Marmalade Martini by Julie Forester is features on this episode of Book Clips, the mini podcast where authors and narrators give you a taste of a book with a short snippet.
‘You won’t believe what happened last night…’
For Jamie Barker, London life is one long cocktail of wealthy clients, after-hours bars and one-night flings with all the wrong women. Who cares, as long as it keeps her best friend off her back about commitment, right?
But one night, she drops her keys: a simple slip that sets off a chain reaction of discoveries, misunderstandings, hope and heartache. As the dark secrets of Jamie’s past begin to catch up with her, she finds out that loyalty can be deceptive, and true love might be within her sights – if she can only work out where to look.
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You Are listening to book clips a mini podcast in which authors and narrators do readings from novels check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book [Music]
marmalade martini by Julie Forester Jamie was standing halfway across Shaftesbury Avenue on a pedestrian island gasping for breath her heart thumping still drunk she doubled over willing the nausea to pass her riffs now painful had stuffed as well the past few hours had certainly been bizarre how could an innocent meeting have become so complicated a low rumble of thunder crumbled ahead seconds later the heavens opened in a torrential downpour Jamie had only her new denim jacket to shelter from the deluge a useless gesture but she flipped for the collar stupid bloody jacket she had particularly liked it in the shop of the day before and she liked it even less now but she knew perfectly well why she’d bought it and it had been nothing to do with augmenting her wardrobe Jamie shivered to her core her jeans clung to her legs wet to the skin the water was starting to seep through the canvas of her converse Pomp’s she stumbled across the road the rain was getting heavier she needed to get home wincing as her bruised wrist flexed she searched through everything she had that other pocket or zip where the hell were keys Jamie scanned the length of the street searching for shop doorway in which to shelter she crossed a narrow one-way side road a flashing neon sign caught her eye so she made a dash for it getting nearer she was relieved to see a luminous open sign above the door of a bar called alchemy why had she never noticed this place before chest still tight Jamie stopped briefly in the dark entryway she didn’t generally wander into bars alone much less once she’d never been in before the splash of running footsteps and high-pitched squeals came up behind her Jamie wasn’t the only one caught out by the rain Jesus love said the taller of the two women they maneuvered past her down a few steps and pulled open the door wobbling on silly inch heels Jamie stepped to one side the sticky heat of the bar wafted out from inside she leaned across the small stairwell and spontaneously grabbed for the door handle the foot closed decision made following in the wake of the two women she was immediately hit by the heavy smell of candles and burnt orange peel she entered a dim vaults like archway the converted Victorian cellar walls bare brick and floor of paving slabs and cobblestones antique dark wood tables were occupied by shattering groups of people huddled around free-flowing candles in purples that left reveal its of white love on the tables wall-mounted church candles continued a theme they dripped down the black cast-iron brackets creating fragile stalactites of wax Faris bottles were lined up along glass shelves spanning the length of the wall behind the bar there are cleverly backlit to illuminate the range of carob liquids like an ax pocket of his hoard behind the shelves were mirrors creating the illusion of opulence and spaciousness the bar curved towards the back of the bays like building and disappeared in the depths of three other dimly lit art it was at least 15 minutes since Jamie escaped surely by now Alex must have noticed that she had left the pub and be wondering why she got her Jamie took out her phone useless the batter was flat three more people crashed their way through the door went through but laughing immensely pleased a found shelter this wasn’t just a short summer shaman it seemed resides the possibility that she was going to be stuck here longer than she’d expected Jamie decided to make the most of it besides after the night she’d just heard she needed another drink seizing the opportunity she headed for a newly vacant bar stool and reached into her jeans pockets flinching at a stub of pain from her wrist she pulled out a scrunched up ten pound note and some loose joints if this was all the cash she had she wouldn’t be able to for the cab her home as well as a nightcap Oh what the hell her would have to wait it would be easier to solve the problem the lost keys later in the day when she was thinking more clearly Jamie leant across the bar