Authors: Irvine Welsh
About the Book
Rebecca Navarro, best-selling authoress of Regency romances, suffers a paralysing stroke. Assisted by her nurse, Rebecca plans her revenge on her unfaithful husband. But will Freddy Royle, hospital trustee, celebrity and necrophiliac, thwart those plans? Dave Thornton, soccer thug, has lost his heart to flawed beauty Samantha Worthington. Together they go in search of the man who marketed the drug that crippled her – in order to cripple him. Lloyd from Leith has a transfiguring passion for the unhappily married Heather. Together they explore the true nature of house music and chemical romance. Will their ardour fizzle and die in the grim backstreets of Edinburgh, or will it ignite and blaze like a thousand suns?
About the Author
Irvine Welsh is the author of eight novels and four books of shorter fiction. His most recent novel
is the prequel to the bestselling
. He currently lives in Chicago.
Also by Irvine Welsh
The Acid House
Marabou Stork Nightmares
The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs
If You Liked School, You’ll Love Work …
You’ll Have Had Your Hole
Babylon Heights (with Dean Cavanagh)
The Acid House
To Sandy MacNair
Ecstatic love and more to Anne, my friends and family, and all the good people – you know who you are.
Thanks to Robin at the publishers for his diligence and support.
Thanks to Paolo for the Marv rarities, especially Piece of Clay; Toni for the eurotechno; Janet and Tracy for the happy house; and Dino and Frank for the gabber. Nice one to Antoinette for the stereo and Bernard for the gaff.
Love to all the posses in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Amsterdam, London, Manchester, Newcastle, New York, San Francisco and Munich.
Glory to the Hibees.
They say that death kills you, but death doesn’t kill you. Boredom and indifference kill you
I Need More
, Iggy Pop
Lorraine Goes To Livingston
A Rave and Regency Romance
For Debbie Donovan and Gary Dunn
1 Rebecca’s Chocolates
Rebecca Navarro sat in her spacious conservatory and looked out across the bright, fresh garden. Perky was down at the bottom end by the old stone wall, pruning the rose-bushes. She could just about make out the suggestion of that familiar pre-occupied frown on his brow, her view distorted by the sun shining strongly into her face through the glass. She felt floaty, drowsy and dislocated in the heat. Succumbing to it, she allowed the heavy typescript to slip through her hands and fall onto the glass coffee table with a fat thump. The first page bore the heading:
UNTITLED – WORK IN PROGRESS
(Miss May Regency Romance No. 14.)
A dark cloud hovered ominously in front of the sun, breaking its spell on Rebecca. She took the opportunity to steal a brief glance at her reflection in the now-darkened glass of the partition door. This triggered a brief spasm of self-loathing before she altered her position from profile to face-on and sucked in her cheeks. The new image obliterated the one of sagging-flesh-hanging-from-the-jawline to the extent that Rebecca felt justified in giving herself a little reward.
Perky was engrossed in his gardening, or pretending to be. The Navarros employed a man to do the gardening and he undertook his duties thoroughly and professionally, but Perky would always find a pretext to go out and do some pottering. He claimed it helped him to think. Rebecca could never, for the life of her, imagine what her husband had to think about.
Despite Perky’s preoccupation however, Rebecca was still swift and furtive as her hand reached across to the box. She pulled up the
layer and quickly removed two rum truffles from the bottom section. She crammed them into her mouth, the sickly sensation almost making her faint, and started to chew violently. The trick was to consume as quickly as possible; in doing it this way there was a sense that the body could be cheated, conned into processing the calories as a block lot, letting them go through as two little items.
This self-delusion could not be sustained as the vile, sweet sickness hit her stomach. She could
her body slowly and agonisingly breaking down those ugly poisons, conducting a meticulous inventory of calories and toxins present before distributing them to the parts of the body where they would do the most damage.
