My Perfect Wedding is a romantic comedy-mystery. It's the sequel to Fourteen Days Later, although it can be read as a standalone novel. Here's a snippet...

  
In my daydreams, this was exactly how I’d pictured an idyllic new life abroad (and I’d had quite a few, believe me).

Sitting on the edge of the terrace, leisurely drinking wine, and watching the colour of the sun turn from lemon to citrus to orangey red with my future husband. For a moment, I could pretend that I didn’t have any worries at all. I could forget that we were mixed up in some crazy plot that would probably affect our lives in an irreparable way.

And I wanted to forget.

So when Kalem set down his empty glass on the patio and gazed at me with his intense dark eyes, flecked with green, I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than to make love outside under the flickering stars, with the crickets singing in the distance, and the warm air stroking my naked skin.

He cupped my chin and drew my lips towards his.

Oh, God, yes. Just like that. Mmm. Fantastic. Nice and slow.

He gently pushed me down onto the warm terracotta tiles.

Ooh, hello, nipples springing to attention. Down a bit, down a bit. Bit lower. There! Right there. Wow! Yes, yes…

I sat bolt upright. ‘Agh!’

Kalem leaped up. ‘What? Have you been stung by something?’

‘Oh, my God!’

What? Bitten by a snake?’

‘I’ve just had an idea.’ I grabbed my clothes and started pulling them on.

Kalem rubbed his forehead. ‘What?’

I kissed him hard on the lips. ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I can’t concentrate until we get this thing sorted out. I thought I could, but I can’t. And I’ve had another idea we can try.’

Kalem pulled on his shorts, trying to manoeuvre them over his own one-eyed trouser snake. ‘Ouch!’

‘We can go to the Plaza and warn Ibrahim Kaya ourselves. Now. Tonight.’

‘OK,’ he drawled. ‘Good idea. And then that will be the end of it, and we can get back to this.’

Yes. Then we won’t have anything else to worry about. We can definitely get back to this. Right, come on. Start the Land Rover,’ I said as we jumped in.

‘I’m trying.’ Kalem turned the key in the ignition.

Once. Twice. Three times.

Nothing but a clicking sound.

Kalem frowned. ‘Strange. Land Rovers are usually so reliable.’

‘Yes, your rusty old heap of junk never had a problem starting, and this one’s a lot newer than yours. Come on, come on.’ I jigged up and down in the seat.

Fourth time and hey presto! We were off and rolling down the hill.

****

We sped up the long, palm tree lined driveway to the Plaza and parked at a slightly wonky angle. A humongous gold lion statue and an even more humongous shiny black horse greeted us at the entrance. I said hello to the horse (the lion looked a bit scary) and raced to reception.

Ooh – very plush! Purple and silver everywhere. Lots of soft velvet cushions, sofas, and thick curtains. Exotic potted palms that looked so glossy they must have been polished every day, marble pillars galore, a silver piano, fountains, sparkly lights, galleried silver ceiling with shiny diamondy thingies hanging down; lots of chrome, a couple more horses, and something that looked like a silver shark, but couldn’t possibly have been (only got a quick look, was in big hurry). You name it, they had it. And this was just the reception area. Even the white marble floor had glittery silver flecks in it. This was the height of plushness.

‘We need to see Ibrahim Kaya,’ I said breathlessly to the receptionist.

‘Do you have an appointment?’ She smiled a genuinely sweet smile at me.

Oh, no. Not this again!

‘No. But it’s very urgent,’ Kalem said.

Very.’ I nodded vigorously.

‘Are you guests here?’ she asked.

‘YES!’ I said, which came out slightly higher pitched than I intended.

‘And which room number are you?’

Quick! Pick a number! ‘Two hundred and thirteen.’ I gave another vigorous nod, just to get the point across. Ouch. Neck ache. I hoped I hadn’t given myself whiplash on top of everything else.

I’m sorry, madam, but you must be mistaken. We don’t have any number thirteens here. Some guests think it’s very bad luck.’

‘No! I meant two hundred and fourteen,’ I gushed, turning to Kalem. ‘It’s two hundred and fourteen, isn’t it, darling?’

‘Absolutely,’ he agreed.

