Salisbury, by Rachel James
Welcome to the page for the romance novel 'Salisbury'. This is where you'll find all the info you'll need to know about my debut novel.
The Front Cover
The front cover is a picture of Poultry Cross, the place where the whole thing begins. It's also one of the central locations in the novel, with Starbucks facing it and the Haunch of Venison just poking into the picture on the left. It's also not far from the pasty shop and the cinema.
The Cover Blurb
Kate is having the worst day of her life. Nothing is going right and her life is falling to pieces around her. With the help of a friend, she manages to pick herself up before life send her through another loop and a whole lot more crazy.
Set in the cathedral city of Salisbury, England, this is a romance novel with a twist, and a few surprises along the way. Featuring cats, coffee, zombies, and ferrets, Salisbury has something for everyone to enjoy, including real locations that can be visited.
It was one of those days where everything that could go wrong does go wrong, and then someone says ‘things can’t get any worse’ and then they do. For Kate it all started when her heating broke. Her house was cold when she woke up and she was cruelly denied the hot shower that she longed for. Not having a shower was not an option for her so she had to suffer through a cold one.
Once she had had her shower, she found out that the last of her bread had gone mouldy so she couldn’t have breakfast and that her tumble drier had broken leaving her with no clean clothes. Still, she had to go out so she dressed as best she could and stepped out her front door.
It was raining heavily and she only remembered that she needed her keys when she heard the door slam shut behind her. She felt her hair begin to stick to her scalp as she stared at the door and wished she was on the other side with her keys and her coat. She ran a hand wearily down her face and turned to walk into town.
Churchfields Road was deserted as Kate trudged her way into the middle of town, and it seemed to her that everyone had done the sensible thing and stayed inside. The rain was making her miserable and what she wanted to do most of all was hide in her bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a hot water bottle.
She was just thankful that she was on her way to Starbucks and that it wasn’t too far away. She’d at least be warm there and they had coffee. She sniffed loudly and hugged herself tightly. She could feel a cold coming on and she wasn’t happy about that, but at least things couldn’t get any worse, could they?
When she arrived at Starbucks it was quiet, but at least it was open. She stepped inside and the sudden difference in temperature made her sneeze. She checked the time and sniffed. She was meeting her partner and while she was early she wasn’t too early to order drinks. Wiping her nose on her sleeve, she went over to the counter.
“I’ll have two medium caramel frappuccino with whipped cream, please.” She wiped her eyes to clear away the rain that had run down her face and frowned. She went through the motions as the teller asked her to pay, swiping her Starbucks card through the machine with a practiced ease. There wasn’t enough on her card to pay for the drinks so she had to fish out her purse to pay the extra in cash. She smiled weakly and went to the end of the counter where her drinks would appear.
Taking her drinks, she stepped outside and moved over to Poultry Cross, a large stone structure with six pillars surrounding a central pillar with stone seating in the middle. It was still raining and she moved under the shelter of its roof and stared out down Silver Street.
Placing the coffees down on the stone seating, she sat down and wiped her nose. She could see it becoming red but there wasn’t anything she could do about it. She looked up at the clock that poked above The Haunch of Venison and blinked at it. It said it was half an hour after she was meant to meet her partner.
Kate pulled out her phone and felt like shouting at it. It had just decided to tell her that she had missed a call and that she had a text message. She closed her eyes and sighed. Checking the call register she saw that it was her partner who had called, and that the call was at least half an hour before Kate had left her house.
She read the message, which was also from her partner. She frowned and concentrated on the message for a few moments before she figured it out. Her partner was breaking up with her and staying at home because of the rain.
Screaming at her phone, Kate threw it at the ground. It bounced up and hit a pillar, breaking apart as it did so. Kate just felt like crying and she slumped back against the central pillar. If she cried she didn’t notice it, and it didn’t show either as she was soaked through.
She didn’t notice time pass and it was late afternoon when a hand descended on her shoulder and made her scream.
“Shit, sorry!” cried Max, “didn’t mean to startle you!”
Breathing hard and trying to calm down, Kate turned to look at her friend, “it’s my fault. I was a million miles away.”
“Yeah, I kind of guessed, I did try calling your name but you didn’t respond.” He looked at Kate a bit closer. “Are you OK?”
With a sigh, Kate shrugged and sat down again. “Do you want the short answer or the longer answer?”
“What’s the short answer?” asked Max.
“The short answer is yes,” replied Kate.
Max looked at her, “what’s the long answer?”
