I always listen to music when I’m writing and you wouldn’t believe how eclectic my playlist is. Some songs are for getting in the writing mindset, others represent specific characters. It goes something like this:
For when I don’t want to hear lyrics while I’m writing: Hans Zimmer Soundtracks
For the fight scenes: The Rocky soundtrack
For Tommy: Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Hero’ and The Weather Girls’ ‘It’s Raining Men’
O’Connell’s Ring Music: Fort Minor’s ‘Remember the Name’
Here’s a short excerpt from The Aftermath:
“Okay. Open your eyes. What do you think?” I took my hands away and let Em look. This was almost as nerve wracking as asking her to marry me. Back then I was asking her to forget all the crap surrounding me and imagine a better version who’d make something of themselves. I was asking her to take a chance on me. Now I was doing the same with this house.
Tommy was right. It was a shit hole. But when I was done, it would be a palace. A home for the two of us no one could ever take away. I stared at her expression, looking for any sign at all about how she felt.
“I love it,” she whispered, looking up at it in awe. I let out a deep breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding.
“I know it doesn’t look like much now, but imagine if I cleared out and repaired the front garden, put in new windows and new fencing. Liam and I have gone over this place inch by inch, and the roof is sound. With a bit of hard work, it’ll look great.”
I was rambling now. She’d already agreed to it, so I have no idea why I was giving her the hard sell.
“Can we afford it?” she asked, her eyes full of wonder.
“It’d take all our money and then some. But I’ve worked out a loan with Danny for what we need, and we can pay him back with the rent money we’ll save on our flat. We’ll have to fix it up on a budget but the boys have offered to help with the labor.”
With a squeal, Em threw her arms around my neck and kissed me loudly. “I can’t believe you found this place. It’s going to be amazing! I know I can’t do any building work but I can clean, strip wallpaper, and paint,” she babbled excitedly. “Ooow, we could go and get some paint samples today,” she suggested.
“We haven’t even had an offer accepted yet,” I pointed out with a chuckle.
“I know, but there’s nothing wrong with planning ahead. Can we look inside?”
“Sure. The agent is meeting us in a few minutes to show us around. It’s pretty rough inside, but the rooms are a nice size. You just have to use your imagination.”
“I can do that,” she whispered as she smiled at me adoringly. Her eyes were full of everything I’d felt when I’d first seen the place, and I knew she was imagining our future in a real home of our own.
My heart was so full I felt invincible. The way she was looking at me, you’d think I’d built this place brick by brick myself. I’d spend the rest of the day trailing after her doing whatever she liked just to keep that look. With another squeal, she covered my face in tiny kisses, making me laugh, until a discrete cough sounded behind us.
“Are you here for the viewing?” a skinny kid who looked about my age asked.
“Yes please,” Em answered. She was lit up inside and practically radiated happiness. People couldn’t help but be charmed by her natural warmth, and he was no exception. He smiled broadly at her and with a wink said, “Let’s go and check it out.”
My crossed arms and fierce glare told him that I wouldn’t tolerate another wink, and he got the message as he messed around with the keys nervously. Rolling her eyes, Em pulled on my arms until I uncrossed them and clasped her fingers between mine. She was used to me getting territorial around her but she really had no idea how many hungry looks followed her around.
The agent used his shoulder to push open the front door, past a mountain of junk mail, then fussed about brushing the dirt and paint chips off his suit. The previous owner really had gone to town with a baseball bat, and literally everything would need replacing but it didn’t matter. The more we looked, the more Em fell in love.
By the time we were done, there were stars in her eyes. Having realized that flirting with Em was hazardous to his health, the agent couldn’t get out of there quick enough. He told us to call the office if we wanted to make an offer.
“I’ll be in touch,” I promised him menacingly, mostly just to fuck with him, but he practically wet himself as he hightailed it back to his car. Em was so caught up in the house she didn’t notice. It was going to be a hell of a day.
About the author:
USA Today bestselling author R.J. Prescott was born in Cardiff, South Wales, and studied law at the University of Bristol, England. Four weeks before graduation she fell in love, and stayed. Ten years later, she convinced her crazy, wonderful firefighter husband to move back to Cardiff where they now live with their two equally crazy sons.