‘And what exactly is the problem, sir, madam?’

I thought about telling her the truth, but it would probably end up in some totally bizarre mix-up, knowing my luck, and we’d get thrown out. Or even worse, arrested.

‘I want to make a complaint.’ I leaned in closer to her over the reception desk.

‘Can you tell me what the complaint is regarding? I’m sure someone other than Mr. Kaya can help you with that.’ She smiled at me again.

Stop smiling and just go and get him!

She didn’t. She just waited patiently with that annoyingly helpful smile.

I glanced round the lobby area, hoping for a sudden flash of inspiration, and spied a bar to the left. ‘Er…it’s about the mini-bar in our room.’

Yes, madam, and what’s wrong with the mini-bar?’

Uh-oh. What could I say? It was too mini, too bar-ish? She’d probably think we were a couple of complete nutcases on day release from the nearest mental home.

That’s it! ‘It’s the nuts,’ I blurted out.

‘The nuts?’ Her eyebrows flickered up in surprise. ‘What’s wrong with the nuts?’

Oh, stop being so picky and just get him!

They’re too nutty,’ I said.

‘So if you could just go and get him, we’ll be able to put in our complaint. Thank you very much,’ Kalem said.

‘Too nutty?’ She furrowed her brow and made a note on a piece of paper. ‘Anything else?’ She looked up again, smile plastered all over her face.

‘Yes, they contain nuts,’ I said.

‘But they’re supposed to contain nuts.’ She paused, pondering this for a minute. ‘You know, I think our Housekeeping Department can help you with this simple problem, madam. I’ll just give them a ring.’

‘It’s not simple at all!’ I said. ‘It’s a very serious problem.’

She looked at us both with bewildered eyes. ‘Because the nuts are too nutty?’

‘Yes! I’m allergic to nuts.’ I gave her my best shocked look, like she should really know this already. ‘Even the smell of nuts can give me a severe allergic reaction. In the UK, the packets of nuts always have a label stating “may contain nuts” but these didn’t.’

The receptionist looked confused. ‘So in the UK, you have warning labels on packets of nuts that say “may contain nuts”?’

I could sense she wanted to burst out laughing at the absurdity of this nut-labelling revelation, but I had to hand it to her, she maintained her professionalism very well.

‘Yes! Why were the nuts in my mini-bar? I could’ve opened them by accident and died!’ I slapped a hand on the reception desk for emphasis.

She had the good grace to look horrified. ‘I’m so very sorry about that, madam. We at the Plaza had no idea. I’d be very happy to get our Housekeeping Manager to come and talk to you about it straight away.’

‘No!’ Kalem shouted.

She flinched. ‘Is there another problem as well, sir?’

‘Yes. And it’s a very delicate matter. I’d rather not talk to a woman about it, if you don’t mind. I really need to speak to Mr. Kaya about it personally.’ Kalem dropped his voice again, looking around the reception area as if it was a top military secret he was talking about.

‘Well, can you give me some sort of idea please?’ She smiled again.

‘The condoms in the mini-bar,’ he whispered to her.

She wrote condoms down next to the nuts she already had on her piece of paper. ‘And what’s wrong with the condoms, sir? Have they been near the nuts? Is that why you’re worried?’

‘No, they’re too cold. I nearly…’ Kalem coughed, as if he were highly embarrassed. ‘Look, I really can’t discuss our condoms with a woman.’

‘Or our nuts,’ I interjected.

‘I really need to speak to Mr. Kaya himself,’ Kalem said.

 ‘Right away, sir. I would be very happy to call Mr. Kaya and ask him to speak with you.’

About bloody time.

She dialled a number and repeated our request to Mr. Kaya. She nodded a few times, still smiling, then replaced the receiver. ‘Mr. Kaya will be down in fifteen minutes to speak with you. In the meantime, please have a complimentary drink at one of the bars while you wait.’ More smiling. ‘Please be careful though, madam, as there may be nuts on the bar. And they do contain nuts.’

‘I’ll make sure I look out for them. Thank you.’ I smiled at her.

Copyright © Sibel Hodge 2011


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Thanks for reading. Happy Sampling!



Sibel xx