A Collection of Novelettes
Five women, five different issues, five ‘feel-good’ reads.
And Then She Shines brings together brings together four previously published novelettes, along with Helen Libby’s new story, Cassie’s Choice.
Can you keep a secret? All the clothes Ruby’s bought may have filled her wardrobe, but they haven’t helped her to feel fulfilled. She’s been holding back on her dream of travelling for years. And now Ruby’s in debt. A LOT of debt. She’s so ashamed. She doesn’t want anyone to know, not even her boyfriend, David. He’s so careful with money – he wouldn’t understand. Ruby’s trying to change. She wants financial stability AND a good relationship. Will she be able to resolve her debt before David discovers her secret?
Stay or go? Anna’s a romantic. She loves musical theatre, but her life is a far cry from her favourite shows. When her boyfriend Joe tells her he doesn’t love her anymore, she doesn’t know what to do. Anna just wants to be loved, but Joe suffers from depression, and they’ve both been unhappy for a long time. A last minute trip to Paris gives Anna some time to reflect, and shows her whether life can ever really be like a musical.
“People who love me leave me.” Laura makes a New Year’s resolution – to find her birth mother. She needs answers. What she doesn’t need is a relationship, so when things start getting serious between her and Rob, she does her best to hold back. Only Rob won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and Laura is torn. Will Laura find her birth mother? And will love find a way?
He knows everything about her. The only thing she knows about him is that he’s her husband. Can she fall in love with him for a second time? Ella’s lost her memory – the last ten years of her life. Her friends and family want her to slot back into place, only it’s not that easy. Will Ella’s memory return? Does she need to remember her husband in order to love him again? Join Ella on her journey of self-discovery.
“Something is missing from my life, and I can’t pinpoint what it is. Could it be a baby? Maybe.”
What if you think you want a child, but your partner doesn’t? It’s time for Cassie to make her mind up. Does she want a baby, or not? If she does, is she willing to leave her beloved husband, Alex, in order to start again? Can you miss something you’ve never had? Does Cassie need a baby in order to feel fulfilled? So many questions, and she’s running out of time.
Thank you so much for taking part in this book blog tour! I really appreciate it.
Extract from Love, Anna by Helen Libby (taken from And Then She Shines: A Collection of Novelettes)
To set the scene: Anna’s boyfriend, Joe, has been suffering from depression for the last couple of years. The couple have been together for six years. Anna’s still very much in love with Joe, but she’s finding life with him increasingly frustrating. She wants the old Joe back.
Joe’s waiting for me in the living room when I arrive home from work, which is a nice surprise since he doesn’t normally come to greet me. ‘Is everything all right, Joe?’
He stops pacing and turns slowly to face me. His blank expression unnerves me. ‘Joe?’ I take a step forward but he puts a hand out to stop me.
‘I don’t know how to say this, so I’ll just come out with it. I don’t love you, Anna. I’m sorry.’
Except he doesn’t look sorry, standing there looking at me through dead eyes. I don’t react at first. Joe’s words are floating round in the air, but they haven’t penetrated yet. I register sitting down on the sofa. I can hear the clock ticking on the shelving unit. I notice a few crumbs on the floor. Funny the things which are coming into my mind right now. It’s as though a part of me has left my body, rising further and further until it can view the situation from ceiling height.
I’ve been worrying about this for a while now, that Joe doesn’t love me, that I’m not good enough. A sob escapes me. I swallow hard and try to concentrate on my breathing in a bid not to cry in front of him.
I wish he’d come over to me, put an arm round me, the way he used to in the past if I was upset about something, tell me it’s a joke even (some joke). But he doesn’t, he just stands there, and when I look up he won’t meet my gaze.
I clear my throat. ‘Is it something I’ve done?’ I manage to get out, hating the fact that my voice shakes.
‘I’m not sure I’ve ever loved you.’
For one long moment my heart stops. Still he won’t look at me. A ginormous lump rises in my throat and with a strangled cry I leap up from the sofa and stumble my way out of the room. I head for the bedroom and once I’m there I immediately start to grab clothes.
Hurt doesn’t describe it. My heart feels as though it’s cracking, more fissures appearing with each second across its surface, red hot lava erupting into my chest.
Joe doesn’t love me; he’s never loved me. There’s no comeback from that. No point talking to him – I don’t want to hear a repeat of those words, thank you very much.
What do I do? Because I can’t stay here, not now. I don’t want to spend another minute under the same roof as Joe. I pause for a moment. I can stay at my mum and dad’s house temporarily. They live nearby. But even that’s too close, I want to get as far away as possible.
A thought occurs to me. Reaching for my handbag, I take out my phone and hit the call button. She answers immediately.
‘Bex? Is it too late for me to change my mind? Can I come to Paris with you?’
Please note: this novelette can be bought as a standalone title, or as part of the collection, And Then She Shines.
Thank you, Helen Libby and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Originally from North Wales, Helen currently lives in Shropshire with her husband and their dog. Helen worked for many years in the public sector and has an administrative background. She writes both fiction and non-fiction. As well as being an indie author, Helen is a self-publishing consultant, offering editorial, self-publishing, and writing services.