now, maybe the impromptu night out was him trying to make amends for the way they appeared to have drifted apart recently. Dean was tall, dark and good-looking, every girl's dream — he just didn't set her world alight. She'd been more conscious of this lately because of the amount of romcom movies doing the rounds. Once a week Danielle and her sister settled down to see the latest movie over a bottle of wine. She'd noticed how the woman always seemed to blush when the man touched her. Yes, she knew it was different in the movies, but all the same it left Danielle wondering why she'd never been fortunate enough to feel that way. In any of her relationships, past or present. Maybe she was just unlucky, is that why she was prepared to settle for her relationship with Dean, for fear of sitting at home on her own every night? No the trouble was boredom. All her relationships had ended because she'd grown bored of her partner. Was that the problem with Dean?
Arriving at her newly bought, half-renovated Chelsea Mews at four, she ran a bath in the new bathroom her team had put in a few months ago. She soaked for the next half an hour in the expensive foam bath her mother had given her at Christmas, while Curtis Stigers' sexy voice filled the bedroom next door. If his sexy voice couldn't put her in the right mood then no one could.
Soaping her body she imagined her hands belonged to an insatiable lover. What an idiot you can be at times Danielle. She washed her long auburn her and emptied the water. Wrapping the fluffy bath sheet around her, she returned to her bedroom. She plucked the pink flowing dress she'd only worn once from the rail, and laid it out on the bed. As it was the beginning of September, she decided to wear a lacy white cardigan over the top. After blow-drying her hair she fastened the sides back with some pretty butterfly combs. She slipped on a pair of wedged sandals, and cursed the fact she'd not had the time lately to paint her toes. A light application of make-up and she was set to go.
The doorbell rang at seven on the dot. Another thing that narked her about Dean, his predictability. She opened the door with a false smile which dropped the second she saw how handsome he looked in his tuxedo.
"Something wrong?" he asked.
"You should've told me to dress up."
It wasn't the first time he'd done that either, making her suspicious of his motives. Maybe he likes hogging the limelight.
He shrugged and walked back down the path to the car. "You look fine."
The smile remained on her face but inside she was livid. Fine, just fine! Two hours preparation and the only compliment you can bloody come up with is FINE!
Trotting up the path behind him, already regretting her decision to spend the evening with him, she asked, "Where are we going with you all tarted up?"
Her thoughts drifted and she imagined being whisked away in a helicopter to a deserted island. Dining at a table set for two on the beach, the only sound nearby the gentle lapping of the waves, a Curtis Stigers melody in the backgr—
"Did you hear me, Danielle? There you go again, daydreaming as usual."
"Oh don't start, Dean. Can't we have one night out without arguing?"
"I said … I'm taking you to the new restaurant in town, the Italian one in the precinct. The folks at work are raving about it."
Danielle loved a good Italian. The food was delicious and the men weren't bad either. She chuckled at the thought.
"Well, what are we waiting for then?"
Chivalrous to a fault, he neglected to open the car door for her. Dean had a smart new company car, a Mercedes sport C300. Mummy and daddy owned an import and export business, exporting what, she didn't have a clue. Every time the conversation steered in that direction, she switched off. Dean was a Mummy's Boy and his parents had always given her the impression they thought she wasn't good enough to date their son.
They arrived at the restaurant and were shown to a discreet table at the rear corner of the themed room. On the wall to the left was a mural of a gondola travelling through the canals of Venice, and on the other a six-foot picture of the Tower of Pisa stood alongside the Italian flag.
"How about a bottle of Chianti while we choose?"
"That'll be lovely, but I already know what I want." Danielle looked up at the dark skinned waiter and said, "I'll have the tomato and Mozzarella to start— "
Out of the corner of her eye she saw Dean raise his hand. "Come back in ten minutes there's a good chap."
The waiter appeared to be as embarrassed as Danielle. And that's how life was with Dean. It's my way or the highway. The trouble was she'd had enough of being dictated to, of not being treated as an equal.
"Now don't go all moody on me. I just wanted to spend the time choosing a special meal to accompany our special evening." He paused when the waiter brought the bottle of wine, then he raised his glass. "To us, it's so nice to finally spend an evening together, it's been a while."
After taking a sip of wine she asked, "What's so special about this evening, Dean?"
"Let's see how the evening pans out, shall we? Now, tell me about your latest job?"
Now she really was suspicious, he never asked about her clients or the projects that filled her day. In the past two years her business, Intricate Designs, and her client list had exploded. Okay, I'll play along with your game.
