They say men can’t multi-task, well, Jeff Gardiner proves them wrong! He’s an editor (he’s edited two of my novels: Jessamine and Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me), an author of some truly fab books, an actor, a teacher, the list goes on…! I’m thrilled to have him on my blog today talking about his book – Treading on Dreams – which is at the sale price of 99p/99c at the moment. Grab a coffee, have a read and then go one-click. I have and I can’t wait to get stuck in. Jeff, over to you…
Hi Shani. Thanks for having me on your blog. It’s kind of you to let me do a guest post about my contemporary novel, TREADING ON DREAMS (Tirgearr Publishing) which is currently at the sale price of only 99p/99c. It explores the difficult subjects of unrequited love and obsession, with student, Donny, pining for housemate, Selena, who is engaged to the seemingly perfect, and older, Melvin. In the extract below, Donny finally gets the chance to spend a day with Selena – alone. He tries everything in his power to not waste this opportunity to impress her.
One recent reviewer said: “The journey is intriguing and Jeff Gardiner depicts it with adept skill! Treading on Dreams is an engaging, fast-paced story that defies prediction and yet has enough intrigue and romance to totally thrill every reader!” (Crystal Book Reviews)
Donny is obsessed with his housemate, Selena – but his love is unrequited. He enthusiastically accepts her willing friendship, which only fuels his deepening fantasies.
Jaz is their crazy landlord who likes sleeping with women – lots of them. He takes pleasure in educating the once innocent Donny in the hedonistic pleasures of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. It blows Donny’s mind.
Selena is engaged to Melvin – the perfect man – but is also keen to befriend the ever-demanding Donny … until she falls pregnant and her wedding looms.
Donny expresses his true feelings at the wedding, causing mayhem and anger. But there remains a chink of hope: perhaps Selena’s marriage to Melvin is not quite as perfect as it seems.
A few days later, Selena furnished him with the best news ever:
‘I’m afraid Melvin can’t make it on Saturday now. Some vital medical conference has come up. Do you still want to go to London?’
He had to fight to stop himself from grabbing her and kissing her on the spot. Here was his chance to spend an entire day with Selena and have her to himself. At night, he imagined a million ways to seduce her, fantasising kissing her and telling her how beautiful she was.
Finally, the great day arrived and Donny’s ablutions and preparations became slightly excessive. Neatly shaved, doused in cheap aftershave, and dressed smartly in chinos and a collared shirt, he made bacon sandwiches for them both for breakfast to set them up for the long day ahead.
On the tube, they got on the first District Line train, got off at South Kensington, walked through the subway and out to the corner of Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road where ahead of them stood the imposing edifice of the Natural History Museum.
‘I remember coming here when I was five,’ Donny told her. ‘The blue whale was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. I couldn’t believe its enormous dimensions. I never realised that they’re bigger than any dinosaur that ever lived. Awesome.’
They entered the crowded front lobby. Families sat round the dinosaur skeletons; groups of foreign tourists huddled together to listen to talks given in various languages. Donny followed the complex map to sort out a logical pathway through the labyrinthine galleries.
Pointing to a booth, Selena followed him into the darkness where a film played about sperm whales. It was a magnificent sight to watch them up-end and flick their tails leaving the fluke standing perpendicular in slow motion.
‘Isn’t nature incredible?’
His heart raced when Selena decided to rest her head on his shoulder. The touch of her cheek through his shirt coupled with the hot darkness made him flush until he had difficulty breathing. How he wanted to hold this moment in time. Sitting stock-still, not daring to move, he closed his eyes and imagined what her skin would feel like to touch.
He finally awoke from his reverie when Selena moved and stood up.
‘Let’s find some lunch.’
They chose a small brasserie and ordered lunch. Selena selected scampi and potato skins, whilst Donny preferred the Cajun chicken with fries.
Next, they caught a tube to Covent Garden.
As they ambled down a narrow side street, they slowed down behind a woman who was dawdling in front of them. From nowhere Donny was shoved firmly aside. A figure dashed past, towards the woman and before their very eyes, he snatched her handbag from her shoulder. She screamed and turned round to them.
‘My handbag. He nicked my handbag. Get him!’
At first, Donny wondered whom she was speaking to. The swiftness of the action left him confused. He’d just seen a crime happen and this poor lady was shouting for him to help. He looked ahead of her and saw the man turn the corner. If he ran, he might catch him. But it would be useless. He’d be lost in the crowds never able to keep up. So he stayed where he was. The woman breathed heavily and leant against a shop window. Selena went to comfort her, leaving Donny ambling behind. He knew he should say something.
‘He’d gone before I could do anything. Sorry.’
‘Call yourself a man? My purse, credit cards, driving license, mobile…what am I gonna do? Thanks for nothing.’
My God, how stupid of him. Why had he hesitated? Why didn’t he run after the thief? He imagined now what a hero he might have been if he’d run and called out, even scared the man into dropping the bag, but it was too late now. The man had got away and he looked like a coward. He kicked a stone and walked on. Selena caught up with him.
‘It’s okay, Donny, there was nothing you could do. She doesn’t want any help. I said I’d phone the police but she got funny with me. I assume she’s alright.’
‘Let’s go home.’
On the tube train, Selena fell asleep and Donny shuffled in his seat until he positioned his arm around her and the scent of her hair filled his nostrils. He gently woke her up when they drew into Ealing Broadway station.
What would it be like to wake up next to her each morning?
During the short walk home, their hands met and Donny took hold of hers. To his delight, she didn’t complain or pull free. As they reached the front door, their hands unclasped.
‘Thanks for a lovely day, Donny. I’ve really enjoyed myself.’
‘No, thank you. I had the best time ever. You’re great company.’
‘Well, I suppose I should get to bed,’ Selena yawned.
‘Can I tempt you to a drink? Bottle of white?’
‘No, really, I shouldn’t or I’ll never get up in the morning.’
‘Okay. See you sometime tomorrow then. Night.’
She disappeared upstairs.
Donny stayed downstairs for a while, flicking through the channels before deciding to go up himself. Once in his pyjamas, he contemplated creeping into Selena’s room just to glimpse her once more, but knew he never would.
Snapshots of the day pulsed through his head like an electric current filling him with a thrilling sense of confusion and bliss. But then suddenly they were all wiped away by the memory of a shadow pushing past him, followed by a scuffle, and scream.
‘Call yourself a man?’
Buy Links for TREADING ON DREAMS (only 99p/99c for the first two weeks in April):
Tirgearr Publishing: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Gardiner_Jeff/treading-on-dreams.htm
Jeff Gardiner is a UK writer who was born in Jos, Nigeria. His first novel, Myopia explores bullying and prejudice among teenagers. Igboland is a novel of passion and conflict set in war-torn West Africa. Treading On Dreams is a tale of obsession and unrequited love. He has recently signed a three book deal with Accent Press for a trilogy of YA fantasy novels.
His acclaimed collection of short stories, A Glimpse of the Numinous, contains horror, romance and humour. Many of his short stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines. Jeff also has a work of non-fiction to his name: The Law of Chaos: the Multiverse of Michael Moorcock.