So at first Rebecca thought that she was experiencing one of her familiar anxiety attacks when it hit her: that slow, burning pain. It took a couple of seconds before the possibility, then the actuality, dawned on her, that it was more than that. She couldn’t breathe as her ears began to ring and the world around her started to spin. Rebecca fell heavily from her chair to the floor of the conservatory, gripping her throat, her face twisting to one side, chocolate and saliva spilling from her mouth.
A few yards away, Perky chopped at the rose-bushes. Buggers want spraying, he thought, as he stood back to assess his work. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something twitching on the conservatory floor …
2 Yasmin Goes To Yeovil
Yvonne Croft picked up the copy of the book
Yasmin Goes To Yeovil
by Rebecca Navarro. She had scoffed at her mother’s addiction to this series of pulp romantic fiction known as the
Miss May Regency Romances
, but she just couldn’t leave this book alone. There seemed, times, she considered, when its hold on her reached fearsome levels. Yvonne sat up in the lotus position in her large wicker basket chair, one of the few items of furniture alongside the single bed, the wooden wardrobe, the chest of drawers and the miniature sink in her small rectangular room in the nurses’ home of St Hubbin’s Hospital in London.
She was greedily devouring the last two pages of the book, the climax to this particular romance. Yvonne Croft knew what would happen. She knew that the wily match-maker Miss May (who turned up in every Rebecca Navarro novel in various incarnations) would expose Sir Rodney de Mourney as an unspeakable cad and that the sensuous, tempestuous and untameable Yasmin Delacourt would be united with her true love, the dashing Tom Resnick, just as in Rebecca Navarro’s previous work
Lucy Goes To Liverpool
, where the lovely heroine was saved from kidnap, the smuggler ship and a life of white slavery at the hands of the evil Milburn D’Arcy, by dashing East India Company official Quentin Hammond.
Yvonne nonetheless read with enthusiasm, and was transported into a world of romance, a world free from the reality of eight-hour backshifts on geriatric wards, looking after decaying, incontinent people who had degenerated into sagging, wheezing, brittle, twisted parodies of themselves as they prepared to die.
Tom Resnick rode like the wind. He knew that his steadfast mare was in great pain and that he risked Midnight’s lameness by pushing the loyal and noble beast with such savage determination. And for what? His heart heavy, Tom knew that he would never reach Brondy Hall before Yasmin was joined in marriage to the despicable Sir Rodney de Mourney, that trickster who, unbeknown to his beautiful angel, was preparing to swindle her out of her fortune and reduce that lovely creature to the role of imprisoned concubine
At the ball, Sir Rodney was relaxed and cheerful. Yasmin had never looked so beautiful. Her virtue would be his tonight, and how Sir Rodney would savour the final surrender of this headstrong filly. Lord Beaumont stood by his friend’s side. – Your bride-to-be is indeed a treasure. To be frank with you, Rodney, my dear friend, I thought that you would never win her heart, convinced as I was that she had seen us both as frippery fellows indeed
– Never underestimate a huntsman, my friend, Sir Rodney smiled. – I am far too experienced a sportsman to pursue my quarry too closely. I simply held back and waited for the ideal opportunity to arise before administering the
coup de grâce.
– Despatching the troublesome Resnick overseas, I’ll wager
Sir Rodney raised an eyebrow and lowered his voice. – Please be a little more discreet, my friend, he looked around shiftily and, convinced that nobody had heard them over the noise of the band that played the waltz, continued – yes, I arranged for Resnick’s unexpected commission with the Sussex Rangers and his posting to Belgium. Hopefully Boney’s marksmen have delivered the knave to hell even as we speak!
– A good thing too, Beaumont smiled, – for the lady Yasmin had sadly not conducted herself in the manner appropriate to a delicately nurtured female. She seemed to know little discomfiture on that occasion when you and I visited her; finding her embroiled in the concerns of someone no more than an urchin – certainly far beneath the notice of any aspirant to social heights!