"Well, Mrs Russell is being a real pain in the rear at the moment. Apparently, me working fourteen hours a day over the past six weeks hasn't been enough. Thank God I've nearly finished. She wants the dining room completely decorated and kitted out by Thursday at the latest. She's holding a dinner party for the partners of her husband's law firm, she thinks they're going to ask him to be a partner in the firm. The decorators should be finished by Wednesday and then I can get on with shopping for the accessories. She wants the wow factor … are you listening to me?"
Dean had the attention span of a gnat. "What? Oh yes, of course I was. So it's all finished that's great, on to your next job then, which is?"
Anger started to build inside but she swallowed it back down. Why bother getting in a tizzy, I know he'll never change.
"It doesn't matter, Dean."
He didn't even have the decency to look guilty and spent the next ten minutes, until the waiter came to take their order, rattling off how many meetings he had managed to cram into his boring day.
Him, him and even more him, why the heck do you put up with it?
When the meal arrived it was one of the best she'd ever tasted, but the constant drone of his voice left a horrible taint in her mouth.
At nine, just when she thought the evening would never end Dean took her hand and smiled. "You look tired, hon, how about we call it a night?"
That was fine by her, he was right, his constant chatter had exhausted her. As they pulled up outside her home she turned in her seat and said, "Thanks for a lovely time, Dean, I really enjoyed myself."
"Aren't you going to invite me in, sweetheart?"
Danielle cringed, recognising the expectant glint in his eye. "I'm dead tired, it's been a hectic week … If you don't mind— "
"Nonsense," he said, gently running a finger down her cheek. Putting on a little boy lost voice, he continued, "We haven't spent the night together for ages. Anyone would think you're going off me. You're not are you, darling."
Yes, say it, it's the ideal opportunity, grab the chance. Say it…
"Don't be ridiculous, I'm exhausted that's all." She tried to sound weary and sighed. "If you want to come in for a quick nightcap, but only a quick one."
He punched the air. "Yes, I knew I could twist you round my finger."
Danielle groaned inwardly, why did she always back down like that? Because I want a peaceful life, that's why, she answered herself.
They walked into the undecorated lounge. She had major plans for this room, when she could take time out of her busy schedule to fulfill them. Danielle switched on the gas fire to take the chill off the room. She turned around to find Dean standing right behind her. He caught her by the wrist and began planting wet slobbery kisses on her face and neck. She knew it would be pointless telling him to stop. This was Dean's attempt at seduction and Danielle knew what would happen next. He'd drag her caveman style up the stairs and pin her to the bed for two minutes while he 'made love to her'.
"Let's go to bed, sweetie," he whispered in her ear.
Pushing at his chest her words came out strained. "I think you should go. I've told you I'm exhausted."
"Oh you always say that, you don't mean it though. Come on, you know I'll show you a good time." By this time he'd dragged her halfway up the stairs.
Danielle knew if she fought against him he'd turn nasty, he always did. She'd do her usual trick of lying back and thinking of England while he enjoyed himself. By the time they reached the bedroom he was already half-undressed. "Come on, hurry up, darling, what's keeping you?"
Exactly what's keeping me from sending you packing for good? All she ever wanted was to be treated with love and respect. To be made love to and not screwed for a change. She wanted to feel gentle hands caressing her in intimate places, but she knew she'd never get that with Dean. Danielle slipped out of her dress and underwear and dived under the silky gold quilt. Undressed, he jumped in the bed beside her. Danielle turned the light off on the bedside table hoping to lessen her humiliation. He got on top of her pinning her arms to either side of her head and murmured, "You know I love you, don't you, babe?" In a second it was over, her eyes squeezed shut as he rolled off her. He fell asleep in a nanosecond.
She'd lain awake for hours rigid, too scared to move for fear of waking him, feeling cheap and dirty.
Coming out of the bathroom she saw Dean was awake, smiling at her as she scurried across the room to the wardrobe.
After stretching and yawning noisily, he said, "You're up early, why don't you come back to bed."
"I have an appointment at nine, haven't even got time for coffee before I leave, don't want to get caught up in the rush-hour traffic."
He pouted like a child. "But I was going to ask you something special last night, things got in the way. Surely you've got time for a quick coffee."
Danielle pulled on her black skirt suit and red top and could feel her temper rising. She had no intention of being late for work. "Nope, just tell me?" She pulled out her black stilettos and as she stepped into the final shoe he snapped at her.
"I was going to ask you to marry me."
She lost her balance and fell against the wardrobe, almost pulling the door off its hinges, and eyed him in disbelief.
"You're kidding me."
"No, I'm deadly serious. We've been together for three years and the natural progression is marriage. Mummy says it's about time, so how about it?" He finished his matter of fact sentence with a shrug.
