Title: A Question of Us
Author: Mary Jayne Baker
Pub. Date: September 5, 2019
Publisher: Aria Fiction
Hosted: Head of Zeus Books
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Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2lEHhP0
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2YW1lKF
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2OT5YFN
Two best friends. Eight pub quizzes. One shot at love...
There are some people who seem like they have all the answers in life. Clarrie Midwinter isn't one of them.
At the age of 26, tomboy Clarrie is still struggling to become a 'proper' grown-up. She's eternally strapped for cash, she hasn't had a date in nearly a year and her attempts to quit smoking tend to take a nosedive after the second pint. Most annoyingly of all, her ladykiller best friend Simon just won't stop asking her out. The only thing keeping her sane is her pub quiz team, the Mighty Morphin Flower Arrangers.
But when Simon bets her a date their team will win the quiz league, Clarrie is forced to confront what she really wants out of life – and love. Is it finally time for her to grow up?
14th Annual Denworth Quiz League: Leaderboard
The Pig and Trumpet, Match 1 of 8
Zeroes all round and everything to play for…
‘It’s a spaniel, Clar! Come on, look at its ears.’
Clarrie Midwinter took another look at the sheet Sonny had thrust in front of her, showing photos of the dog breeds they needed to identify for the quiz picture round, and shook her head. ‘No it isn’t. Its face is a weird shape.’
‘Well, yeah. It’s a dog.’
‘Spaniels have got them long noses though, haven’t they? That one’s all flat.’
‘Maybe it’s a spaniel that ran into a patio door,’ Dave said, draining the last of his pint. ‘I’ve seen them do that.’
‘Yeah, bet you laughed as well,’ Sonny said.
‘I did actually.’ Dave nudged the man next to him. ‘Here, Dad. What’s this dog?’
Jeff was half dozing, his double chin burrowing into his chest. He jerked awake when Dave jammed an elbow into his gut.
‘Hm?’ he said, stifling a belch.
Dave held the sheet up in front of him. ‘Number four. What is it?’
‘It’s a dog.’
‘We know it’s a bloody dog. What kind of dog?’
‘That? Chinese water terrier, that,’ Jeff said with a knowledgeable nod.
‘You just made that up.’
‘Honest to God. Saw one on Crufts.’
Since Jeff’s record on getting questions right was about one in every ten pub quizzes, Dave ignored him and passed the sheet back to Clarrie.
‘All right, Clar, ball’s back in your court. We’re stumped this side of the table.’
Clarrie elbowed the tall, dark-haired man next to her. He was leaning languidly on the back of his chair, facing the other way.
‘Oi. I see what you’re doing there, Simon Dewhirst.’
‘What am I doing?’
‘Making eyes at Sally Pemberton behind the bar. Come on, stop thinking with what’s in your pants and get your actual brain in gear, can you? You’re a dead weight on this team when you’re randy.’
‘I’m not randy. I’m scheming.’
‘You’re always bloody randy,’ Sonny said.
‘Okay, fair comment,’ Simon said, grinning as he turned back to face them. ‘But this is strategic targeted randiness. I’m projectile flirting in the hope she’ll bump me to the front of the queue when it’s my round.’
Dave nodded. ‘Good work.’
‘Do you have to encourage him?’ Sonny said. ‘There’s never any spare girls for us with him around.’
‘The chances of me getting lucky with Sally Pemberton are slim to none,’ Dave said. ‘The chances of Si getting lucky with Sally Pemberton, and me therefore receiving the knock-on benefit of a faster pint, are about 99.9 per cent. I’ll take those odds.’
Clarrie was still squinting at the photo of the dog, which was small and Ewok-like with curly beige fur.
‘I reckon it’s a cavapoo,’ she said.
Si shook his head. ‘That’s not a thing.’
‘It is too a thing, the woman next door to my mum’s got one.’
‘What, so it’s half poodle, half fizzy wine?’
She nudged him, smiling. ‘Half Cavalier King Charles, you div.’
‘You know, dogs really went downhill when they started breeding them for comedy portmanteau purposes.’
‘Go on then, write it down,’ Dave said, rolling the pen to Clarrie. ‘You’re captain, you get final say.’
‘All right.’ She jotted it into the answer box. ‘But if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. I don’t want it following me to the grave like Sonny and the fifth Marx brother.’
Sonny scowled. ‘Do we have to bring that up every week? Anyone could’ve made that mistake.’
‘Very true,’ Dave said gravely. ‘I’m sure Karl had plenty of time after writing Das Kapital for a bit of slapstick fun with the family.’
‘Oh, knob off, can you?’ Sonny rubbed a V-sign at Dave against his cheek. ‘Eight years ago I got that wrong. Jesus.’
‘Still funny though,’ Dave said, grinning. ‘Right, I’m off to the bar. Same again, you lot?’
Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country... and she's still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, Nottingham and Cambridge, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales, where she first started telling stories about heroines with flaws and the men who love them.
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