Read Taking Care Of Leah Online

Authors: Charlotte Howard

Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction

Taking Care Of Leah (24 page)

Carson pulls me close. “I won four balls on the National Lottery on Saturday and invested the spoils in multi-buy Oreos. Pop by my lair at break. I might ’av it cracked.”

I bite back my professional itch to correct him—it’s a basement dumping ground next to the boiler room with a wasps’ nest in the corner. It isn’t a lair—or, for that matter, a place accustomed to hygiene. But if stinking of something stale and foreboding qualifies as a lair—then a lair it sadly must be.

“Oreos noted. We’ll meet later.” I tap on my nose. “At least Darby was a class player. If he has to come—better that he be top drawer. But why Netherfield? Why teach when you’ve scaled football’s heights?”

“He said, and I quote from the application form, ‘for grass roots experience of an inner-city school and to apply opportunities for social inclusion for youth in sports, specifically football’.”

I’m tempted to ask if Matt Riley’s mother is a code cracker spy in her free time. The woman needs a lesson on the purpose of dusters.

“Why doesn’t he go for club manager or coach?”

“Running a bookies would be better than this game, girl. But his mysteries will be revealed in time.” Jack’s phone blasts a vintage chorus of
Happy Days Are Here Again
. “Time is a wily mistress.” He walks off to attend to his summons.

The bell sounds and I stride away with purpose for the English staffroom. And that’s when I glimpse him—halfway down the corridor, deep in conversation with Dodgy Rogerson. He’s wearing casual trousers, a waistcoat and an open-necked shirt. I’m grudgingly impressed at how ruddy good Will Darby looks in the flesh.

His hair is dark and curling at his collar. He’s bronzed as a gypsy prince who’s spent time aboard a pirate ship. The hairs on the backs of my hands prick up and I stand gawping, not wanting to move yet. I’d blame the shoes but I’d be lying.

I’m expecting him to notice me but he’s avidly attending to Rogerson’s spiel. Not that I think planets will collide or he’d recognize me from the stadium crowd at past matches or anything. I mean, at over five feet seven I’m no pocket Venus, but I think I’ve nice eyes, decent legs in heels and wavy brown hair that can behave when I remember to condition and drag a brush through it. I continue to stand, and still not a glance comes within a meter of me.

He’s starting to make me feel like Lizzy Bennet at the Assembly when
she’s not pleasing enough to tempt Mr. Fancy Buns Darcy
. I can’t muster a demi-glance here.

Will Darby—post young playboy footballer days—looks eerily like Sebastian Silver in
The Guy with the Silver Tie
. The book that started me reading erotica—my secret hobby. Shit, this is bad.

“Oh, Izzy. The very person. Can you help me with these?”

Our head of department Dibian Hicks barrels toward me with a tower of Krispy Kreme doughnut boxes. It’s been many a year since Dibian bent down to clip her toenails. I can’t see Krispy Kremes saving her on pedicures or assisting slimming aspirations. She’s way too generous with her snack donations.

“Be a doll and open the door. My hands are like fly paper from a breakfast doughnut on the north circular.”

“Course.” I nod toward the new PE teacher. “Have you spied the sex god in our midst? Sports head’s in the building.”

Dibian flutters her eyelashes like a flapper girl. “Yes, darling. And I read that he loves a woman with curves! My ship might be in. Before I forget, Izzy—special teaching staff meeting in the staffroom tomorrow lunchtime. Food will be provided. All must attend.”

I push the door then rush to decant my stuff and grab my room keys. The mental horror of envisaging Dibian and Will in flagrante delicto derails me from quizzing her on the purpose of the meeting.

Will Darby at Netherfield—it’s like finding out George Clooney tap dances. In a tutu and a fez.

In such moments, I find myself asking how one of my favorite literary heroines would react. Lizzy Bennet would grab her bonnet, take a bracing walk then sew a voodoo curse into a sampler. I’ll have to be content with thirty hormonal second years and Muriel Spark in ten minutes.

This morning’s revelations and seeing Will Darby in the flesh have unsettled me. And put me right off Dibian’s haul of sticky Krispy Kremes.




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About the Author



British author Charlotte Howard was born in Oman and spent much of the first part of her life flitting between Oman, Scotland, and England. Now settled in Somerset, Charlotte lives with her husband, two children, and growing menagerie of pets.


Her career as a writer began at an early age, with a poem being featured in an anthology for the East Midlands. Since then Charlotte has written many short stories and poems and finally wrote her first full-length piece of fiction in 2010.


During what little spare time she has, Charlotte enjoys reading and writing (of course), spending time with her family and watching action movies whilst eating curry and drinking tea.


Charlotte is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Yeovil Creative Writers Group.


[email protected]


Charlotte loves to hear from readers. You can find her contact information, website and author biography at















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