One Night Stand

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Headline Little Black Dress
October 4, 2007 (Hardcover)
January 10, 2008 (Paperback)

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A BCA book club pick of the month.

Estelle Connor may have written seventeen steamy novels, but her own life is more mundane. In fact the nearest she comes to sex is having to listen through the thin walls of her house as her friend and neighbour, Hugh, makes love to an ever-changing stream of female conquests. But then one night she makes a one-night-only conquest of her own, only to wake up alone, a bit repentant, and as she later realises, very pregnant. Desperate to find her missing lover, if only to tell him he’s going to be a father, she enlists the help of Hugh to help her search – but begins to realise that the perfect partner could have been right under her nose all this time...

More About One Night Stand

I started this book while pregnant with my son, and finished it when he was three months old. (He was born on page 74.) Because the heroine, Eleanor, also gets pregnant (oh, and she lives in the same town as me and she's a writer), some people may presume that the book is based on reality.

It isn't. Except for the beginning of one scene, where Eleanor tries to write a sex scene when she's got morning sickness. That really did happen to me. (I was writing the first sex scene of Driving Him Wild. I edited out the puking.)

The rest of it is completely imagination. I've never had sex with a man who looks like George Michael, I'm not in love with my neighbour, and I've never gone to a Reading football game with a pair of binoculars and looked at the players' butts.

Though that last one doesn't sound like a bad idea.

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"Extremely well written….a real page-turner." -Trashionista

"A clever, funny, and oh-so-sexy novel." -Look magazine



Excerpt

Eleanor, a secret writer of erotic novels, has just had the one night stand of the title…

I opened my eyes, and then the sunshine made me close them.

My head was hurting. A lot. I groaned, turned over away from the window, and opened my eyes again. My bedside table came into focus. On it was the bottle of lemon-flavoured liquor that I’d bought a year ago on a cheap holiday to Naxos, and which had stayed three-quarters full for the past eleven months.

It was empty. Here was the reason for my headache. Bad, stupid Eleanor, for drinking dodgy liquor in bed and–

There were two glasses on the nightstand.

Memory teased at the back of my headache. I’d worked down the pub–and met that man–and then–

I sat up in bed, my head pounding and my stomach rolling. There was no man in my bed, and no sign of one in the room. My duvet and pillows were pretty messed up, but that could be because I’d had a restless night.

Except I was naked.

I ran my fingers through my hair, which seemed to be standing on end.

I never slept naked. I wore a t-shirt and knickers. Unless I was in some sort of relationship, which I was most definitely not at the moment.

But that man, last night–

I grabbed the pillow next to me and sniffed it. There was a distinct scent of aftershave.

Right. This meant nothing. Maybe he’d come home with me, we had a couple of drinks–comprising most of a bottle of ropey booze–and we’d passed out, after which time, in my sleep, I’d removed my clothing.

“Hello?” I called. “Is there anyone in the house?”

No one answered.

Good. So maybe he’d had a nap, and then woken up and gone home and I hadn’t got naked until after he’d left. Just because I’d never undressed myself in my sleep before didn’t mean there couldn’t be a first time.

I slung my legs over the side of the bed and winced. My thigh muscles were sore. So were my rear end muscles and my arm muscles and my stomach muscles, what there were of them. I felt as if I’d done a rather hefty session of callisthenics.

I felt, in fact, very much as I’d described one of my heroines feeling after an all-night orgy session with six or seven virile policemen. Give or take the handcuff marks.

I checked my wrists. No chafing.

“Thank God for small favours.” I hauled myself out of bed, pulling my dressing gown on.

“All right,” I said to myself as I went down the stairs. “I remember kissing him. I brought him home. We had some drinks. We did some exercises or something. He went home and I took off my clothes and went to sleep.”

Halfway down the stairs I spotted my bra, dangling from the handrail.

Stomach ever sinking, I reached the bottom of the stairs and saw my knickers on the floor. In my living room, my jeans were on the couch, my t-shirt on the coffee table, my socks draped on the stereo.

I hadn’t undressed myself in my sleep.

I opened my dressing gown and looked down at my naked body. The skin on my breasts and belly was pink, as if it had been rubbed with something rough. I remembered my date’s facial hair, which apparently had been intimately acquainted with a great deal of my body.

And I didn’t remember a minute of it.

Someone knocked on the door.

I swallowed, gathered my courage, and answered it. If it was him, at least he could fill me in on the night’s events, and let me know whether I’d enjoyed them or not.

It was Hugh.

He was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, looked as if he’d just showered, and he was staring at me.

“Morning,” I said.

“Morning, Eleanor,” he replied, and his voice was a little bit weird. “Are you all right?”

“Great!”

Normally I would have stepped aside to let him in, but I was intensely aware of my clothing scattered around my normally neat living room. Instead I nodded brightly, causing more pain to pierce my head, and repeated, “Great! How about you, did you have a good night?”

“You did,” he said, and he tilted his head in an attempt to see around me. “Are you on your own?”

“Of course I am. Who would be here?”

“That’s what I was wondering.”

“Why would you wonder that?” My attempt at being nonchalant was dreadful, but between the headache and the sick stomach and the lost memories of a completely uncharacteristic one night stand, I was having a hard enough time remembering how to talk.

Hugh raised both his eyebrows at me. He was staring at my mouth.

I touched it. My lips were slightly sore, and I remembered the friction burns on the rest of my body. It seemed I’d done quite a bit of kissing, too, beyond the one kiss outside the pub that I could remember.

“I don’t think you could make all that noise yourself,” he said.

“Noise? Were we–was I making a lot of noise last night?”

He raised his eyebrows higher.

Hugh’s terraced house was next door, and his bedroom and mine shared a wall. It wasn’t exactly soundproof.

“Well, I hope I didn’t disturb your fun and games with Henrietta.”

“Harriet,” he corrected, and annoyance flickered across his face, though I thought it was unfair of him to be bothered that I couldn’t remember the name of his date when he hadn’t been sure of it in the first place. “So who is this guy? I didn’t know you had plans last night.”

“Oh, you know, these things just happen.” I shrugged and rubbed my hand over my lips again. Because these things did not just happen to me, and Hugh knew that as well as I did.

He leaned against the doorsill. “Is he still there? I’d like to meet him.”

“No.” It came out quickly, the answer to both questions.

“He left pretty early, didn’t he?”

Hugh was still looking annoyed, though I had more reason than he did. “Hugh, I don’t need you to play the inquisitor about my private life right now, I need to go have a bath and take some aspirin.”

Hugh’s eyes dropped from my face, and I realised that my dressing gown gaped open a little on my chest. When I looked down I could see the red friction marks. I pulled the dressing gown closed, and gave Hugh a pointed stare.

“So I’ll see you later,” I said.

He nodded, his gaze still on my dressing gown. “Right,” he said, but he didn’t move, so I shut the door.

Noise. The mystery man and I had made lots of noise, enough noise to penetrate a brick wall.

I knew from past experience, from trying to get to sleep when Hugh was having fun next door, that every word didn’t get through. Only the loud bed creaks. The cries. The screams. Particularly the high-pitched female ones.

I leaned back against the door.

Not only had I had drunken sex with someone I didn’t know and forgotten all about it…it had been loud, uninhibited, orgasmic, screaming sex.

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