New Release Sneak Peak
Goddess OF THE MOON
All she needed was her, and to let go.
Diana Maddox stood at the bar feeling somewhat out of her comfort zone. She wasn’t the social butterfly type, unlike her younger sister Zara, and newly acquired elder sister, Scarlett. However, the one thing she was very good at was blending in and becoming inconspicuous. Which didn’t help when you were at the bar trying to attract the attention of someone who could create the monstrosity that her sister-in-law, Sunny, was drinking.
She stared across the bar at herself in the mirror, her blonde hair piled messily up on her head in what Zara called a chic bun. Diana called it a mess and not how she would usually be seen while out: wearing a dress that seemed very out of place here and shoes that were definitely not made to be worn for this long.
But here she was, standing at the bar in a gay club, celebrating her mother’s engagement to said older sister, Scarlett.
That was a long story, but suffice to say, her father’s shenanigans had definitely come back to bite him on the ass when her mother developed Scarlett Fever. God, it was all so Jeremy Kyle, she thought, but at least her brother, Adam, had calmed down.
She was caught off guard when a member of the bar team leaned towards her.
“What can I get ya?” she shouted over the music and general hubbub of noise that a group of excited and loud people next to Diana were creating.
“Oh.” Diana felt like an idiot just saying it. “One Rumpy Pumpy please, and a soda and lime, with extra ice, thank you.”
“What?” The girl cupped her ear and scrunched up half her face trying to hear what Diana had said.
Diana leaned across the bar as much as she could without flat out laying across it. She raised her voice and spoke slowly as though she were speaking to Jacob, her baby nephew. “I said, one Rumpy Pumpy, and a lime and soda, with extra ice.”
“Got ya.” The girl winked and held up a thumb. Her bright pink hair looked almost neon under the lighting. She grabbed a glass and started to pour spirits like they were free, no measures, which Diana thought was quite ridiculous. Her thoughts about that however were soon dispersed when she felt a bump against her hip.
Spinning around, Diana came face to face with a rather handsome-looking woman. Dark hair shaved at the back and sides, but quiffed on top. It looked like it had taken ages to cement into place. Slightly shorter than Diana, though to be fair, Diana was wearing heels. She always felt sexier, more confident in heels. She had a nice smile, Diana thought as the woman said, “Sorry,” and backed up, looking a little apologetic as she smiled confidently, “I’m trying to get to the bar, but it’s packed.”
“Oh, of course,” Diana moved to the side a little and digested the outfit, a red plaid shirt with a white t-shirt underneath and black jeans that were just smart enough to be considered casual over sloppy. “I’m served, just waiting for the drinks, so squeeze in.”
“Shannon,” she said, holding out a hand as they moved together, allowing her to get closer to the bar while Diana stepped back further. “And you are?”
Never one to be impolite, Diana answered, “Diana. Nice to meet you.”
Shannon sized her up, clearly liking what she saw. “Likewise.”
“One Rumpy Pumpy and a lime and soda, £14.60,” the girl behind the bar shouted as she slid the drinks towards where Shannon now stood.
“Rumpy Pumpy, hey?” Shannon winked, and threw another smile Diana’s way. “Didn’t quite take you for one of those.”
Diana smiled. “Really? What did you take me for?” She leaned across and paid the bill with her card before taking the cold, wet glasses in her hands.
“Something much more classy, a Negroni maybe, or an Aperol Spritz?”
Narrowing her eyes, Diana smiled. “Are you flirting with me? Because I should tell you, I’m not gay. I’m here with my mother and my— her fiancée.”
Shannon licked her lips and considered that information. “Well, I guess I was, but—” She shrugged. “It doesn’t matter, it’s just nice to actually speak to someone in here who answers without the whole, ‘I’ve got a girlfriend’ thrown back at you for just saying hello.” She chuckled, and Diana noticed the way her nose scrunched much like her own when she found something amusing.
Glancing around, she also noticed her mother and Scarlett staring over at them, looking away quickly when it looked as though they might get caught gawping. Diana internally rolled her eyes.
“I should get back,” Diana said, holding up the glasses as proof that she did have a reason to leave the conversation.
“Sure, but listen, can I get your number? Maybe we can meet for a coffee? I’m new to the area and making friends isn’t as easy when you’re a grown-up.”
“You’re not wrong there.” Diana sighed. Her own friendship circle had been shrinking for years. “Go on then, have you got a pen?”
Shannon laughed. “I think in this day and age, we can just add it to the phone.”
“Very true.” Diana grinned. “It’s 07685…” She watched as deft fingers typed it in. “…043852.”
“Cool, I’ll drop you a text, so you have my number. Enjoy the rest of your night.”
Diana nodded and turned to leave. “You too,” she said over her shoulder, taking one last look at her new friend.