to pick up a cocktail menu pushing her sudden fringe from her eyes she skimming down the page in search of the cheapest drinks drops of rain from her hair smudged the ink wiping the menu with a sleeve only made it worse and how the print was only partially legible hopeless without her reading glasses the bartender came to the rescue yeah inspiring self off she offered Jamie the linen cloth over her shoulder it’s only been used to polish the glasses it’s clean Thanks Jamie could fill her usually sculpted spiked hair was now a flattened dripping mullet she quickly rubbed ahead and handed back the cloth catching her reflection in the glass behind the bottles it wasn’t a pretty sight but she didn’t want to draw attention to herself by fussing further over her hairstyle malfunction to preserve the illusion of composure Jamie casually peeled off her wet jacket the first time she took a proper look at her recent purchase bleach splashed augmented with chains zips and safety pins patched with badges and odd squares of tartan it really was dreadful Jamie gave it a shake and draped it over the seat of her bar stall she sat down on the makeshift cushing her comfort however was short-lived damp started seeping into the seat of her jeans she shifted her weight uneasily trying to look as though she was concentrating on a replacement cocktail menu typical English weather the bartender smiled she slipped a bowl of peanuts in front of Jamie what can I get you she made eye contact Jamie held her gaze surprised me she said realizing she hadn’t yet two selected a cocktail and it’ll have to be under a tenner though she apologetically smoothed out the 10-pound motor under the counter hmm I’m guessing this is hair of the dog time she wouldn’t be wrong that but Jamie said well now let me see the waitress turned to scan the bottles on the shelves giving her concoction careful consideration she took what appeared to be a jar of marmalade from the chiller cabinet then the theatre of her art began jelly watched her pour the contents of the bright orange bottle into a shaker full of crushed ice she lost track after that a skilfully trained mixologist this woman provided the full works and Jamie appreciated the spectacle of her juggling act eventually tasting from the end of a dipped install and approving of her creation with a nod the bartender finally offered a lighter flame to sliver of orange peel twisted it and dropped it in the drink routine complete she stood back waiting for Jamie’s reaction I feel like I should be holding up scorecards off with that performance Jamie took a long sip still drinking she gave her thumbs up oh wow now that’s good excellent what is it Jamie asked the woman tapped the cocktail menu in front of Jamie call it breakfast Jamie red marmalade martini she liked this woman’s sense of humor and he toasted a mother of breakfast tea to go with hat the bartender turned to serve the next customer well what do I owe you Jamie picked up the 10-pound motor and waved it in her direction the bartender glanced back on the house she replied with a smile a free drink why Jamie watched the bottom to fill the customers order then take a wineglass from the rack before returning to Jamie’s section of the counter it’s okay the woman added I’m the owner of this place she slowly polished the wineglass anyhow you look like you could do with a nightcap she said in a wink heavy night was it got a free drink I must really look rough if he thought I needed I called badly Jamie noticed the small lines around the woman’s eyes and mouth deep and expressive Jamie was an eyes woman and this woman used hers to communicate trying to stare Jamie took note of her simple almost symmetrical pear-shaped face she had strong strata knee trizol chin and a slight Romanesque bump on the bridge of her nose her highlighted auburn hair was Center parted and pulled back over her ears into a short ponytail barely reaching the base of her neck was she wearing makeup if so it was expertly applied for a fleeting moment jaylee toyed with the possibility of there being a shared chemistry worth pursuing year but the woman’s attention had already turned as a new person’s custom proved more appealing Jaime watched mesmerised as the bartender held the gaze of the guy at the bar striking up a similarly attentive conversation with him there was something about her he too appeared taken in by her charm damn Jaime knew is irrational but she had already entertained the notion at the bartender had singled her out for special attention and seemed not she was after all in the hospitality industry and without a doubt was good at her job Jaime made a mental note that not every woman that she found attractive was necessarily de marmalade martini by Julie Forester you have been listening to book clips check out the show notes for the synopsis and buy links for this book if you are interested in showcasing your novel then check out the show 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