Dumbstruck all she could do was right herself and stare at him. "But your mother hates me."
"She does not. Well … will you?"
"Dean, I can't deal with this now, I'm going to be late for work. Let yourself out and make sure you slam the front door when you leave."
His voice followed her down the stairs. "Charming. Is that all you're going to say?"
"I'll be late. We'll talk later."
Jeez, I don't believe it, he calls that a romantic proposal? Danielle you picked yourself a good 'un there, not!
Praise for A Time For Change.
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable,
28 Mar 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Time for Change (Kindle Edition)This is another enjoyable romance by Mel Comley. Exotic locations, a horrible boy friend and a handsome admirer. A good story to curl up with and enjoy reading.
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read,
9 Dec 2011
This review is from: A Time for Change (Kindle Edition)I enjoyed reading A Time For Change; it made a change from the normal books I pick up to read. Mel you have written another gripping novel again I thought that Lorne Simpkins thrillers were page turning good stuff but Daniela Pires was just as good. However, in the beginning I did feel that Daniela did need a kick up the rear end to get her love life sorted out. Thank god, she did not run her designing business like her love life or she would have gone bust within six months.
Well Done! Mel
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Romance,
October 28, 2011
This review is from: A Time for Change (Kindle Edition)This was a great read. I was rooting for Danielle from the first page. I love the fact that this story is based on real events too.
There are sad and funny moments throughout the book and you find yourself siding with Danielle throughout it.
The writing is superb credit to Mel for such an enthralling read.
A worthy five star read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great romantic read,
This review is from: A Time for Change (Kindle Edition)I really enjoyed this novel, the characters came alive on the page for me and I was soon siding with Danielle, and had the overpowering urge to kick Dean where it hurts...what a creep.
I read A Time For Change in one evening, as I was eager to find out what happened with the other man in Danielle's life, handsome Scott Jordache.
He is quite a mysterious person, and what is he doing on the cruise liner?
No, I can't tell you. You are going to have read this entertaining and sometimes very funny book, yourself. Thank you Mel Comely for another super read. From another satisfied reader.
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious romance!,
October 14, 2011
This review is from: A Time for Change (Kindle Edition)I seldom read romances, but I am so happy I read this one. It's a feel good book all the way through.
Oddly, the beginning too many of us can relate to. It touches a raw nerve, and you are so completely on Danielle's side when she meets Scott and finally has the urge to dump her awful awful boyfriend.
I gobbled this book up in a matter of hours. I laughed a lot while reading it. The dialogue is so realistic, and the metaphors and writing style were delightful to read.
It is full of mystery and twists and turns - which again made me really enjoy this book. This book has to be the perfect holiday read!
Scott is delightful, Dean is a a donkey's rear end, and Danielle is a glorious independent woman you'll relate to. The characters were alive, real, tangible, and you are swept up in their moments with them.
Definitely five out of five stars
4.0 out of 5 stars Romance on Board,
4 Oct 2011
This review is from: A Time for Change (Kindle Edition)Whilst I enjoyed this story, I wasn't too fussed on the behaviour of the two males in Danielle's life. Obviously the "wrong" one was a jerk, but I found the "right one" to be a bit of a spoilt brat who needed a slap.
The story was a pleasant read and I wanted to be on the trip with Danielle, she seemed like she was having a great time on her own.
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick read,
2 Oct 2011
This review is from: A Time for Change (Kindle Edition)This is Mel Comley second romantic book it was ok (sorry Mel you said be honest!) but I like her Thrillers much more.
It was pretty predictable girl with wrong man who is a bully bad abd bad tempered, meets right man who has a secret, follows girl on holiday girl give him a hard time but it all works out ok in the end.
It a good quick read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Read in one sitting!,
10 Sep 2011
This review is from: A Time for Change (Kindle Edition)Another great book by Mel Comley!
Like 'A Time to Heal', this is another romance book by the author (with a little mystery thrown in). I loved this book - it kept me guessing from start to finish!
I loved Danielle as a character and quite often felt myself wanting to give her a hug and tell her everything would work out, and wanting to hit Dean!
The characters are very believable and the story beautifully written. Deffinately recommended!
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tightly Plotted Romance with a Satisfying Touch of Mystery,
September 30, 2011
This review is from: A Time for Change (Kindle Edition)Mel Comley's brand of wish fulfillment romance makes a pleasing detour towards her better-known genre of thriller/mystery in the second of a series that began with "A Time To Heal". In this book Comley's thriller instinct delivers a strong, tight plot to package deft, and where appropriate, suitably yummy romance. I find myself wondering if this marks the inception of a new genre.