I’m on the blog tour for The Love Factory by Elaine Proctor today and have an extract to share.
The Love Factory is available to buy in ebook and hardback now, you can buy a copy here.
Before I share my extract, here is a little bit about the book.
When literary writer Anna falls on hard times, she tries her hand at erotic fiction to make money, and faces an uncomfortable truth. Though she’s a wife and mother of two, her stories fail to fly because she’s never experienced true sexual desire. Even her Sicilian grandmother – wearer of diamante sunglasses and knock-off Louis Vuitton – knows more than she does about real passion.
Anna turns to her friends for inspiration. As secrets and desires are revealed, she discovers more about the people close to her than she ever knew. When one of them suggests she borrow an alter ego to banish her inhibitions, a new world opens up, and The Love Factory – a group of writers penning ever more successful sexy stories – is born.
Yet Anna knows that she can’t rely on borrowed passion and an alter ego forever. For her tales to truly sizzle, she needs to find a true love of her own.
Anna sat up in her bed warmth and waited for her natural impatience to tip her towards the waiting day.
She slid from under the bedcovers so quietly that the harghgggg-p-p-p-whooshnrrrr of her husband’s snoring continued without the slightest increase in pitch or rhythm. Then she ran lightly down the stairs with Liebe, her hunting dog, at her heels.
If she’d known what turmoil the day was to bring she might’ve slowed her pace, but unlike some in her family, Anna was not burdened with prescience.
She pulled open the kitchen door and sucked in a lungful of frosty air; she smelled the city in it and the liquid green of the underground stream at the bottom of her garden.
As she breathed in she whispered to herself, ‘I am,’ and, as if willing it would make it so, she said, ‘at peace.’
There was fox scat on the stonework; the big male must the love factory have passed by in the night. She heard the distant sound of the early train.
Liebe scratched at the gate at the far end of the garden, her pied orange and white body luminous in the dark day.
‘Coming,’ called Anna softly.
The dog and her owner both loved the unruly allotments that ran along the edge of the railway line behind the house, each small garden tended according to their owners’ fancy; some grew flowers, others, like Anna, vegetables. Most started off every spring with a burst of enthusiasm and then let their beds fade to nothing by late summer. Only a few managed to keep something alive through the cold.
Just about all the families on Carlyle Road had a strip of earth to tend here. Anna liked to think it brought them closer together but, in truth, it was the two tornados that had twice torn the roofs off their houses that had made them allies. If past storm patterns continued, they were about due for another.
The grind of a sash window opening disturbed the darkness of the house next door. Anna saw a young man, pale-skinned and lanky, flip over the sill and onto the frozen grass. Liebe stiffened into pointer bird-hunting-alert.
The intruder turned back to the window . . . for one more kiss . . . oh Lord . . . from her neighbour, Farhad.
Anna watched the kiss pass from sweet-goodbye to fuck-me lust. She could have been inside their mouths, for the sudden heat they put out. She watched as Farhad fumbled with his lover’s belt.
The encounter that followed, both their bodies half-in, half-out of the window, was over quickly. The lover pulled his trousers up, pecked Farhad on the nipple, and stumbled away over the grass. Farhad stood in the window bare-chested in the freezing dawn, watching him go.
And Anna stood to full attention in the perpetual spinach patch – impossible for Farhad to miss as he turned to close the window.
She longed to bend down and tend to her beds, to pretend that she’d not witnessed their coming together, but it was too late for that. She could see thought-ripples cross Farhad’s face; Ah shit, he seemed to say. Do you judge me? Will you tell my mother?
Anna waved at him, an awkward flick of the hand – as if to say Your secret is safe with me – although I can’t say it didn’t shake me up so early in the morning.
He waved back.
Anna could see that Farhad would have preferred not to have to take his pleasure in so clandestine a way, and she turned away.
Released from watchfulness, Liebe ploughed joyfully into a flock of half-frozen pigeons huddled on the grass. They took to the air in a cloud and swept away over the rooftops of London’s Kensal Rise.
About The Author:
Elaine Proctor was born in South Africa. She became involved in the anti-apartheid movement as a teenager and filmed several political documentaries up until 1986, when the political situation made it impossible for her to continue and she left to study at the National Film and Television School in Britain. She has made several films, including On The Wire (winner of the British Film Institute’s Sutherland Trophy) and Friends (selected by the Cannes Film Festival and winner of the Mention Speciale – Prix de Camera D’Or), has written a series for the BBC and published two novels, Rhumba and The Savage Hour. She sits on the chapter for screenwriting at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain. Elaine lives in Queen’s Park, London.