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Friday, November 9, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: I Invited Her In by Adele Parks + Giveaway (US only)

I Invited Her In
Adele Parks
from MIRA // Harlequin

Imagine the worst thing a friend could ever do.

This is worse.

When Mel receives an unexpected email from her oldest friend Abi, it brings back memories she thought she had buried forever. Their friendship belonged in the past. To those carefree days at university.

But Abi is in trouble and needs Mel’s help, and she wants a place to stay. Just for a few days, while she sorts things out. It’s the least Mel can do.

After all, friends look out for each other, don’t they?

I Invited Her In is a blistering tale of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.

When we were undergraduates, he lectured in business studies with an emphasis in marketing while he was still studying for his PhD. A peculiar position to be in, straddling both roles—a staff member and a student, albeit a postgraduate one. He was fast on the uptake with new media and positioned himself as a bit of an internet and digital marketing expert, the things that the older lecturers were afraid of. I didn’t pick the media module so I was never taught by him, but he was a bit of a legend within the university. Charismatic, bold, far younger than most of the other members of staff. Lots of girls had a crush on him, Abi included.

They started hooking up at the end of our first year. It was a clandestine affair to begin with. A chaotic on-off sort of thing. She never knew where she stood with him or the university. What were the rules? Them having a relationship wasn’t expressly forbidden, but it was certainly frowned upon.

Truthfully, I think Abi enjoyed the sneaking around, the drama, his inaccessibility, his power. This combined with his good looks meant he was irresistible. I gather from Wikipedia that they emigrated to America a couple of years after she graduated. He was offered some fancy job in a big advertising agency. Then, in a move I don’t quite understand (but no surprises there as I’m hardly the big businesswoman), he somehow managed to get involved in TV production.

He now owns an enormous and extremely successful production company. He seems to have shares in actual TV channels and investment in several other media companies. The photos I’ve seen online always show them both to be more groomed, wealthy and glossy than anyone else I know. Shrouded in success. She’s become much thinner, not that she was ever heavy. He’s got bigger, broader, more substantial.

This is not just a case of a pretty woman piggybacking on her successful husband’s career. She’s worked hard. Chosen that life over a family life. Yet, it seems her career belongs to him. What a mess. Now she has nothing to tether her if she floats away. Nothing to cushion her if she crashes to the ground.

That bit in the email about her father dying. That’s sad. I met Abi’s dad two or three times. He was very nice. Surprisingly unassuming, considering the daughter he reared. Luckily, my parents are in hale health; Ben’s dad died before I met him but his mum, Ellie, is well. Abi’s bad luck makes me feel oddly guilty about my own good fortune.

I haven’t seen Abi for seventeen years. She came to visit me once when Liam was a couple of months old, which was more than most did. It was an awkward visit, even though we both did our best for it not to be. Liam was born in June, around the time most of my friends were finishing second-year exams. Most of them had plans to be backpacking around Europe that summer, so I didn’t invite them to meet my baby to spare them the embarrassment, and me the hurt, of them refusing. Abi wasn’t backpacking though. She didn’t want to leave Rob alone in Birmingham. She just showed up.

She brought Liam a cuddly goose. It was one of his favourite things for a few years. He inaccurately called it Ducky. I kept it. It’s at the bottom of a box in the attic, along with his first romper suit and a few other bits and pieces that I’ve hung onto for sentimental reasons.

She chatted about our friends and tutors, brought me up to date on who was house sharing with whom, who was dating whom, who had done well in their exams and who had just scraped a pass. I was still talking about going back to uni and maybe if my degree had been a three-year course, I might have done. But it was a combined course, four years. I was only halfway through. Despite what I said, I think I already knew I wouldn’t be going back.

My boobs leaked milk during her visit because I did not want to feed Liam in front of her. I didn’t mind getting my baps out—I was already becoming accustomed to that. It was more complicated.

I didn’t want her to go back to uni and remember me as a feeding mother, pegged to the sofa, stewing in front of daytime TV, someone whose best friends were the six New Yorkers on the sitcom of that name. My breasts became miserably heavy, and I could smell my own milk leak onto my padded bra, then my T-shirt. Eventually, Liam woke up screaming. He was blissfully unconscious of my need to preserve some fragment of the old me in my friend’s memory. He hungrily rooted around my chest, staring at me with confused and furious eyes. Why wasn’t I feeding him?

In the end, his loud and insistent crying drove her away. She made vague promises that she’d visit again but I didn’t hold her down to a date. The moment the door closed behind her, I collapsed into the chair and pulled out my boob, fumbling. I squirted milk into Liam’s eyes and nose before I found his mouth.

Do I want to dredge all that up again? Is it wise? The twentieth, that’s tomorrow.

About the Author

Adele Parks one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK. She has sold over 3 million books and her work has been translated into 25 different languages.

1500+ 5 star reviews have kindly been written by her fans on 🙂

She has published 15 novels in the past 15 years, all of which have been London Times Top Ten Bestsellers.

Adele was born in the North East of England, in 1969. She enjoyed a traditional 1970’s childhood, watching too much TV and eating convenience food because nobody minded if kids did that in those days. Since graduating from university, where she studied English Language and Literature, she worked in advertising and as a management consultant. In 2010 Adele was proud to be awarded an honorary doctorate of Letters from Teesside University.


Books à la Mode is giving away
a print copy of I Invited Her In—yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is the worst thing a friend has done to you? Did you recover the friendship?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Adele and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

One of my friends abandoned me while she was hosting me in her home after a night out. She just left, leaving me alone in HER house that she shared with roommates, and I was not in any position to leave (not in my part of town, no transportation, and I had been drinking). I wasn't able to go home until the next morning but that night was very uncomfortable. She never apologized for it, so we did not make up after that.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and MIRA Books!
Giveaway ends November 23rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!