“The long answer is much longer and more depressing.”
“I’m guessing it involves two coffees and a phone,” Max frowned at phone, “or at least the pieces of one.”
Kate just nodded, “yeah.” She looked at the coffees and picked them up. “Do you want one?”
Raising an eyebrow, Max looked at the offered coffee. “Won’t it be cold by now?”
“I’d hope so, it’s meant to be cold.” Kate shrugged and put a coffee down between her and Max. “It’s there if you want it.” She lifted the other coffee and took a long sup through the straw. She grimaced and threw the coffee away. “I don’t even know why I bought it now.”
Max picked up the coffee and took a sip. “What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s not the coffee, I guess, though I don’t really like caramel frappuccinos. I was meant to be meeting Mary, who does like them, and I try to like them for her.” Looking at her phone, Kate shrugged. “I guess I don’t need to even bother trying now.”
“She dumped you?”
Kate nodded, “yeah, via text message.”
“Snap,” said Max. “Mine just did the same to me. He blamed the weather for not meeting me, though I know for a fact he was out last night and met another guy and was extremely drunk when they left the club.” He put the coffee aside and picked up the pieces of Kate’s phone. Despite the rain they were still dry, having fallen just inside the shelter of the pillar and on a raised lump of flagstone.
Sitting back on the stone seating, Max began to reassemble the phone like an electronic jigsaw puzzle. He turned bits over and over, put bits in place and then removed them, and generally tried to not break it any more than it was.
“You don’t need to bother with that,” said Kate, “I need a new one any way.”
Max shrugged. “I can fix it. I don’t think there’s anything seriously wrong with it and if I’m right it’ll just fit together.” He worked on in silence until he cried “eureka!” a few minutes later. He handed the phone back to Kate, “I told you I could fix it.” He grinned at her.
Kate smiled a little, “thanks, I guess.” She looked out at the rain, “ugh, I should get going. I doubt it’ll stop raining soon and I need to call a plumber, and a locksmith.” She caught the look that Max gave her and explained, “The heating died in the night and I locked myself out.”
“Come back to mine,” grinned Max. “We could both use the company, and I know the perfect way of warming you up. I also have hot water.”
“Thanks, so much,” Kate hugged Max. “I don’t think I could face my cold and lonely house right now or the long wait in the cold and wet for the locksmith.”
Max stood up and removed his coat, “I think you need this more than I do.”
Kate took the coat and put it in, snuggling into the garment that hung like a tent on her, even though Max wasn’t that much bigger. She stood up and sniffed loudly before taking Max’s arm. “Thanks,” she said, and let Max take her to his place.
Compared to the outside world, Max’s house was luxuriously warm and the water was delightfully hot. Having spent far longer in the shower than she usually would have done, Kate was feeling a bit more human as she sat on Max’s large bed swaddled up in his duvet and some spare clothes that were far too big but very comfortable.
“You were right, Max. This is the perfect way of warming me up.” She grinned at the large tray of finger foods that sat between her and Max. While Kate was showering, Max had cooked up a large number of comfort foods that he often ate when feeling cold.
“Of course, I am a genius, you know,” grinned Max. “Try the orange ones next. You haven’t had one of those yet.”
Kate looked dubiously at the orange things, unsure as to what to make of them. They vaguely resembled bhajjis, but only vaguely. She picked one up and sniffed it before eating it whole. “That was surprisingly good,” she mumbled with her mouth full.
“Told you they’d be good,” Max smiled a knowing smile, and then ate one himself.
Kate nodded and swallowed, then yawned widely. “Ugh, I think I’m going to pass out, or fall asleep, or something.”
Picking up the tray, Max kissed Kate’s forehead and smiled. “Ok, you can have the bed and I’ll sleep downstairs. I’ll put these in a tub in the kitchen if you need a late night snack.”
With a wide yawn, Kate rubbed her eyes and pulled the duvet round so she could lie under it. She waited for Max to turn the light out and close the door before she undressed and settled down under the duvet. Fidgeting and snuggling up in its warmth, she yawned and waited for sleep.
Max waited until he could hear gentle snores emanating from his room before sighing quietly and smiling a little. He tip toed down the stairs and put the tray of food down while he got a large tub. He put the food carefully in the tub and sealed it.
He yawned and stretched, feeling tired himself. Kicking of his shoes, Max trudged through to his lounge and collapsed onto the sofa. It wasn’t as comfortable as his bed but it would have to do.