|Cover by Simon Searle
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Finley Harrington despairs of ever being able to move on after the death of Andrew, the love of his life. When he spots an advertisement for auditions for Cats, the last musical Andrew performed in, Finley acts on the spur of the moment and calls for an appointment to audition.
Much to Fin’s surprise, he gets the part he hopes for, but during his struggles with stage-fright, and the teasing of a fellow actor, Karl Rogers, he wonders if he’s made a huge mistake. But Karl’s irritating persona hides a different person inside, and when Fin gets to know him, he develops a surprising attraction to him.
Could Karl be the person to help Fin move on from the past, or is he destined to remain alone?
Anger filled me—anger than I’d let that man get to me so much. But at the same time, I was upset. I’d failed myself and I’d failed Andrew. I’d have to go groveling to Maurice and tell him I wasn’t cut out for it, assuming Maurice didn’t tell me to take a hike first. Unhappiness overtook the anger, and two fat tears squeezed from the corners of my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. I sunk my head into my hands and snuffled miserably, so intent on my own feelings I didn’t hear the door open.
“What’s up, Pussycat?”
I cringed at the sound of Karl’s voice. He was the last person I wanted to see at that moment. I groped for some tissues to wipe my face, and just before I began to scrub at my tears, and my makeup along with it, Karl grabbed my wrists.
“Don’t, you’ll ruin your makeup.”
I lifted my gaze to Karl’s face. Strangely his expression was one of sympathy.
“What do you want?” I croaked. “Can’t you leave me alone for two minutes?”
“They’re all waiting for you. Maurice wants you to give the dance another go.”
“Yeah, I’m sure he does. I’m sure he’s waiting to tell me to go home and forget this stupid idea of being on the stage.” I jerked my hands free and dabbed carefully at my cheeks.
“What happened out there?” Karl asked.
“I fucked up, or hadn’t you noticed? I’m surprised you’ve nothing to say about it.” I adopted his usual taunting tone. “Whoever heard of a cat falling over its own feet? Golly, Mummy and Daddy will be so disappointed.”
Karl’s face fell and he lowered his bright green eyes.
“Cat got your tongue?” I sneered.
“I’m sorry.” He looked up again. “I mean it. I know I go too far sometimes. I only joke around, but I think everyone sees me as the clown and just laughs at the stuff I say. I’m sorry if I’ve said things that upset you.”
“The trouble is, you don’t think at all. You take the piss out of everyone and the hell with how they might feel about it.” My anger returned and my tears dried. I was furious with the man who made my life a misery for the past two days. I’d started to dread the show even more than I dreaded the stage-fright, due to the thought of having to spend six months seeing him every day. I remembered I overcame the stage-fright before, and I could certainly do it again if I didn’t have to contend with the idiot’s torment. I sprang to my feet. “Do you want to know why I’m really doing this?”
Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.
Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.
Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.
Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.