As she made her way through the throng back to where her group had plonked themselves, she rolled her eyes at the sight of her mother and Scarlett kissing again. Not that she was a prude per se, but it did kind of become a non-stop event if they weren’t challenged.
“Oh, can I get a swig?” Zara said, bounding up to her like a demented puppy. Her younger sister made a grab for the glass of colourful liquid.
“No, that’s for Sunny,” Diana said quickly, pulling it away. “You can have some of my soda.”
Zara scrunched her face up at that idea. “Sunny is asleep, look.”
It was indeed the case. Their sister-in-law had clearly had enough Rumpy Pumpy already. “Fine, here, and tell Adam he needs to take his wife home.”
Laughing, Zara winked and walked backwards onto the dancefloor holding the drink aloft in victory, before she turned and danced her way towards their brother, who was equally as sloshed.
“Dear God.” Diana sighed at the potential carnage that was ensuing all around her. She breathed deeply and reminded herself that they were happy – drunk on love or alcohol, but happy, and that was all that really mattered.
“Hey.” Scarlett grinned up at her. “We were just thinking it’s probably time to get going.”
“Yes, I agree.” Diana looked at Sunny once more. “She’s going to have one hell of a hangover in the morning.”
“She absolutely is.” Her mum smiled, holding her hand out for Scarlett to help her up. The plaster cast on her leg was still a cumbersome annoyance.
“I’ll go and round up the other two,” Diana said. She was just about to turn around when she felt something vibrating in her pocket. Pulling her phone out, she read the message quickly.
Shannon: This is my number, just checking this is yours.
Diana looked up and towards the bar where Shannon stood watching her. She raised her beer glass and grinned. Diana felt her cheeks blushing. Quickly, she pushed through the crowd to find her siblings.
Adam had his shirt unbuttoned, and was swinging around a scaffold pole, egged on by Zara and a group of men in drag, with very impressive heels, she thought quickly to herself before she beelined for Adam and poked him on the arm.
“Okay, you two, time to break this fun up. Mum wants to go home, and Sunny is…well, Adam you’re going to need a cab.”
“Don’t worry, darling, we’ll take care of him.” A tall man in a blonde wig winked at her.
“Oh, I bet you would, and if he wasn’t married, I might have considered leaving him, but I happen to love my sister-in-law, so you’re going to have to find another plaything. Adam, Zara, let’s go. Right now,” she said sternly, and both siblings halted their fun in an instant.
“Yes, bossy.” Zara giggled, linking her arm through Adam’s as they followed behind, making faces like 5-year-olds.
Scarlett took one look at them all and giggled. “I’ve ordered Adam and Sunny an Uber.”
“Good plan.” She watched as her mum gently shook Sunny awake. “Utter carnage,” Diana muttered.
“You can put your foot down,” Zara said as she reached between the seats from the back of the car in an attempt to turn the music up as Diana drove her mum’s car.
Sticking to the speed limit, despite it being almost 2. a.m., Diana ignored her as she tried to focus on the road and the fact that she wasn’t used to driving this car. If she were honest, she didn’t like it. It was far too big and she much preferred her little run-about, but they wouldn’t have all fit into that, especially with her mum’s leg still in plaster.
Diana almost jumped when their mother shouted quite firmly, “Zara, will you put your seatbelt back on and sit quietly.” Her mum scolding Zara reminded her how much she used to hate travelling with Zara as a child.
“Aw, I just want to keep dancing. I can’t believe Adam had to take Sunny home.” She fell into a fit of giggles. “Drunk on Rumpy Pumpy, I’m never letting them forget that.”
Diana glanced in the rear-view mirror at her sisters. Zara bouncing and exuberant, Scarlett smiling to herself and enjoying the light buzz she had going on.
“She’s going to have one hell of a headache in the morning,” Diana said, chuckling along with them. It had been a fun night.
Zara grabbed the back of Diana’s seat and pulled herself forward as much as the newly locked-in seatbelt would allow, which meant Diana was yanked backwards, much to her annoyance. She remained quiet and focused on getting them all home.
That was until, Zara slurred, “And, who’s your new friend?”
Diana glanced back at her through the rear-view mirror again and met her sister’s smiling eyes. “Her name’s Shannon.”
She became acutely aware that all eyes were now on her.
“What?” Diana asked, checking her face in the mirror.
“Is that all we’re getting?” her mum teased. “You met a girl in a gay bar and spent ten minutes chatting to her and then exchanged numbers—”
“Oh my god, were you all spying on me?”
Zara clapped her hands. “Do you have a date?”
“We weren’t spying,” Scarlett attempted to say before Diana glared at her through the mirror. It didn’t go amiss by Diana that Scarlett was trying not to laugh.
“It’s not a date.” Diana straightened up, thankful the turning to their street was coming up. “We’re just going to have a coffee and talk about—”
“It’s a date,” everyone shouted at her and, for the first time, she wondered what it was that she had gotten herself into.